Small and medium-sized businesses spend an average of £1,400 a year on communications services, including fixed landlines and internet.
This spend increases as businesses grow in size – the figure is £11,232 on average for businesses with between 50-249 employees.
This is according to a report for Ofcom that explored the SME experience when it came to communications contracts and broadband deals.
More than four-fifths of businesses surveyed reported that these broadband deals are fundamental to operations, so it is encouraging that 82 per cent of business owners claim they are well-catered for by the communications market. However, 14 per cent of respondents claim business growth had been negatively impacted by a lack of suitable products or services.
The main reasons businesses cited for wanting to switch communications providers were to get a better deal, or better coverage. Worryingly, however, 34 per cent of respondents felt that they did not have the confidence in their ability to identify which communications services would be of most value to their businesses.
Around 11 per cent of SMEs want to upgrade existing communications services or acquire new ones in the next 12 months – the service most frequently cited was fibre broadband.
Simon Douglass, founder of Curated Digital, a digital marketing company, said: “Internet supply is crucial to our operation. We are a small team and to be successful we need to be able to work with one another in a shared office environment.
“Internet access provides us with cloud based tools and without these tools we are just a tiny business that cannot reach its customers. A lack of internet access would result in us being unable to compete within the market place.”
Only one per cent of small businesses have an IT/telecoms specialist in place to organise the internet supply but, as this report shows, it is increasingly important that business owners learn to shop around and research the best deals for their needs.