SCORE

Doing business used to require set office hours and a lot of time on the phone to get things done.

Has new technology changed the way you do business, or are you stuck in the past?

Our newest infographic, “Online Collaboration Tools for Your Small Business,” examines the ways collaborative communication tools can boost your small business bottom line.

U.S. small businesses already use file-sharing and storage tools, instant messaging, and audio, web or video conferencing tools to facilitate doing business, according to a survey by SMB Group. When asked if they expected their company’s use of these and other tools to increase in the next 12 months, 38 percent said they anticipated an increase in file sharing; 33 percent said they planned to increase video conferencing use.

One tool that’s losing steam among small businesses is the desk phone. Eighty-nine percent of small business owners surveyed said they think the desk phone will be nonessential equipment within the next three to five years. As the remote workforce grows and new collaboration tools enter the market, workers no longer need to feel tied to their desks in order to be productive. Mobile phones and laptop computers are two of the main tools replacing the need for a desk phone.

Collaboration can contribute to company savings

Collaboration tools can provide major savings, both in costs and also efficiency. Imagine saving 40% on local calls, up to 90% on international calls just by allowing employees to use mobile phones with plans that fit your business needs. Efficient message management can save employees 43 minutes per day, and an average travel savings of $1,700 per month.

A majority of small business owners say they have a collaborative culture, and 70 percent agree that their collaborative communication techniques and tools have improved productivity.

Overcoming collaboration challenges

The challenges to implementing collaboration programs can prevent some businesses from taking action. When asked about the biggest barriers to establishing unified communications progress, 41 percent said that costs and funding were a major challenge. Security and privacy concerns were a barrier, followed by integration with current programs, user experience and end-user training. Finally, business owners feared that they did not have the network bandwidth available to support a collaboration system.

Still not sure if it’s worth implementing collaboration tools? Businesses that do use these tools grow 26% faster and deliver 21% higher profits.

Ready to make collaboration easier for your company? Meet with a SCORE mentor to learn how to incorporate new technologies in your business!