What do you think about when you consider business growth?
More customers? New products? New marketplaces?
While all these things are possible, they tend to be underpinned by skills or equipment within your business – stepping stones that take you toward that overall goal of having a bigger customer base or a wider commercial offering.
So, the question is, how do you create an environment in which that skill and infrastructure can grow?
The answer almost always involves IT. There are exceptions to this of course – but, with studies suggesting that 98% of businesses require IT to survive, it’s well worth considering how you can make sure technology is on your side.
Here, we’ll consider 5 benefits of embracing IT for growth which, importantly, won’t cost your business the Earth…
1. Greater productivity
Productivity is a much-discussed concept in business – and, while there’s plenty of psychology that can be explored, there’s a lot to be said for just putting the tools in place that means it’s easier for people to get their job done quickly and effectively.
Cloud-computing is helping us make enormous steps in this regard. In fact, virtual collaboration is increasingly shown as being a more effective way of working together than sharing office space.
Although research is limited, early suggestions point toward a 10% increase in productivity when you provide your end-users with software that allows for in-application collaboration – like the Office 365 and G-Suite products do.
While 10% might not seem like world-changing numbers, the cumulative effect is extraordinary – 5 employees working 40 hours a week would, in theory, almost up their output by an additional 1,000 hours across a full year. That’s the kind of productivity that makes cloud-collaboration well worth exploring…
2. Improved conversions
As business owners, we tend to assume that our customer conversion numbers are driven by our end-users or marketing and sales material. While this is somewhat true – having the right systems in place that allow people to most effectively do their job will unquestionably push your conversions in the right direction.
The correct tool for the job of improving conversation is, undoubtedly, a customer relationship management (CRM) platform.
There are some outstanding products on the market – whether you look at the free tool from the likes of Hubspot – or a paid system like SalesForce, you’re going to be unlocking incredible business opportunities bringing a CRM into your business.
The figures are incredible – companies report increased customer satisfaction rates of anywhere up to 70%, conversation rates up by as high as 300% – and a lead generation cost that’s reduced by 25%.
If you want to use IT to unlock potential and point your growth toward the sky, finding the right CRM for you should almost certainly be your next step.
3. Outsource support
IT has a reputation for being a huge drain on your business budget – and a sizable portion of that spend is likely to go toward the wages of the people who keep the show running.
If you want to sidestep this cost, the best plan is to sidestep the need for an IT team – opting instead to employ the services of a Managed Service Provider (MSP).
A managed service provider is, essentially, an outsourced IT team. You’ll work together to put together a Service Level Agreement that outlines what they’ll do for you – and, in return, you’ll pay mthe onthly fee. Now, it’s this monthly fee that is the big driver toward growth – because an MSP is likely to cost you somewhere around 10%-20% of the monthly outlay you’d make on the equivalent in-house team.
While there’s certainly some merit to having a team in-house, there’s a staggering amount of decentralised network management that can be done by an MSP – especially with the increasing number of businesses using SD WAN systems to control their networks. The tech might not be cheap – but it’s a sure-fire way to make sure you’re keeping your budget free to drive growth elsewhere.
4. Pay on your terms
It used to be that IT was paid for upfront – whether that was software or infrastructure. Now, that’s changed completely –and almost all services are obtainable via an ‘as a Service’ subscription.
‘As a Service’ generally comes with a prefix – SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) are some of the more popular applications for the payment method – and concept is simple – rather than download or install a piece of software or buy hardware, you access an ever-updating version of the provision via the cloud.
So, where installing a new email server would once mean actually installing the piece of equipment in your office – you can now use a virtual email server for a monthly fee, accessed via the internet. In reality, the speed of enterprise level connections now means there’s little different between the device sitting in the next room to yours – or being in a totally different country.
Software, hardware, development platforms and much more are all available through ‘as a Service’ payment plans – so, if it’s just procurement holding back your growth plans, the answer could be in a different payment method…
5. Harness Worldwide Talent
We’ve already touched upon the collaboration benefits that go hand-in-hand with cloud-computing – but there’s another significant growth-driving benefit that the cloud makes possible – but it’s one that few people talk about:
It used to be that your recruitment pool was derived from people within 20 miles of your office location – but now, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t recruit someone on the other side of the Earth.
Of course, there are time-related logistics to think about if you went worldwide – but even if you scale back and consider the merits of allowing home-working positions for your current staff, or just spreading your recruitment drive into the next city or state, you’re unlocking talent pools that you simply could not reach without IT.
Bringing the right people onboard can be the drive you need to push your business to the next level – whether that’s sales staff whose skills will complement your CRM, or core-business staff who’ll help you improve and expand your commercial offering.