Old Way or New Way

By Aaron Charlesworth

The Small Business Association (SBA) estimates that there are 28 million small businesses in America and that this number is growing – fast. The SBA also reports that the rate of small business failures has declined, meaning this growing number of companies are thriving and finding success. But even the strongest business plan with the smartest leaders at the helm can stumble if one ingredient is missing: scalability.

Scalability refers to a business’ ability to adapt over time. Small businesses have the greatest need for scalable solutions because they have the biggest potential for growth. On top of that, small businesses are most concerned with investment in the company; they don’t have the luxury of a padded bottom line that larger, more established companies may enjoy.

Most people think scalability refers specifically to personnel. It is important to on-board the right number of people with the right skillset at the right time, and be willing to let go of others who no longer serve the business’ mission and purpose. Scalability also refers to the infrastructure that makes the business tick – as a company scales up or down, it’s important to make sure its technology solutions can easily adjust to support the new demands of the organization.

The easiest and most flexible technology to consider in preparation for scaling is a cloud-based communications system. With this in place, small businesses can save headaches in the short-term and improve the bottom line in the long-term. As leadership adds new employees – no matter where they are located geographically – a new line can be added to their system with a click on their virtual dashboard, significantly reducing the time, technical hassle and money. A traditional on-premise communications system, on the other hand, would require labor-intensive wiring and a significant added expense to add or remove access for a changing team.

A cloud-based unified communications system creates an environment that lets small business owners take control without the need for additional time and resources. Unified communications in the cloud allow businesses to easily scale their service up or down, adding users and phones as needed.

Small businesses that manage to adapt over time are the ones that plan ahead for the unknown. Having the right tools in place that are flexible enough to adapt with you can ensure maximum fitness of the business and enable leadership to focus on the work.

Aaron Charlesworth is the vice president of product marketing at Vonage@Vonage.