Have you ever heard somebody say that SME's are the lifeblood of the UK Economy? If the answer is yes but your not sure why people say it then maybe this will help...
On the 14th October last year a report was released by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills that displayed the following three statistics:
When you look at the figures above, the staggering impact that our SMEs have on the UK economy and the private business sector becomes very clear. But although they have a dominant impact in the UK, SME's are experiencing big challenges.
- Skills shortages
- Managing workplace stress and wellbeing
- Cyber-security threats
- Moving from start-up to becoming a scalable business
- The national living wage
- International trade
When looking the above challenges that UK SME's are currently facing it struck me that many of these challenges can be overcome or dampened by introducing modern technologies. One of these technologies is Unified Communications, a telecoms solutions that brings all of your communications tools together, saving operational costs, making the workforce more productive and improving business efficiencies.
So let's see how this can help with the above challenges for SME's:
Let's start with skills shortages
When looking for the best in industry, businesses can often feel restricted by the location they are in. Unified communications solutions rely on the internet and cloud technology and they enable you to manage all of your communications tools from one central place. You don't have to feel the pressure of finding the right skills on your doorstep because with a quality telecoms infrastructure your user experience, and productivity won't be dependent upon location. Employees can be based anywhere, so long as you can provide them with the right tools to do their jobs.
Workplace stress and wellbeing
This is a topic that has increasingly stolen the workplace limelight with new generations causing shifts in the traditional work/life balance. The flexibility that people crave from a workplace isn't going anywhere which means that many SME's need to adapt. The challenge is how we manage the people that like to work in the office, those that like to be on the road, and those that are more productive at home. Unified Communications keeps everybody connected no matter where they are. You can connect with colleagues, customers, and partners from anywhere. This clever technology helps satisfy the working needs of different users and increases productivity as a result.
Transitioning from start-up to growth and scale
Moving a business from start-up into growth can be an expensive process. The beauty of Unified Communications serivices is that they are priced monthly, keeping your costs transparent and predictable. As you decide to grow your business, it is straightforward for you to add new devices and usage to your plan. Equally, if resource needs to be reduced, it can be. These telecoms solutions come with real flexibility in order to support your business as and when changes are required.
The national living wage
A rightful change to the way people are paid has created new challenges for the UK's small businesses. Difficult decisions now have to be made between more skilled, and more expensive employees and those that are younger with less experience. It sounds harsh when written down but budgets have to be managed. Again, Unified Communications can remove the burden of location from the equation. With technology in place that allows people to be productive from anywhere, you can reduce operations costs with remote workers that also have the skills your business needs.
Many SME's have the appetite to broaden their markets and expand into trade overseas. Amongst the financial constraints and the processes that have to be put into place, it can be tough even establishing potential international relationships. Unified Communications solutions include presence technology, which allows you to see when connections are available and how best to contact them, whether it be by email, Instant Message, phone call, or video/conference call. By opening up the geographical areas that you can easily contact, your business will become more available to the international market.
So if your business operates in the SME market and you feel that Unified Communications could help with any of the challenges that you face you can find out more here, or alternatively you can speak with one of our specialists here.