Planning for a rainy day

After a long hot weekend which saw May bank holiday temperature records broken in the UK, it seems almost indecent to talk about planning for a rainy day. And we do have to admit that this article isn’t simply about rainy day planning. Rather we are taking a look at the benefits of taking steps to cover all eventualities.

So in choosing our title we were more reflecting on the topsy-turvy nature of the UK weather which this year has already brought us the coldest start to March since records began, following on from the second sunniest February since 1929. With that start, who knows what the rest of the year will bring and whether umbrellas or sunshades will be more appropriate.

But if our ability to prepare for the uncertainties of the weather are somewhat limited, there are other areas in life where we can be far better prepared. And the key to successful preparation is a mix of anticipation and flexible planning. To illustrate this we’re going to take a look at business telephony systems.

When you start out in business your telephony needs may be quite simple; perhaps a single business line allied to an answerphone or virtual assistant messaging service for those times when you are with customers and unable to respond immediately to calls. But as your business grows those simple telephone structures may no longer be enough to support your changing needs. Perhaps your growing business will take you away from the office more than before. You may be taking on extra employees or a developing product line may need to be supported by a helpdesk or an information line. And then there are those one-off exercises, where the volume of calls may rise exponentially in response to a special offer or marketing drive.

Many of these changes may already have been anticipated in the strategy or business planning process. However, high-level planning is not enough if you want to ensure that your processes will support the growing needs of the business. There’s a saying which runs ‘fail to plan and plan to fail’ and it is never more apparent than when your business line is ringing off the hook and social media comments are less than complimentary about your contactability.

That’s where flexible planning comes into its own. The general rule is that the more flexibility you build into your system at the outset, the more cost effective it will prove in the long run. What you certainly don’t want to do is to tie yourself into a fixed telephone system which may need to be completely replaced or overhauled as the business develops. All that will do is add to disruption and cost. And you also don’t want to start out buying a telephone system now which is designed to meet your expectations of the business several years down the line. All that will do is tie up capital in a complex telephony system, packed with features that you don’t even need.

No, the solution is to choose a flexible telephone package which you can add to in response to developing business needs. That way you only pay now for the features you need now; with it being easy to add features or to scale in size as required. So if you do need to take on extra staff at short notice, to bring in an international calling feature or simply to change call pathways then you can do so without having to start again. And if the system also takes care of any ‘rainy day’ business disruptions such as the need to temporarily switch offices at short notice then you know that rain or shine, your phone system will be contributing to your success.

Written by Alison