Calling New Businesses

The first month of 2016 may have been characterised by jitters in the stock markets, but one thing which is undiminished is our enthusiasm for starting up new businesses. According to the website StartUp Britain more than 43,000 new businesses were registered in January, adding to the record 608,000 new businesses which were registered in 2015.

Each one of these new businesses represents a new venture, bringing ideas and fresh impetus to a vibrant business scene. Some won’t survive, but others will go on to become the household names of tomorrow; perhaps displacing well-known brands along the way.

In fact, it can be said that every new business carries within it the seed of future greatness. It’s hardly surprising really; new businesses have none of the baggage that comes with longer established enterprises. Outmoded practices, legacy systems, employees who are set in their ways; all these and more can act as a brake on the creation of an innovative future for businesses which have been around for some time.

But new business or old there are some factors which affect every enterprise. For example, there is no escaping the obligation to meet accounting and tax considerations, employment law or health and safety legislation. And when it comes to the creation of robust communication links, businesses to some extent are constrained by the broadband speeds which are available in their geographical area. Of course, businesses do have the option of a variety of broadband delivery methods but it can sometimes be difficult to estimate what true speeds are available.

In a bid to address this, Ofcom have introduced a new code which aims to “give businesses clearer, more accurate and transparent information on broadband speeds - before they sign up to a contract.” To date, seven of the main UK business broadband providers have signed up to the code which will apply to all businesses regardless of size and to all standard types of broadband including ADSL, Cable, Fibre to the Cabinet, Fibre to the Premises, Wireless and Satellite.

In essence, the code will require will require broadband providers to:

  • provide an accurate estimate of upload and download speeds
  • manage speed -related problems effectively
  • provide ongoing information with regard to management of network traffic and changes in speed availability
  • give customers the right to exit their contract without penalty should speeds fall below a minimum guaranteed level

In today’s global marketplace, the availability of fast and reliable broadband is essential; not the least as it will determine whether businesses can make use of internet telephony, or VoIP. But internet telephony and broadband is only one side of the communication mix. Enterprises also need to ensure that their telephony system is optimised to meet their business operating model.

Even sole traders who rely on a mobile phone may need to consider whether unanswered calls should be switched to a virtual assistant service. Businesses owners also need to consider whether advertising a mobile phone number creates the right impression for their business or whether they should be offering a national or regional number, with calls being seamlessly switched to their mobile as required.

As the enterprise grows, additional functions such as answer phones, company information lines, multi-call queuing or call recording may need to be added to the business telephony mix. And this is another advantage which start-ups have over legacy businesses. Long established enterprises may have telephony systems which are relatively inflexible, having been designed in the days of manual switchboards. New businesses have the luxury of being able to opt for business telephone systems which are able to grow as the business grows. This not only means that the enterprise simply pays for the mix of telephone services which it requires at the present time, it also means that business leaders are able to respond quickly to changes in the marketplace or customer expectations by adding functionality as required.

In any year, businesses are subjected to fluctuations in trading conditions, in the marketplace and in customer expectations. Being able to respond swiftly with flexible and robust communication links is one way in which enterprises, start-up or otherwise, can help to ensure that they stay at the forefront of the game.

Written by Alison