The key to your company’s success is its ability to communicate both internally and externally. Unfortunately, many companies struggle with multiple disconnected communication systems.
Unified communications combines all of your communication methods into a single experience across multiple platforms. The result is easier and more effective communication.
If you run a small business, this guide will help you develop better communication in your business.
What is SMB unified communications?
Every business uses multiple forms of communication across multiple communications systems. The use of separate systems can be costly in terms of time, productivity and literal expense. To resolve these problems, many small businesses turn to SMB unified communication.
SMB unified communications is a method of taking all of your different communication methods and integrating them into a single communication system. That way, every type of communication that your company uses, whether it’s voice-, text-, or data-driven, works in concert with each other.
Using SMB unified communications
Working from a single system for business communications can have a dramatic effect on your company’s ability to function.
This is highly beneficial for small businesses for a variety of reasons.
One of the most cited reasons why companies turn to SMB unified communications strategies is to increase productivity.
In fact, 64% of companies that reported using unified communications cited productivity as the leading reason in a CIO survey of IT companies. A unified communications approach is effective at reducing the friction with internal communications since it streamlines all conversations, allowing for the easiest, smoothest possible interactions.
Another important reason why companies prefer unified communications is the reduced risk from communication errors.
When companies use multiple disconnected communication systems, it’s easy to experience a high risk of miscommunicating internally. Think of it like kids playing a game of telephone. There are too many places along the way where a message can get distorted or be misinterpreted.
SMB unified communications can prevent this by aligning all your communication apps.
The more disconnected ways you have to communicate, the more ways there are for hackers to sneak into your network.
SMBs often struggle with keeping communications secure. User permissions, passwords, and third-party intrusions are a constant struggle, especially for small companies with a limited IT staff. By reducing the number of systems used, it limits the number of user accounts that must be kept secure.
Plus, it reduces the chances of user login credentials falling into the wrong hands.
Develop an SMB unified communications strategy
Your company needs an SMB unified communications strategy.
Here’s how you can develop one.
Stage 1: Determine what you want to accomplish
The first step in the process is to determine what you want to accomplish with your SMB unified communications strategy. This includes establishing your priorities as well as identifying the key goals that you want to achieve.
Ask yourself where you’re currently struggling with communications. Where are the bottlenecks? When do people get confused? Where do things usually break down in the communication process?
For example, a company that’s struggling with filling orders because of lost messages between departments should focus on making it easier for departments to communicate with each other.
Stage 2: Determine your needs
Next, try to determine your needs as a company.
Every company has the same basic needs, but every company expresses them differently. Your job is to look at how your company functions and determine what it needs to function effectively.
For example, companies that manufacture custom orders need a way of taking notes on each order and making sure everyone that works on each order can easily find the notes. An effective SMB unified communication system makes this process effortless.
Start by looking at the ways that your company communicates. Many companies use a combination of voice and text-based methods, as well as a supplemental system for file sharing. Analyze your current systems for their strengths and weaknesses, and see how they can meet your needs more effectively.
Stage 3: Do your research and ask for help
Once you have an idea of what you have and what you need, it’s time to look at your options.
Do your research to determine the best available SMB unified communications options. You need to be able to make an informed decision, after all. There’s no getting around doing some homework.
And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
There are companies that offer IT consulting services focused on SMB unified communications as well as a range of other small business and IT services. Reach out to a leading managed IT services firm to see how they can help.
Stage 4: Finalize your plan and move forward
You’d be surprised how many small business owners stop before they have an SMB unified communications system in place because they can’t make a final decision. That’s problematic for two reasons.
First, all that research is wasted if you don’t use it! Yes, it’s a major decision, but there’s a lot riding on it. Choose a solution and go with it.
Second, the decision isn’t really final. Options will change and your company will continue to grow. You’ll have to circle back to this issue many times during the lifetime of your business to ensure you’re using the right solutions.
The key is to choose a system that will be the best fit for now and move forward.
If the system doesn’t work or your needs change, then you can try a different system later. And each time you revisit the issue of SMB unified communications, you’ll be more informed. Your better understanding of what you are looking for will make things clearer and clearer over time.