Why there has never been a better time to be an SME

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By Beat Buhlmann, General Manager, Evernote EMEA

Adaptability is the key to growing a successful business and that’s why there has never been a better time to be an SME. But many SMEs don’t understand the advantages they hold and how they can build on these to further enhance their companies.

First, in our modern world the ability for businesses to react quickly to change (aka adaptability) is the key to success. It was less crucial in the past, when the speed of doing business and technological change were slower.

SMEs now have a huge speed advantage over their much larger corporate competitors. Why? Speed beats perfection nowadays – being able to implement changes quickly can make or break a business. Numerous super-successful companies like Nokia, Toys “R” Us, Kodak and Blockbuster were leaders in the markets, with corresponding big marketing budgets and bank balances. But the main reason they either went bankrupt or were forced to leave the market and sell-up was because they were too slow to adapt to change.

The Cloud is a great leveller

Second, IT capabilities (storage, communications and computation power) are instrumental to keep up with the ultra-high speed of change and innovation pressures from today’s market. In the past, SMEs could not afford vast internal IT infrastructure, because of the high initial cost – that was a huge disadvantage compared to large corporates.

But, the Cloud has changed that. The Cloud democratised IT capabilities and thanks to “pay-as-you-use” services and the “economies-of-scale” of the Cloud in general, SMEs now have the same access to IT capabilities, without a high initial cost barrier.

New world, new opportunities

This combination of factors has created a new world of opportunity for SMEs but, although the evergreen advantage of adaptability (speed to react to change) is a boon for SMEs, you need to ensure you don’t let the Cloud distract you from your focus on doing the job in hand.

Guard against Triple Overload

You may not be familiar with the term “Triple Overload”, but you most probably know what the symptoms feel like. Triple Overload is made of data overload (too much information, so it takes ages to find something), communication overload (vast amounts of emails, video calls, Chat, etc) and cognitive overload (lots of interruptions and switching tasks, leading to exhaustion).

To help you avoid failing under the strain remember that your attention is more precious than time. Think about when you’re at your best and keep your best-attention-time so you can do your best work. Reducing and removing distractions by turning off notifications on your phone, closing your email down for an afternoon and processing emails in batches.

Work smart in the digital world

Finally, for you and your team to get the most of the Cloud’s capabilities you should choose the right communication channels for the right tasks.

Many SMEs now use teams made up of freelancers or contractors as a cost effective solution to grow their businesses, but collaborating and working together with a ‘virtual team’ can be tricky. So it’s key to identify the right space that enables the team to capture, organise, find and share ideas from anywhere. Evernote is an ideal online platform to help aid team communications and work, especially in teams separated by locations or time zones.

Beat Buhlmann is a published author on topics including building virtual teams, digital transformation and online marketing