Mobile technology has made the world more connected than ever before, and small businesses are finding new ways to use it to their advantage, as Virgin Media Business explains…
The demands of running a small business have changed dramatically over the last few decades, as the rise of technology has turned instant access and 24/7 connectivity from a pipe dream into a reality.
Savvy business owners are realising that the way they – and their staff – engage with technology is changing. Furthermore, millennials are helping to normalise the use of mobile technology as a way to manage their finances, and even run a business.
This evolution is reflected in the decline in landline usage, as businesses recognise the benefits of mobiles over fixed-line phones. There has been a 35 per cent drop in the number of UK businesses with landline numbers between 2010 and 2017, according to Ofcom figures.
In contrast, smartphone adoption among UK adults continues to rise, with 85 per cent now owning a device, according to Deloitte. This is up from 52 per cent in 2012.
With the growing popularity of flexible working conditions, smartphones are becoming an increasingly important way of doing business.
The rise of co-working spaces such as WeWork and Workspace means that many small business owners now see mobiles, not landlines, as the norm. And for people rushing between meetings or working remotely, having a reliable mobile is crucial.
Research from the TUC found that the number of UK people working from home increased by nearly quarter of a million in the 10 years to 2016, and this trend looks set to continue.
Millennials in particular are increasingly demanding flexibility, fuelling predictions that the traditional 9-to-5 job will eventually become obsolete.
In the 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey, the accountancy firm found that two-thirds of millennials globally said their employers have adopted flexible arrangements, which in turn boosted satisfaction and productivity amongst employees.
Therefore, effective smartphone use can create more efficient and more competitive businesses. This is particularly true for firms on the smaller end of the spectrum, where resources may be thinner and is it vital that employers and employees can collaborate and access real-time information wherever they may be.
The rise of mobile technology has led to the increased use of smartphone-optimised applications for both consumers and businesses.
For example, a recent report from banking trade body UK Finance found that there were around 5.5 billion log-ins to banking apps during 2017 – a 13 per cent rise on the previous year.
There are even ‘mobile-only’ app-based banks such as Starling Bank, which offers a free and straightforward business bank account that could potentially be better value for small firms.
And of course, the growth of peer-to-peer lending means that small business owners can use their mobiles to access much-needed finance from digital-only platforms.
It doesn’t stop there. Modern business owners can manage their accounts, organise their team’s workflow, send invoices and recruit for staff, all from their smartphone.
Essentially, mobile devices give the freedom to do business from practically anywhere in the world, at any time.
Of course, a mobile device is nothing without good network coverage. Customers and business contacts now expect instantaneous responses regardless of whether you’re in the office or out and about. Access to the internet is a modern-day business necessity, no matter where you’re working.
Therefore, for businesses looking to truly embrace the benefits of flexibility and remote working, it is important that they choose a reliable provider with wide-ranging 4G penetration.
Unfortunately, many UK-based networks still have a long way to go before they can meet the high standards of the modern mobile worker. However, Virgin Media Business’s mobile offering provides 4G coverage to 99 per cent of the UK population, meaning that businesses can stay connected almost anywhere in the country.
And with 250,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots and roaming in 43 European countries, business owners can feel confident that they will be accessible both at home and abroad.
Now is the perfect time to ensure your business goes mobile with our incredible new offer. Choose one of our top-of-the-range handsets that can fulfil your connectivity needs, such as the Samsung S9+ with 32GB of data, and you can save £25 per month on Voom Fibre 3 business broadband. To find out more about our great offer and how you can ensure your business is keeping up with the recent trends, click here.
When businesses are looking to scale up and thrive in the modern world, digital mobility is not a choice – it’s a necessity.