Success stories like Atlassian are an inspiration to many Australians looking to build a successful, fast growth, global business. However, the majority of start-ups are a long way from achieving this kind of rapid growth and global success. According to recent research from Deloitte, fewer than 5% of Australian start-ups were able to scale up into sustainable, global businesses in 2012.
The same Deloitte research concluded that small businesses which are highly engaged with technology have double the growth potential and profit per employee, when compared with businesses that have low engagement with technology.
While the Aussie start-up sector is vibrant and successful, there is an opportunity to turbo charge its growth through technology. Opting for the cloud, empowering staff with mobile devices and focusing on customer service are three key strategies that start-ups can now easily implement, in order to reach the heights of growth that their Silicon Valley counterparts enjoy.
Growth with the cloud
Technology can come at an enormous cost for new businesses; however, savvy fast growth businesses can now significantly reduce their capital expenditure on hardware and software by adopting the cloud.
The ability to quickly scale a cost-efficient cloud service means business owners can respond to spikes in customer demand, while not overinvesting in technology.
Australian online recruitment site Nvoi has taken advantage of the cloud to connect job seekers directly with employers, allowing Nvoi staff, customers and partners to be highly collaborative on the lead-to-close process. By adopting a cloud solution, Nvoi can deal with surges in demand and visits, while reducing the overall costs of running the organisation.
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The potential of smartphones and tablets to drive growth is massive. Mobile devices give staff the ability to take advantage of ‘micro moments’ to respond to customer requests and action business needs on the go.
Through integrated smartphone apps, businesses can manage their core tasks, while empowering staff to take advantage of spare time like waiting in line for a coffee or on the morning commute. Hipages.com.au, Australia’s most visited building and renovation website is supporting its next phase of growth by empowering a mobile workforce.
Cloud-enabled mobile apps provide hipages.com.au with dashboards on smartphones and tablets, making it easy for staff to review data including, the total level of customers, active jobs and feedback from consumers on tradies, providing all employees with an enhanced level of efficiency and productivity.
Connect with your customers 1:1
The link between customer service and revenue is irrefutable. In the digital world, knowing your customer and providing outstanding customer service can be challenging. However, ignoring customer service can hurt your bottom line. According to research conducted by Feedback ASAP in 2013, poor customer service is costing Australian businesses in excess of $9 billion annually.
By empowering staff with cloud and mobile technology, they can connect with customers across social media, phone calls, email and live web chat, anywhere, anytime. The delivery of outstanding customer service outside of the bricks-and-mortar store is now an attainable goal. Norm Black, CEO of Aussie travel deals site TripADeal, has seen a 70% growth rate year on year after converting his business model to a customer service solution based on a cloud platform easily used and accessed on mobile devices.
Its staff are able to respond to customer requests with a personal touch by pulling up an up-to-date file on the customer, and then automatically and instantly update the rest of the team through cloud based tools. TripADeal has found that enabling customers to converse with the business via online real-time chat and providing instant customer service, has contributed to satisfied, long-term customers.
By building the foundation of its business on the cloud paired with mobile technology, Australia’s start-up and small business community can realise their dream of rapid, sustainable growth. It won’t be too long before the world is speaking about what Deloitte has termed ‘Silicon Beach’ in the same breath as other innovative business hubs, like Silicon Valley.
Thomas Karemacher is regional vice president, mid-market and SMB at salesforce.com/au
Image credit: Flickr/FutUndBeidl