Collaboration is a powerful tool for any business, regardless of industry or size. Small business owners have to contend with bigger competitors with more resources. Fortunately, collaboration can help you grow your business with little extra cost. You need many things to run a successful business – money, talent, technology, to name a few. Along the way, it is easy to forget about things like collaboration and communication.
Keep reading to find out why business collaboration is the key to growing your small business.
One of the biggest reasons why business owners should focus on collaboration is to solve problems. There’s a reason for the recent popularity of crowdsourcing. Business owners and scientists have successfully used crowdsourcing to solve huge problems thanks to the collaboration between individuals of a sufficiently large group. While not every problem lends itself to the crowdsourcing technique, collaboration on a smaller scale is just as effective when it comes to solving business challenges.
You can see the effects of collaboration on a micro and macro scale. Think of the collaborative efforts of teams versus individuals as an example. How often do you find talented individuals who can solve big business problems on their own? The answer is almost never. Almost always it is employees collaborating together who can solve issues as they crop up.
Just as no man is an island, no business stands alone when it comes to successful outcomes. Business owners, teams, and individual employees get inspired when working with others. Business collaboration doesn’t just mean solving problems like what to do with excess inventory or how to speed up the company website. Many problems require creative solutions and out of the box thinking. Businesses also face other challenges that are not typical problems but need a solution anyway.
Consider a small business that is now facing competition from a bigger company. Or a business that needs innovative ways to drive sales. Challenges such as these rarely have conventional answers. You need employees and teams who can take inspiration from each other, from other businesses, and even other industries to solve them. In many circumstances, business collaboration will yield more successful outcomes than outright competitive strategies.
As an entrepreneur or small business owner, building your network is of crucial importance. A list of contacts and business alliances can help you seek growth, open new markets, or create innovative products and services. Few businesses can survive if they only sell to a select group of people over and over again. Growing business revenue generally means exploring new markets or creating complementary/new services to fulfill customer needs. None of it would be possible or successful without meeting new people and working with them.
Collaboration opens up new opportunities for learning. Interacting with people outside the business – and even within – can always teach you something valuable. Successful collaborations usually involve 2 or more people with different strengths and professional skills bringing unique perspectives to the same challenge.
It’s not just failures that can teach important lessons. Collaboration is perhaps even more important. Sometimes we cannot see the mistakes we make because we are too close to the problem. An outside perspective – even if they are not experts in that domain – can help you learn from your mistakes.
All too often, different departments or teams within the organization use different tools, methodologies, or communication platforms for their work. Some part of it is inevitable such as an engineering department using software that the accounting team doesn’t need. But when it comes to communication and collaboration tools, sharing resources and using similar technologies can help your business save money.
Collaboration between business units or teams can also yield cost-saving benefits. Cross-functional teams are better able to spot opportunities to eliminate waste or inefficiency in business processes. When employees collaborate with each other, they can be inspired to learn new processes and tools.
The above are just a few reasons why business collaboration is crucial to a small business. Now that you know the benefits, how can you foster the collaborative spirit within your business? Just like creativity or innovative thinking, it is not as simple as telling your employees to work together and collaborate. Encouraging collaboration means giving them the tools and incentives to promote the desired behavior.
Communication is the basis for all collaborative efforts. In the absence of communication, you cannot really work with others. Good communications systems are not the only requirement for successful business collaboration but it is an excellent start. Once you have the basis for a good enterprise communications system, you can always build on that.
There was a time when different communication and collaboration systems were separate and distinct. Nowadays, the keyword when it comes to business systems is integration. That means you should be looking at systems that talk to one another. Systems where data flows easily from one context to another. You do not want disparate systems that cannot work together as that just means more unnecessary work for your employees to hunt down what they need.
In 2020, you will find very few businesses that do not use a VoIP communication system for their business needs. This technology that has already replaced the older PSTN is here to stay and the voice communication standard of the future. What makes VoIP unique is that it provides a platform for other tools as well. It’s not just a technology upgrade to the landline.
Most importantly, a VoIP-based communication system can help business owners encourage collaboration between employees and outside entities.
Gone are the days when collaboration meant face to face meetings. Employees today may not even come into the office at all. How can you foster collaboration when half the team is working from home with the rest scattered across the world? VoIP helps you bridge that gap. With VoIP, location is irrelevant. Users can contact others regardless of the device they use or where they are working for the day.
The typical 9 to 5 workday doesn’t exist anymore either. With the popularity of mobile technologies, employees can work from home or a coffee shop as long as they have an internet connection. VoIP helps integrate multiple communication devices seamlessly. It eliminates several obstacles to collaboration at once – location, device, and time.
Built-in collaborative features
When you implement a VoIP service, you get many collaboration features in one package. For instance, users can share their screen with colleagues to make a point or communication visual data. Screen sharing can be turned on during a group video conference for a project team or while making an important presentation to clients. Nothing helps collaboration like effective visual aids.
Screen sharing is just one feature and VoIP offers many more. You can record business conversations that can be used later for training purposes. There is a huge difference between talking about customer dissatisfaction and actually listening to a frustrated customer explaining their problem. Similarly, teams working on vital projects can collaborate effectively when they have tools like screen capture, screen share, voice recording, and presence information.
Eliminate cost concerns
One of the biggest concerns of any small business is saving money. Very few small business owners can afford to spend thousands of dollars on new systems. Even more frustrating is the fact that most enterprise systems are designed for bigger organizations. The same concerns are valid when you consider communication or collaborative tools.
VoIP services are a huge help in this area. It eliminates or minimizes cost concerns when it comes to collaboration. In many cases, the fastest way to move forward is to pick up the phone and talk to a colleague or manager. But what if said employee is on the other side of the world or traveling? The cost of long-distance calls can quickly add up, especially if you have remote employees. It can cause users to hesitate and try to use non-real time communication channels such as email. Sometimes users are also afraid of crossing quarterly budgets or exceeding their expense account limits.
VoIP does away with all that. How? For one thing, all internal calls between employees are free with VoIP, regardless of their location. It means users can call colleagues at any time without worrying about the cost. Secondly, international calls cost a fraction of what legacy carriers will charge businesses. In one move, you can remove the biggest worry of employees when they consider voice calls – the cost!
It quickly becomes apparent that VoIP systems – whether you have your own hardware or purchase cloud services – are a key component in fostering collaboration in a small business. Don’t hesitate to try it out yourself. Sign up for a free 30-day trial to experience the benefits!
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Thousands of businesses across the world trust VoIPstudio for all of their most vital business communications. Why not be the next?
Thousands of businesses across the world trust VoIPstudio for all of their most vital business communications. Why not be the next?Start my trial! Take a 30 day free trial
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