Telling the truth about SME life today

Technology: Building my business from the ground up and keeping a lid on costs

After that, my business grew quickly and I gained clients ranging from the general public and specialist retailers and ecommerce merchants to medical organisations and trusts. However, as a mother, I also had other more pressing responsibilities to tend to, so communication and contact has never been more crucial.

Using technology to improve communication

As a mother and entrepreneur, I need to ensure Im constantly connected regardless of location, so I implemented RingCentrals cloud-based telephone system which allowed me to run my business through a single telephone number that I can route to my mobile or landline. This means I never miss a business-critical call, even when on a school run or on a family weekend away. A year ago I realised how crucial this is for the business. I was away from the office when I received a call from a NHS Trust who wanted to undertake some trials of the product. Getting hold of the right person at the right time in organisations as diverse and big as the NHS is extremely difficult so being contactable when the call came in meant we were able to set up the trial pretty quickly.

I also wanted to ensure I had a professional image for the business and opted for an 0800 free phone number that I could publicise on the website, stationery, business cards and all company materials. The number lends my business professional credibility as there is no cost to the caller.

Keeping a lid on costs

Keeping a tight lid on costs is imperative to any business in its infancy, and I found that using a cloud-based telephone system with fixed monthly pricing was a great help when it came to keeping an eye on costs. I avoided upfront capital expenditure and know what costs to expect each month.

As I look to expand and employ additional staff, we are likely to move into serviced offices. Technology such as a cloud-based telephone system allows us to scale up and bring on additional staff by adding extensions and it also allows us to keep all our existing stationery and business cards as the contact telephone number does not change. The printing and stationary costs we are saving alone are substantial. Not only that, there will be very little disruption to our customers or customer service levels.

Prior to using RingCentral, I considered the alternative of an additional business telephone line. I was quoted 147, plus line rental and ten working days to set up. This would have slowed down our business plans and actually prohibited us from getting the business up and running. Furthermore, what we were being offered did not provide the call routing, messaging capabilities, or the option to take that line with us when we moved which would have incurred additional costs further down the line. This is where the research I did when looking for a telephone system for my business really paid off.

When starting up a business, the technology a business runs on may seem like a priority under a sea of other priorities, but Id urge entrepreneurs and start-ups to really put thought and consideration into exactly what technology they opt for. Implementing technology that is affordable, easy to use and manage, and provides the scalability and flexibility all small businesses need, could be the difference between success and demise.

Melissa Edmunds is founder and Managing Director of Safesip.


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