Everybody gets frustrated when the speed of their internet connection suddenly drops – but none more so than business owners. For some entrepreneurs, that frustration is tripled when employees complain they can’t complete tasks; sales can’t go through and projects can’t be completed. Great news then, that the government has recently announced that every household in the UK will have access to superfast broadband by 2015.
With constant technological advances, a fast, reliable internet connection is crucial for many business functions these days. Businesses rely on broadband not just for email and web browsing but for things like VoIP phone systems, analysing data and social media platforms. According to a recent report, businesses value social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to market their brand and interact with customers. Moreover, internet access and downloads were a priority to businesses when it came to “sourcing information, working with partners and, critically, selling to customers.”
Businesses need high speed broadband to compete with other businesses on a global scale and expand into areas like e-commerce to drive exports. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is pushing for universal high speed broadband because they believe it will empower businesses to expand into different markets and sell a broader range of products so that they have the opportunity to compete with larger businesses.
Efficiency and motivation among employees could fall with a slow internet connection. This is because tasks take much longer or are not completed at all and thus productivity falls. In this way, higher broadband speeds mean happy employees, which make for a more productive business.
Rural businesses have always been at a disadvantage because of a lack of access to fast broadband. This means expansion and growth are slowed due to sluggish broadband speeds which stop country-based businesses reaching as wide a range of potential customers as their urban counterparts.
Typically, rural broadband speeds only reach up to about 2mbps. The FSB has suggested these slow speeds are putting small businesses off trading online. The proposed new generation broadband speeds, however, could introduce them to these e-commerce opportunities and help them innovate and expand.
If you host your own website, slow broadband speeds may also affect customers looking at your site. How many of us have given up on a website which is taking too long to load? If this happens in the middle of a transaction or stops customers accessing your website at all it could result in losing customers to competitors. Fast broadband speed is crucial for customers so that your products and services can be sold and customer service upheld.
XLN Business Services is the small business specialist, helping over 130,000 UK businesses save money on telephone, business broadband, gas, electricity and card processing bills.