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Savvy CEO: Growing a tech company amid the pandemic

by maria
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Mark Vivian, CEO, Claremont

Recent UK GOV business statistics show that between 500K – 700K new businesses are launched in the UK every year, with a staggering 508,865 companies being dissolved annually. To make matters worse, young UK businesses risk a high failure rate.  Twenty percent of businesses fail in their first year and around 60% go bust within three years.

However, because of the pandemic, the technology market is currently booming. While there will always be a great need for new technology and software, standing out from an ever-growing crowd dominated by established global giants presents a challenge to business growth.

Consistently doing the basics right and keeping them central to your business development plan is essential. Laying strong foundations will enable any business to build a reputable business with longevity.

Getting the foundations right

Software as a service (SaaS) has been the largest and fastest-growing market segment since 2019, with Gartner reporting a 2020 growth forecast of $104.7 billion for the industry.   Many B2B SaaS companies start by trying to solve a unique business problem and quickly take on customers at their conception whom they can help. Focusing on that specific issue, improving solutions and putting the customer first will support organic and reputational growth.

Initially, the focus should be growing  growing market share as founders begin to consider the type of business they want to build:  What will your company values be and how will you choose them? What is your desired company culture? What is your USP?

In our case, customer service has always been the focus.  Finding the best people who can adopt a growth mindset and align with that focus was crucial.

Budding entrepreneurs should then create a business plan to decipher the best way to build a product and/or service, and how to take it to market.

Tech is a competitive marketplace. Taking the time to understand and appreciate competitors can answer a lot of the important questions. Look at what has helped them succeed. Not only can you learn from them, but you can also understand how your business fits within the current landscape. And always proceed with courage. Large companies can fail, and new incumbents can win. If you persist, you can succeed.

Why your USP should be customer service.

It is always important to focus on the quality of service your company provides its customers. Business leaders should ensure they offer an unparalleled quality of service by building strong rapport with their customers, so they see you as an extension of their own organisation.  This is what attracts many customers in the first place, as well as retains them for the long haul.

The aim should be for each of your customers to receive the highest level of service, which will be reflected in your customer satisfaction scores year on year. However, many companies aren’t conducting regular customer service satisfaction surveys. Those businesses that conduct customer service surveys can track how well their teams are and any issues that may arise.

When you have access to customer satisfaction data, business leaders can action the feedback to improve customer satisfaction and get proactive about real customer issues. Awareness of negative customer experiences enables businesses to and improve their products and services, leading to better customer loyalty and retention and, ultimately, higher turnover. I think this focus on the client experience is something that larger businesses often struggle with; they can often merely be seen to be providing a service.

We look to forge long-term relationships with our customers, collaborating with them to maximise their investment in Oracle technology and use it to achieve tangible business outcomes.

Teamwork is key – Build a strong team.

It’s important to remember that your employees are at the heart of business growth.  Each customer will bring about individual challenges, complexities and requirements that will require technology leaders to employ a well-trained and dynamic workforce.

Employing, developing, and mentoring the right people can make all the difference. There are no better advocates and supporters of your company’s product or service than your staff. We ensure our team is completely behind everything the company does. A very important aspect of recruitment is to hire people with a growth mindset. This means constantly looking to learn and develop as a team, so that we can improve the work we deliver for our clients. But it also means that we can be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances as our business evolves over time.

For example, at Claremont, we are a relatively small but tightly knit team and, as a managed service provider; we pride ourselves on our customer service and our human support. Our solutions are all tailored to the specific needs and requirements of individual customers, which requires in depth specialist knowledge from each staff member in different areas. Claremont Cloud for example, offers organisations the optimum balance of security, reliability, performance, service, and total cost of ownership for organisations looking to host their EBS on cloud infrastructure. Dedicated and passionate staff that know their area inside out, make that process more seamless for customers.

How to grow during the pandemic?

No business has escaped the shackles of the pandemic, and everyone has had to put extra measures in place to ensure our staff and customers are looked after. At a time when many companies are working remotely, operating at limited capacity or shut down completely, it may seem like there are few, if any, opportunities to achieve business growth. Despite these setbacks, there are ways to make the most of the current circumstances and continue growing your business. Businesses need to work with cloud technology experts to clearly outline their business objectives in the wake of COVID. They objectives should be set with delivering services remotely in mind. This is also the time to develop and introduce more services to further support customers as we adapt to our “new normal”.

The pandemic has brought with it many new challenges that required businesses to be agile and scalable. During any crisis there will always be things beyond every business leader’s control, and there will always be opportunities to try a more effective and efficient approach. For a business to grow and thrive, leaders must adapt, remain focused on seeking new ways to boost growth and crucially, keep customers happy and loyal.

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