Build A Professional Company Image
Mick Hegarty, Strategy & Commercial Director, BT Business, shares some top tips on how you can you build a professional company image that competes with big business from day one.
The number of people starting and growing a business from home rose dramatically last year to 2.8 million - an increase of 300,000 people going it alone. This bodes well for an upturn, particularly as last year alone home businesses contributed £284 billion to the UK economy.
Whether you’re starting out from home or looking to extend your reach, operating on low overheads and making the most efficient use of technology is crucial to securing your long-term success. More than 81 per cent of businesses that responded to the 2009 Business Pulse, the largest survey of UK businesses to take place last year, confirmed that technology remains a key enabler to starting and growing a business from home.
As we come out of a recession consumer behaviour is also changing. Living in a tough climate has made people more cautious about their purchasing decisions and they now look for greater assurance that the companies they deal with are professional, trustworthy and proactive at responding to their needs.
So there is no better time to review your operations and ensure you’re supported with the right technology to give your business a solid platform for growth.
Here are some tips on how you can compete just as effectively with your larger rivals while ensuring you don’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Consolidate your communications to save costs
For a remote worker, your communications network is the lifeblood of your business. It underpins your ability to deliver good customer service, how you manage your supplier relationships and new business opportunities. However, juggling a landline and mobile, as well as internet connection, can be time consuming and expensive if you don’t get the right set-up.
Look at consolidating your phone, mobile and broadband to make some great savings and remove the administrative headache of managing different suppliers and keeping track of multiple accounts. Bundles represent better value and you’ll find better deals by combining services, than buying separately.
BT Business One Plan for example can offer an unlimited calls package at a small fixed monthly fee plus the option of free intra business calls ensuring that you can keep in touch with who you need to without worrying about the cost of your communications spiralling out of control.
To find out more about consolidating your communications, visit here.
Many small businesses already know the benefits of taking professional business broadband packages rather than opting for a consumer package. These offer the reliability, security, support and business tools you need, such as inclusive business email addresses, to help you ensure effective communications. Taking this a step further, one of the new technologies which will have a tremendous impact on your business in 2010 is super>fast broadband.
Not only will much faster internet speed support better customer service, but it can bring significant efficiencies. ‘Super-fast’ firms can forget about using couriers to hand deliver large files and databases - they will be able to send a 40Mb/s file direct from an office computer. Remote working will also become even easier, as superfast broadband supports VOIP, high definition video conferencing and more internet based applications.
According to the Business Pulse 2009 survey, 61% of businesses found that faster broadband speeds have had a positive effect on their operations. BT provides a free upgrade to speeds of up to 20Mb/s technology and the first UK users of speeds of up to 40Mb/s have now gone live. By 2012, 40% of the UK, that’s some 10 million homes & businesses, will be able to access fibre broadband through BT.
BT Business Total Broadband Fibre is available to businesses from as little as £30.00 per month. The service gives business traffic priority at times of contention and the UK’s fastest upstream speeds of up to 10Mb/s*. A dedicated broadband "fast lane" puts business user traffic first at times of contention to help firms continue to work faster, do more, reduce operational costs and boost productivity.
To find out more about Superfast Broadband, visit here.
Go mobile and never miss an opportunity
Two-thirds (64%) of firms said they were able to identify and seize new customer opportunities quickly and effectively some of the time, but that they could do better (Cisco & BT Business in 2008). Ensure that you’re set-up to not miss any vital calls. If a potential customer can’t get hold of you then you don’t want your competitors to get in touch with them first.
Mobile working technology now means that out of the office doesn’t have to mean out of touch and you can take your work on the move. There are now high value broadband packages available that offer inclusive mobile broadband that supports not only 3G access but also access to hundreds and thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots across the country through BT’s wireless broadband network.
Also, all your inter-business calls (office to mobile, mobile to office or mobile to mobile) can all be free, including diverting your office number to your mobile, if you’re out and about if you select the right package.
Get your website right
It’s dangerous to assume that as long as you have a web site, you’ve ticked that box. As people increasingly search the web to find the best deals – it’s not enough to have a web presence if no one can find it or this fails to project a professional image.
The first step is ensuring you have a professional domain name and your web hosting package allows you to support domain based web email addresses (e.g email@example.com). By using your company brand as your domain name, normally associated with larger, more established companies you can start to build your online reputation.
Creating a professional website does not have to eat into time or resources. Partners, such as BT Business, offer affordable web hosting and web site build packages especially designed with the needs of small businesses in mind that can help you build an effective online profile very quickly. Again, the good news is that you now don’t need to be a tech wizard to take advantage of digital marketing. There are now services such as BT SmartSearch that give you cost-effective access to search marketing experts who can help drive customers to your website.
To find out more about web hosting, visit here.
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