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Member Article

Using technology to grow - the small business solution

Charles Bligh, Managing Director at TalkTalk Business, gives his advice, tips and tricks on how small businesses in the booming South East can use technology to grow.

It’s an exciting time for small businesses in the South East, with new technology presenting opportunities for growth and innovation at the centre of Britain’s digital economy. Recent research from TalkTalk Business found that, while growth is a top priority for over a fifth of SMEs in the South East this year, only 28 per cent feel ‘very optimistic’ about achieving this goal. Small businesses need to be smarter in their decision making and demand more from suppliers if they are to reach their targets.

With Brighton highlighted as one of the UK’s most exciting cities for digital talent (Tech Nation report, 2015), there’s never been a better time for local businesses to plan for expansion. Here are four key things that small businesses should think about :

1. Invest in new technology: Technology is essential: it helps SMEs reach wider audiences and compete against much larger rivals. We know that SMEs in the South East are committed to investing in technology – it was highlighted it as a top five priority in our research – and it is vital that they understand and introduce the technology that is best for their business. Cloud computing is one example of a capability that can drive creativity and innovation. It gives small businesses the flexibility and scalability to grow, without the upfront costs.

2. Stay connected, stay innovative: Internet connectivity is the lifeblood of small businesses and crucial for anybody connecting with customers and prospects across the region, country and the globe. In fact, 94 per cent of businesses in the South East believe broadband is essential to growth, and this includes SMEs in Southampton and Brighton. To put it simply, a website outage can cost a small company crucial sales, impacting its reputation and leading to prospective customers not returning.

While many business understand the benefits of fast, reliable business grade broadband, few realise you don’t have to pay above the odds for it. By demanding more from broadband providers and choosing business grade broadband over a home broadband package, SMEs can enjoy the additional IT support, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, making sure that uptime is maximised and that connectivity is sustained, without breaking the bank.

3. Become ambassadors for digital business: Almost 1.7 million small businesses across the UK don’t have an online or social media presence. As digital technology and innovation continues to grow in the South East, SMEs have the opportunity to be ambassadors for digital change and champion skills and education amongst the small business community. By introducing digital training and prioritising the development of the workforce, small businesses can develop their employees with their business and nurture innovation from within.

4. Missed call, missed opportunity: For a small business, a missed call can mean losing a sale, not capitalising on an existing prospect and potentially failing to reach revenue targets. It is, therefore, important that SMEs have the technology in place to ensure that every opportunity is taken. SMEs need to be as accessible as possible. By introducing a call package that allows a company to pair landlines and mobile devices, out of the office calls can be diverted and opportunities utilised.

Technology is the great enabler of small businesses, allowing SMEs to future-proof their networks and deliver a competitive advantage. By embracing innovation, staying connected and becoming ambassadors for better business, the South East can continue to lead the digital revolution and SMEs across the region can look onwards and upwards.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Charles Bligh .

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