Are you looking at how to grow your start-up business?
Perhaps you’re wondering about the role of technology in business growth. If you are then you’ve come to the right place… This blog will help you understand how you can leverage the right business technology to help grow your business, and go from start-up to scale-up.
The Scale Up reports 2019 review, recently highlighted how scale-ups are a critical component in driving growth and productivity throughout the economy. According to the review, scale-ups collectively generate 20% of all turnover and 20% of employment growth within existing businesses. We agree that government support can be a huge help in unlocking the potential within businesses and helping them to scale-up, however, does it tell the whole story about what holds small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) back?
The SME sector is an important one, and according to the UK parliament’s business findings, there were 5.9 million SMEs in the UK in 2019, making over 99% of all businesses. Our experience of working with growing businesses means we have seen many of the challenges facing SMEs wanting to expand, in particular getting the right technology for business growth. Whilst external help from the government can certainly help in the process of scaling-up, we know that there is a huge amount that businesses need to do internally to ensure that they’re ready for growth.
Leveraging Technology for Business Growth
Today, business moves fast. With immediate communication and the rise of remote working – it can be hard for an SME to keep up! Statistically, only a small number of start-up businesses will make the leap to grow into a business that enjoys large scale success, however if you have the right systems in place this will give your start-up the best chance at becoming a scale-up.
Scaling-up a growing business inevitably means an increase in staff and a growth in your customer base – often a pinch point for many companies. Ensuring that you can keep up with the rapid expansion of staff numbers and getting them working as quickly and smoothly as possible relies on a clear process that joins up aspects such as hardware, remote access, mobile devices and bring your own device policies (BYOD), as well as security and connectivity.
This is where Microsoft 365 comes in. With the cloud-based technology, you have the flexibility to scale your business as it grows with you, customising solutions for each user or department, whilst your team continues to work with the tools that they are already familiar with. Utilising the Microsoft 365 suite, you can equip new employees with all the tools that they need for productivity and collaboration, plus, with per-user licensing you only need to pay for what you use meaning you needn’t go outside your budget!
At Stripe, we think moving to a cloud-based system would be beneficial for many growing businesses that want to scale up – here’s why…
This one is particularly prevalent at this current time – Due to COVID-19, many businesses have required employees work from home. Luckily, Microsoft 365 allows you to work from anywhere, on any device. Remote workers can collaborate with multiple people simultaneously using Microsoft 365 apps such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook. As this solution is also cloud-based, you can create, co-author and share with anyone in real time on any laptop, PC or mobile device – a must for growing companies who have employees out on the road, or perhaps have plans to expand to multiple locations!
Boosted Productivity and Easy Collaboration
Microsoft’s collaboration tools not only help to increase productivity within the workforce, but they’re also a major time-saver! All employees who need to contribute to a piece of work can work on the same version and get real-time changes rather than having multiple copies. These tools include Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive, enabling remote workers to attend online meetings and chat sessions, plus shared workspaces, and real time collaboration! Say goodbye to emailing attachments, juggling multiple versions and being restricted to using your office PC!
As your business scales-up, you can be sure that you’ll have all the latest technology with Microsoft 365. Commonly known as ‘Patch Tuesday’, Microsoft has been releasing security updates on the second Tuesday of every month since 2003. These new features and capabilities are added automatically, meaning IT technicians no longer need to spend their time checking and updating software whilst employees no longer have to wait for this to be completed before they can start work again. A reduction in downtime plus up-to-date technology – it’s a no brainer!
Advanced Security Features
There’s often the misconception or fear that the cloud is not secure. In contrast to this belief, Microsoft 365 has multiple security features to ensure data is secure and protected, the most notable tool arguably being Advanced Threat Protection (ATP); a cloud-based filtering system which protects you from ransomware, malware and phishing attacks.
In addition to this, another great security tool is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), this solution requires you to present a second form of identification before you can access your files. Windows Defender also provides inclusive protection to your system from viruses and other threats. Having security systems such as these in place in integral to a business with a growing client base who would want to know that their data is in safe hands!
The Right Plan for You
You shouldn’t have to change your business in order to fit into a software plan, and you won’t have to with Microsoft’s various business plans to choose from that cater to companies of all sizes. These include Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Business Standard and Business Premium, enabling you to pick the right productivity solution for your organisation. This ability to tailor your plan for your individual technical needs also means that you don’t pay for more than you need.
Taking the Long View
We know that for many businesses the barriers to scale aren’t external, but down to a lack of long-term planning. This leads to internal processes and technologies not being able to support growth, resulting in failures and downtime.
Without someone thinking strategically about their technology and planning for future growth, companies’ risk being hamstrung by outdated, inefficient or inappropriate IT, or suffering from uncoordinated buying decisions.
Are you ready to grow?
So, if your business is, or has the potential to be high growth, then ask yourself: do you have someone on board thinking strategically about your IT infrastructure? Are you confident that your current infrastructure will scale smoothly and efficiently as you grow, including internationally? If not, perhaps consider the benefits of the Microsoft 365 suite above and get in touch with one of our team today for advice on cloud migration and leveraging the right technology for your business growth.