Here’s an interesting thought, just how many people do you deal with at work during a typical working day? If you work for a mid-sized or larger enterprise, Gartner, the global research company, suggests that, on average, 60% of us deal with ten or more people daily.
Corresponding figures for small business are hard to find but, as a company of under fifty employees with fifteen years’ experience of serving smaller businesses, we at Foehn estimate that daily interactions for the SME are considerably higher – perhaps twice as many.
The reality is, though, that the deeper hierarchy of the larger organisations, with management and supervision at division, department and team levels, means that work is confined to groups of employees often smaller in number than the entire number of staff in a small business.
Operationally, small businesses create more contacts as well. For example, a ‘hands-on’ manager of a twenty-five strong business is quite likely to have contact with most internal employees during a typical day, before considering external contacts such as customers, suppliers, business partners, professional advisors, etc.
“More importantly, the growth of small businesses productivity is less about collaboration and more about communication. The need for reliable, always-available communications lies at the core of small business operations.”
Invariably, smaller businesses have to stretch their resources until income growth allows investment, so employees often work to a job description covering multiple roles that, in turn, generate a bigger network of regular contacts.
For the larger, wealthier enterprise, the availability of resource and headcount facilitates the luxury of smaller, more specialised teams working on dedicated projects. Work is focused on smaller groups of people working more closely.
Over recent years, with the escalation of digitalisation and automation of business processes, these working relationships and organisational structures are being transformed further. Driven by countless applications and tools, the demand for greater collaboration dominates the boardroom agenda and promises to bring new levels of productivity to larger businesses across the world.
What about the smaller business though? For these companies, collaboration is a requirement driven by necessity and management skills rather than software tools. Whilst there is little doubt that applications and cloud services have enabled small businesses to enhance productivity and compete at a higher level, the benefits of the adoption of solutions such as Slack or Microsoft Teams have yet to be seen.
“Flatter, three-dimensional organisations are creating a ‘modern workplace’ where everything points towards improving one thing – collaboration.”
In particular, it can be argued that the standard features available of a cloud phone system, including conferencing and mobile twinning, provide a collaborative system that meets and often exceeds the requirements of most small businesses.
Taking our own Voxivo cloud phone system for example, amongst the twenty or so features, capabilities such as conference room, instant messaging, presence and contact management bring the system close to the key capabilities of so-called collaboration tools.
If you are aware that your small but growing business needs to create closer, better business relationships internally as well as externally, look to a cloud phone system first. You may be surprised at the extent of the functionality, particularly if you are still operating any system over five years old, and you’ll find features that will give the collaboration you need.
– If you want to see what this all means in real terms, take a look at our buyer’s guide.