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Category: Digital Transformation

5 Important Digital Tools for Small Businesses

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Starting a small business is daunting to say the least.

Picture this: a great idea for a business pops into your head one day. 

Ready to launch now? Absolutely yes. 

After months of hard work, you finally launch your business in high spirits. Then as your business grows, you are hit with an ever-growing mountain of things to do; from managing your employees to finances and every little detail in between. You are feeling overwhelmed and wondering how you will ever get on top of this mountain. 

No worries, we’ve got you. 

We know you’re extremely busy running your business so here are 5 of the most useful digital tools you can take advantage of: 

 

Communication tools:

Communication is the key to any successful relationship whether that be with your employees or your customers. To help with this you could get… 

 

  • Devyce – 2 numbers, 1 phone

Devyce is a cost-effective and sustainable digital solution to the work phone. 

It allows you to have an additional phone number on your phone to use for work communications. On average phones are replaced every two years [1] and each phone during its lifetime can create up to 110kg of CO2 per year [2]. Eliminate the use of a second phone and get Devyce. 

Another great feature of Devyce is the team management portal for you to monitor and manage your employee call activity and quickly access call logs. 

 

We know what you’re thinking, having your work communications operating on your personal phone might disrupt your personal life (or vice versa) however Devyce also has a handy ‘do not disturb’ feature where you can turn off work notifications to keep a healthy work life balance.

All these features make Devyce a great telecommunications tool for your small business! 

  • FreshDesk – A customer service software for your website 

Maintaining an open line of communication with your customers can be harder than it seems. 

Customers will reach out to customer support through multiple channels. This can become difficult to keep track of so let FreshDesk ‘delight your customers with effortless customer service’. 

 

Financing tools:

One of the top reasons why startups/small businesses fail is a lack of cash or failure to raise new capital. [3] Sounds pretty obvious right? However, many business owners struggle to manage their finances and budgeting. 

Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a financial expert to be able to start your own business (even accountants struggle with the papers sometimes). There are many digital tools to assist you. Spendesk being one of them. 

  • Spendesk – A 7-in-1 spend management tool 

Spendesk encourages smarter spending decisions by providing:

  • A management platform where you can view and manage spending from company cards 
  • Review and pay invoices
  • Track expenses
  • Generate financial reports
  • Automate accounting
  • Create and optimise budget plans for your business

Make smarter money decisions, budget better and stay on top of your finances with Spendesk. 

 

Marketing tools:

Developing a solid marketing plan and creating great content for it is one of the key reasons for success for many businesses. 

  • BuzzSumo – an all in one content marketing tool 

BuzzSumo is a hub platform where you can:

  • Discover and research new content ideas
  • Find relevant influencers to work with 
  • Industry trend updates
  • Develop your content strategy and create compelling content
  • Analytics for content engagement

This all inclusive platform is great for industry trend research, allowing you to create and optimise your content marketing strategy. 

 

  • Buffer – social media management tool 

Buffer is a great tool for starting out with social media management as it offers a clear and easy to navigate platform for:

  • Creating and scheduling social media posts
  • Accessing all your social media messages across all platforms in one inbox
  • Social media analytics 

All of these features are great for effective communication with your audience, learning more about their preferences in regard to your business and utilising new insights to optimise your services and marketing plan. 

So, will you be using any of these digital tools? Feel free to head to our socials to share your business story and what digital tools you’re currently using! 

 

References:

[1]

https://www.bbvaopenmind.com/en/science/environment/the-hidden-environmental-toll-of-smartphones/#:~:text=Smartphones%20generate%20more%20greenhouse%20gases,the%20energy%20sector%20and%20transportation.

[2]

https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/europe2019s-consumption-in-a-circular/benefits-of-longer-lasting-electronics

[3]

https://www.cbinsights.com/research/startup-failure-reasons-top/

The New ‘Nothing’ Phone

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What is Nothing all about?

Nothing is a tech company, founded in 2020 by Carl Pei and is based in London. Their mission is to ‘remove the barriers between people and technology’. They hold the intention to create technology that just works, that you don’t need to think about and just feels like ‘nothing’ [1].

After receiving an initial £7 million in seed funding, with further large investments along the way, the new nothing phone has finally landed and is available here in the UK now [1]. The question is, is the most hyped smartphone of the year worth it, and will it beat the notorious tech giants?

Can they do the seemingly unimaginable?

The new smartphone largely mirrors that of an iPhone, but comes in at almost half of the price, at £399 [2]. Yet with the mid-range price, it has still managed to incorporate high-end features found on expensive devices, including a 6.55  OLED display and a dual 50-megapixel rear camera, to name a few [2]. However, it isn’t a market leader regarding its specifications or features. With Google’s launch of the Pixel 6A which includes similar features and at a similar price point [3]. Will the Nothing phone stand out?

Making a phone that stands out in a saturated and competitive marketplace, is tough. However, the Nothing phone has challenged the status quo, by embracing a futuristic and retro design by creating a completely transparent back, revealing the inner workings of the phone. Incorporating a ‘Glyph Interface’, which lights up the back when you receive any notification, and…it’s customisable [2]. Moreover, it leads the industry regarding its sustainability ethos, with 50% of the plastic parts sourced from recycled and bio-based materials  [2].

A potential problem?

The founder stated that they are building an alternative to Apple, which essentially means they want Apple users to switch over [4]. However, the Nothing OS is built on Android. Meaning the transition for existing Android users is far simpler.

The problem is that in essence, Apple has created a rather large ecosystem, through platforms including Apple Music, Apple Fitness, and more [5]. This means switching to an Android operating system could be a problem when looking for a seamless switch.

However, it’s still very early days for the Nothing phone, having only been released on the 21st of July. They have an innovative product that has been cleverly designed, with great aesthetic detail and seamless hardware integration, but will it be enough to replace the renowned iPhone users?

We will have to wait and see!

Sources

[1]
https://nothing.tech/pages/about-us
[2]
https://nothing.tech/pages/phone-1
[3]
https://www.androidpolice.com/google-pixel-6a-vs-nothing-phone-1/
[4]
https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/excited-about-nothing-phone-1-23477896
[5]
https://www.lifewire.com/the-nothing-phone-1-doesnt-stand-a-chance-against-the-iphone-5499243

How the pandemic affected work communications and how to navigate the new ways of communication

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When we were hit with the pandemic in 2020, almost everyone had to adopt remote working. Now as we ease back into living post pandemic, fundamental changes have happened to our ways of living – one of the most prominently affected being work communications. 

Navigating the new ways of communication can be hard so here are some ways you can overcome these challenges:

 

More digital communication = changing how we communicate face to face 

 

Companies quickly utilised digital communication tools like Zoom or Teams to facilitate video conferencing alongside various other softwares. Even now as we return to offices, digital communication is the new norm for many people. 

 

46% of workers found it more challenging to communicate with one another as a result of the pandemic [1]. 

 

Digital communication tools have blurred communication boundaries and taken the “human” aspect out, impacting how we interact with one another. To overcome this you could:

  • Ensure phone calls with clients are quickly handled and directed to the right people within the company by using an integrated phone system like Devyce. 

Teams Plan – Devyce

  • Create clear communication guidelines for video conferencing eg. blurred background customary 
  • Be considerate of time zone differences when setting up meetings 

 

Less face to face interaction = feeling less connected 

Many companies have adopted a hybrid working model and remote working is still widely practised. With 45% of professionals noting they see their colleagues less than pre-pandemic, it comes as no surprise that many find it hard to stay connected. 

To help employees combat this, companies can:

  • Provide incentives for employees to come into office regularly eg. bring your pet to work day
  • Create comfortable working environments that they’d enjoy coming in to eg. create a dedicated area for short breaks 
  • Set up regular external team events to encourage team building 
  • Create welcoming onboarding experiences for new hires to seamlessly integrate them into teams

 

Colleagues are sharing less personal information with each other

We don’t always want to know what our colleague had for dinner last night, however it can be healthy for colleagues to have open dialogue on topics like mental health. 14.7% of people experience mental health problems in the workplace [2] and many do not reach out for help. 

Helping employees feel more able to talk to each other about workplace wellbeing helps to create a sense of community and improve team engagement. To do this you can:

  • Encourage open dialogue at the workplace about mental health
  • Create a safe environment for employees to talk to one another eg. have a designated space they can go to for privacy
  • Ensure you regularly check in with colleagues about their workplace wellbeing 
  • Invest in education for employees eg. seminars on diversity and inclusion, mental health etc

 

With the abundance of digital communications tools at hand, workplace communications have become more complex – requiring continual development of new working models. 

 

We can help you better navigate this! – Head over to our socials to find out more 

 

References:

[1] https://www.grammarly.com/blog/pandemic-work-communication-trends/

[2] https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/statistics/mental-health-work-statistics

The Essential Guide To Voip Systems For Small Businesses

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The ultimate guide to setting up your team with the best VoIP phone system to enhance your small business!

What Is A Voip Phone System?

VoIP phone systems are the new age landlines. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) does as it says, uses the internet to make and receive calls completely wirelessly. VoIP systems digitise calls and texts and send them through internet lines, rather than ordinary landlines. VoIP has been around for a while, but is becoming more and more popular as it is evolving to be quicker, cheaper and more efficient. Many businesses and households already use VoIP systems for their communications, a seemingly clever move as landlines are slowly becoming obsolete.

 

How Do You Use A Voip Phone System?

 

VoIP systems work over the internet, but what does that mean?

Well, in the simplest of explanations, VoIP systems digitise your voice into online data and send it to your phone provider via the internet, which is then passed on to the receiver. VoIP phone systems rely on high speed internet to make and receive communications; this means you can make calls with a VoIP system on a computer, a mobile phone or a VoIP adapter.

 

Why Should You Use A Voip Phone System For Your Small Business?

Having a digital communication system for your team is the new trend in business. Giving employees a second phone number for work, all on the same system, instead of a second mobile phone or office phone, benefits the business and the employee, allowing companies to maintain professionalism and employees to stay connected no matter where they are.

Features included with VoIP systems include:

✅ Virtual receptionist

✅ Call forwarding

✅ Voicemail transcription

✅ Do Not Disturb button

✅ Conference call

✅ Call recording

✅ Call logs

✅ On-hold music

Cost efficient
Perhaps the best advantage of the VoIP phone system is the price. Most VoIP providers charge a monthly fee, based on how many users are on it rather than how many minutes are used; meaning you can have unlimited calls for a lower price. For example, most VoIP providers will charge around £20-30 a month, whereas landlines will charge around £50-75 a month.

Easy Setup
Setting up a second phone number on your personal phone is easy as pie. Most VoIP systems work through a phone app and can be downloaded and running within minutes with a smartphone. No need to spend extra hours installing complicated technology.

Professionalism
Having a second phone number allows you to stay connected with colleagues, clients and customers while still maintaining professionalism. Whether you are part of, or running, a small business, or working for yourself, or as a freelancer, having a professional phone number can go a long way in gaining customers’ trust and confidence in you and your business. Giving out your personal number is not only ideal for you, but also perhaps not comfortable for the customer. Virtual phone numbers allow you to have an online landline number, if you chose, for your business to maintain professionalism and privacy.

Enhances Communication
Despite more people than ever working from home, business communication cannot stop; it can be difficult to stay in touch from home with colleagues and clients.

A virtual number makes you accessible wherever you are, enhancing team collaboration by making it easy and simple to send and receive messages and important information, no matter if a team member is in the office, at home or the other side of the world. Having a solid communication system that supports your employees’ lifestyle of remote working, for example, can build morale and keep them motivated despite communication limits created by the pandemic.

Call from anywhere
Remote and hybrid working is the new normal since the pandemic. VoIP phone systems support the remote and hybrid work model, as it allows employees to communicate from wherever they are, whether it is at home, at work or on the other side of the world.

Scalability
With a cloud-based phone system you can add or remove phone lines for new or leaving employees. As your business grows, your phone system can too, without any stress or hassle.

Better Customer Support
Being able to contact customer support in case of an emergency is essential when running a small business. If your phone lines are down, it can negatively affect the accessibility of your business and leave customers stranded and unhappy with your service. Most VoIP service providers maintain direct contact with you and your company, so that if you have any issues they are available straight away to fix your problem; you won’t have to wait hours or days to get a reply from a big corporation that owns your landline.

Simple Equipment
VoIP being a cloud based service not only provides better quality and service, it also presents a more practical solution for small businesses. To use a VoIP phone system you don’t need any extra equipment or IT specialists to install and manage it, which not only makes life easier for you but also saves time and money for your business

 

Which Is The Best Voip Phone System For Small Businesses?

There are many VoIP phone systems on offer to small businesses, you’ll want to get the best one for the best price. The good thing about VoIP phone systems is that all you need is high quality internet connection, a router and a modem, all which businesses have anyway, to get started. The big question is which provider to go with.

Devyce is a VoIP service that specialises in fitting the needs of a small business. We know what a small business needs in terms of communication, and Devyce deliver. Devyce offer a special Teams Package tailored to small businesses at only £15.99 a month per user. With Devyce, the account manager has access to our Portal, which provides instant number allocation and deallocation, call forwarding, call recording, full call reporting and analytics and CRM integration. You can give your employees a new number, or bring their number to Devyce by porting. Devyce provides an easy, cheap and efficient VoIP phone system that optimises your small businesses communication and, with customer support available 24/7, supports you every step of the way.

 

Step By Step Guide

An easy guide on how to get Devyce for your team:

1️⃣Purchase Your Team Devyce Plan Here: https://devyce.com/pricing/

2️⃣Log In To Your Devyce Account And Access The Portal Here: https://login.devyce.io/u/login?state=hKFo2SBKMW8tSk1pd0dUd2NHSXoxN3FJZ3NNb29LdnE2Ukdtd6Fur3VuaXZlcnNhbC1sb2dpbqN0aWTZIEMwLWFWNGM4YUVsVS0tejZNRGgwbzJwLWZaNldKUHo5o2NpZNkgN0NxRk41bDlWV3FSalR6UXE2MHdOaWdJV1NGTjdTMGg 

3️⃣Add Amount of Numbers Needed

4️⃣Allocate Numbers To Employees

5️⃣Employees Download Devyce App

6️⃣ Monitor Team Communication via The Portal

 

Sources

https://www.grammarly.com/business/learn/digital-communication-strategies/?&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=search1gbnbstyleguidedsa&utm_targetid=dsa-1296364243343&gclid=CjwKCAjw8sCRBhA6EiwA6_IF4XLPe0nJsgPPCguig9KGXqbwu-Xfj7R7pyul_Fia3eBvqjZ2TMYN4hoC7hMQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

https://www.ukpostbox.com/blog/how-to-digitise-your-business-comms

https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8955-virtual-phone-numbers.html

https://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/beginners-guide-what-is-voip-and-how-does-it-work-explained/

https://www.business.com/articles/voip/

https://www.broadbandchoices.co.uk/guides/internet/internet-phone-voip-offers

https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8924-voip-for-business.html

https://fitsmallbusiness.com/voip-vs-landline/

Five Digital Trends to Watch in 2022

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Keen to know what digital trends await us in 2022?

Look no further… Here are the top five digital trends to look out for in 2022!

The Digital Transformation

2020 was the year the world stood still, the pandemic forced the world to lockdown, keeping people indoors and focused on survival. 2021, however, was a year of transformation; according to research done by The McKinsey Global Institute, people, businesses and society as a whole, transformed entirely, not just surviving the present, but anticipating and enhancing the future.

The pandemic has forced the world to adapt to a ‘new normal’, in which we rely on technology to work, connect with family and keep up with news. The digital world is constantly growing and adapting to make our lives easier; here are the top digital trends to watch out for in 2022.

1. The Metaverse

In October 2021, Mark Zuckerberg announced the new name of Facebook, ‘Meta’. Indicating a transformation into the ‘metaverse’, a virtual reality space in which users can live and interact with other users in a completely virtual landscape, essentially a fictional world.

This new trend in technology opens the doors wide open to endless possibilities of virtual and augmented reality, which many of us are unfamiliar with. This shared ‘virtual world’ can be reached by using VR headsets, AR glasses and smartphone applications.

People are already predicting that 2022 will be the year of the Metaverse. Not only will it be a space for users and gamers to live and play, but also holds the possibility of becoming a space in which brands can market themselves and create brand awareness.

Perhaps the Metaverse will be the new way we consume content, shop and live; one cannot be certain of the direction it will go, however, it is definitely a top trend to watch in 2022.

 2. NFTs

The digital economy is not a new concept, as cryptocurrency is widely used across the world, with currencies like Bitcoin or Litecoin. Cryptocurrency is any form of currency that exists online, in the virtual space, that uses cryptography to complete transactions.

The new cryptocurrency to watch in 2022, however, is NFTs (Non-Fungible Token). NFTs are the digital equivalent of non-fungibles, such as any singular digital asset, like a GIF, meme or digital artwork. NFTs can be bought and sold just like any other cryptocurrencies, used to buy both physical and digital things.

2021 saw a boom in NFT sales, hitting nearly three billion dollars in sales in the first six months. However, many tech companies have stated that NFTs are underused in the digital world, particularly in the gaming industry.

Jessica Rovello, the CEO of Arkadium, claims that gaming platforms, such as Ubisoft, should embrace the untapped market of NFTs. Rovello argues that 2022 will be the year the value of NFTs will truly be understood and take off.

The avenues for NFTs are limitless, starting with gaming, there are no restrictions on where they can take us. The Frankfurt School Blockchain Centre, for example, has predicted a market of roughly £1.1 trillion for tokenized assets, in industries beyond gaming, such as real estate, business and retail.

3. Connection

The rise in these major digital developments place more pressure on connection across the world. Digital trends rely on a faster connection, something that cannot be compromised in 2022.

5G and WiFi 6, according to Jerry Paradise, who works at Lenovo, is the future of high speed connection, also ensuring internet safety and reliability.

Some of us may already have noticed 5G popping up on our phones, however, it is not the mainstream. But, in 2022, we can expect 5G to become the standard for our phones. By 2030, it is predicted that, according to Statista, 5G technology will be marketed in the billions. 2022 is the time to embrace 5G connection, bringing you faster internet, faster data transfer and less delay.

4. Social focus on Mental Health and Digital Burnout

As the digital space grows, as does the pressure to stay digitally present and relevant. 2020 and 2021 have been years of ongoing lockdowns, forcing us to spend more time online, and constantly supply new content, resulting in digital burnout.

Vibely, a new social platform, reported that 90% of creators subscribed felt the effects of burnt out, significantly so that 71% thought about deleting their social media completely.

In 2022, we will see a continuation of a trend seen in 2021, in which content creators and brands on social media pay attention to self-care and the importance of setting digital boundaries. There is no doubt that a big digital trend of 2022 will be reassessing our relationship with social media and how to navigate healthier practices within the digital world.

For example, we have already seen Instagram testing out a new feature, called ‘Take a Break’; that has been trialled in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The ‘Take a Break’ initiative is a feature that gives users a reminder to have a break from using the app, for periods of time they chose; this will also be paired with tips from Instagram on what you can do during the break to increase your mental health.

It is certainly an interesting feature and, perhaps, the beginning of a new, healthier way we interact with technology.

Read more about burn out, and practices to avoid it, here: https://devyce.com/2022/02/09/how-to-keep-your-work-and-personal-life-separate/

 

5. VoIP systems

There is no doubt that the digital world has expanded and will continue to do so in 2022. The mobility of digital technology has greatly transformed the way we use our phones, tablets and computers, in our work and personal lives; technology is not limited to one single use, you can use your TV to make calls, and your phone to watch TV.

For businesses, big and small, digital mobility has allowed companies to optimise efficiency and productivity, particularly through communications. Not only can colleagues communicate more effectively, but teams can serve customers or clients to their best ability. Spending on communication is predicted to reach a new high in 2022, as the demand for effective and wireless communication solutions continues to grow. Business Wire, in 2020, reported that the VoIP market is predicted to grow to $183.7 billion by 2027, (roughly 137 billion pounds).

Businesses are switching to VoIP systems simply because of the digital benefits they offer. VoIP systems support the digital transformation and trends of recent years, with features such as AI for customer service, virtual receptionists, call forwarding and call recording.

Also, landlines are becoming more and more obsolete over the last ten years, giving rise to VoIP systems in the home, not only in businesses. VoIP systems are definitely a trend to watch in 2022 and beyond.

Explore Devyce’s plans here to get started using a VoIP system for personal or work use: https://devyce.com/pricing/

Sources
https://whatsnewinpublishing.com/6-big-digital-trends-to-watch-in-2022/
https://bigthink.com/the-present/digital-trends-2022/
https://later.com/blog/social-media-trends/
https://saucelabs.com/blog/2022-is-coming-eight-mobile-app-development-trends-to-look-for
https://financesonline.com/voip-trends/
https://www.exchangewire.com/blog/2022/01/14/predictions-2022-next-wave-blockchain-the-metaverse-and-more/

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