SME problems

A start up usually doesn’t have the luxury of a big capital investment nor the right in house expertise to build an IT and communications infrastructure. Business owners either try to model their IT systems based on their previous experience; competitors or recommendations from friends & family. The key for Start Ups here is to first educate themselves with what solutions and services are available in the market and what meets their Start Up requirements. Since all businesses are not run the same way, the use of IT systems also differs from business to business. Businesses which don’t embrace such technologies not only lose their competitive edge but also lose out on taking numerous benefits like increase in sales, customer satisfaction, cost reduction and improved productivity.

Some of the issues faced by businesses today If sales and other staff don’t have the right tools to generate sales and look after existing customers, sales will dramatically drop in quality sales leads due to economic downturn; more companies compete for less customers unnecessary travel times and delays for key employees to travel from further distance hence loss of productivity office space can be quite expensive: For instance, the average cost of a work station in a UK office is £6,422. This rises to £14,778 in London’s West End

Fear of technology and conservative approach of ‘if it is not broken don’t fix it’ attitude further fuels the issues a business faces businesses have to deal with multiple vendors to look after their IT and communications system, so they might have a server contract with one company; security and wireless with another; Internet and Telephony with 3rd, thus resulting in higher total cost of ownership and less quality controls IT decision purely cost driven; businesses fail to appreciate that it’s not the initial investment that differentiates a product or technology from another - it’s the value a product brings to the business throughout its life cycle; the consistency in delivering results with quality and reliability of service with support that sets one product apart from another.

For example when a person is choosing a car, they don’t look for the cheapest car in the market nor do they claim drive the cheapest car; he/she chooses a car based on their requirements which comes with the right package within their budget but not necessarily the cheapest

In some respect, SMEs have an advantage over bigger set-ups in the sense that due to their compact nature, they have a better chance of riding through any recession successfully. Existing SMEs should look within their business model to improve productivity and cost reductions using technology. As for Start Up businesses, the current economic climate is quite challenging to launch, compete and progress in but the right IT and communications solutions can just be what the doctor ordered.

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