One of the best books I’ve read on business is “Millionaire Fastlane” by MJ Demarco. In it, he teaches that one of the tenets to a successful “fastlane” business is Control. This means that you have the ability to effect outcomes in your business. For example, you should be able to set the price on services, advertise to drive in more customers etc. Ultimately, you have control over your business.
In a lot of ways, I find that great infrastructure gives you that kind of control. One of the core pieces of infrastructure being a reliable and fast broadband setup, no joke. The connection (no pun intended) between business control and broadband may seem sketchy right now, but hear me out.
Here’s what businesses are using the internet for
In our increasingly interconnected world, the business landscape is changing drastically. Many businesses are relying more an more on the internet. Think about it:
Many customers find out about your business and make contact through a company website, which you may host on your own server.
Gone are the days of filing cabinets, office compactors and the like. A lot of a business’ documentation is not stored online. Invoices, receipts, accounts – they’re all stored (and often prepared) online.
Communication with stakeholders
You’re probably no stranger to communicating with your suppliers and customers via email or Skype. In large corporates, meetings are held across the globe via video chat. In this hilarious scene from the hit show, Silicon Valley, a world where people communicate by holograms is imagined.
Having reliable access to the internet gives you control
As you can see, many of a business’ functions are carried out online. You need the best internet infrastructure to set you up on a platform where you can grab business opportunities when they arise, react to “fires” (i.e. customers sending nasty emails), and more. Without a reliable and fast broadband connection, you’re crippled as a business. You won’t have the ability to move as a business, to have control over these factors.
Ignored by many small business owners?
Yet there are so many small business owners who routinely fail to understand why their internet access and network infrastructure needs to be solid. This is despite the fact that they can pay as as little as 5 pounds for business broadband from Talk Talk (that’s about US$6.55).
I remember the first job I ever had. Our work was very research heavy, and our working papers were often shared online. Yet every week without fail, we’d lose our internet connection for about 1 – 2 hours. At first it was funny. We kicked back and welcomed the break. But soon we started to find that these outages were really disruptive to our work, especially when report deadlines drew near. We’d sit there cursing at our screens and hounding the IT department to get us back online ASAP.
Why get business broadband (some examples)
Here are just several reasons what a solid broadband connection can do for you:
Multiple people can get online at once
Broadband will provide your staff fast, uninhibited internet access all at the same time. Traditional connectivity doesn’t allow for that. If you’re in the hospitality industry, like a cafe or hotel, then having broadband is essential to meeting your patrons’ data cravings.
Voice over IP
If you do a lot of internal or external business globally, VoIP is a life saver. It can cut your costs dramatically and will allow for you to implement “hot desking“. Basically, your staff need not be tied to a particular table because they’d be able to make calls off their laptops and cellphones. This is especially useful for consulting companies whose staff spend a lot of time outside of the office or moving around. They can make big savings on desk space and office rental.
Static IP address
Most business broadband packages include static IP addresses. Not very exciting on the face of it, bit immensely valuable. With a static IP address, you can access your work stations remotely, host a website on your own server, and even get email sent to your servers directly instead of using a third party server.
The benefits to broadband are immense and its so cheap to do. You’d be doing your company a huge disservice not to set up such a basic system that costs next to nothing (in relation to the benefit it provides). Remember that without these tools and systems, your ability to react to your business environment may be severely limited, and you’d end up as frustrated as Gavin Belson in the clip we shared earlier!