How the National Broadband Network Will Help SMEs

Unless you’ve had your head under a rock for the last year or so, you’ve probably heard of the National Broadband Network – a once in a lifetime infrastructure project designed to bring Australia into the 21st century as a world leader in communications technology. The technical details of how the network will do its thing can be found anywhere on the internet, but essentially for small and medium businesses it just means that (almost) everyone will have access to very fast internet. Periodically, every small or medium business owner will be forming their next strategic plan, and this is just the time to be thinking about the opportunities that the NBN will bring and how to exploit them.

Open up rural and regional markets for your product or service

Currently, internet users in many rural and regional centres around Australia experience horrifically slow internet speeds. When the NBN gets rolled out, decades-old copper lines will be replaced with either a lightning fast fibre optic cable directly to the home/business, or a very fast wireless broadband service. Either way, if your product or service’s market includes rural and regional visitors, you could be in for an upturn in your web trade.

Consultative services through the web direct into home and businesses

As Australia is rapidly becoming a service based economy, one thing that holds us back includes travel time. As our cities become even more vast and congested, it is already in many cases not feasible to be on the road for two hours to and from your one hour appointment. In addition, if the distance between you and your customers can be very large, sometimes it just isn’t possible to travel. The great advantage of the NBN is its bandwidth capacity, and the biggest chewer of bandwidth is video. Businesses that can learn to embrace videoconferencing and video calls as a part of their day to day trade will find massive efficiency gains against having sales or other staff on the ground. If you can get the face to face experience over the web, why would you waste time in transit?

Faster access to your website for the general public

This one is pretty simple. Faster access on the new NBN means time-poor people can get more done in a shorter period time, including shopping on your e-commerce website (if you have one). Webfirm have a fantastic suite of e-commerce products, so let us know if you would like to get in on the game. Faster internet access might also mean users are even less patient with their browsing, so make sure your website has the right information above the fold on the first page. If you’re not sure, ask a professional.

Faster access to the internet for your business

Every second of your day that you spend waiting for your net banking, a supplier’s website, for your email to download… the NBN could dramatically cut these waiting times. Time is money! On the networking front, maybe you have wanted to set up direct connections with your suppliers in the past but it just hasn’t been possible because of the internet speeds. A higher bandwidth connection could make possible that constant link you always wanted.

Teleconferencing for your staff (work from home, work on the road)

Most business owners will be aiming to create a business that is an ‘employer of choice’ – a team that the best people are desperate to be a part of. While the ability to have flexible working conditions is not necessarily directly correlated to happy employees, and although teleconferencing is not a new thing, the faster our internet is the more efficient it will be to allow employees to log in from home or on the road. Who know if the NBN will spur on a social revolution of people working from their homes? It’s not for every business, but it could be a game changer for your business.

If you’re interested in finding out how Webfirm can improve your standing online, to take advantage of the tide that is coming in the NBN, we would love to hear from you. Call 1300 WEBFIRM (932 347) or visit www.webfirm.com.

Image credit DeclanTM on Flickr

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