How to help your business be more flexible while staying in control of your costs

Growth is a key aim for businesses of all sizes, but it can be accompanied by challenges. Costs can quickly build up and managing the increased number of employees, devices and interactions can be difficult.

Doing business internationally comes with its own distinct set of challenges, but also offers companies the chance to expand into lucrative new markets. Looking beyond your native country is therefore hugely appealing.

The method of conducting business across international borders is predominantly via wireless communications, with smartphones and tablets being great enablers of this. However, businesses must keep in mind the cost of calls, texts and mobile data when abroad. In order to help companies achieve this, EE has created Business Connect, a mobile plan that looks to simplify the various costs incurred by mobile businesses and enable international partnerships to flourish.

EE Business Connect works by giving companies the flexibility to ensure that all their employees have access to the resources they need whether they’re at home or abroad. There are a number of different plans available to suit each user, with the cheapest starting at just £10 per month[i]. Other packages come with a range of additional features, such as international minutes and data roaming included.

However, where Business Connect really comes into its own is through the option of adding more users and devices seamlessly, without causing disruption to your normal business practices. This gives managers a level of control that is vital in order to keep costs down, particularly when expanding into international markets – a process that can accelerate quickly. According to a recent report from industry researchers Grant Thornton, a “fear of missing out” can often provide the impetus for international expansion. However, if businesses wish to prevent this fear from leading to rash decisions, costs must be managed effectively.

One of the ways in which EE Business Connect is able to do this is by offering businesses shared data add-ons. In the UK, this could range between 1GB and 100GB, depending on your usage requirements and the number of shared devices you have. This shared data pool can be used even when an individual’s data allowance has been used up and businesses can choose which employees have access to it. It’s also worth noting that all Business Connect users will receive Double Speed 4GEE in areas of the UK where EE has rolled this out, ensuring that they aren’t hampered by slow Internet speeds[ii].

Internationally, shared calls and texts are also available, which can prove hugely useful if the employees involved in international business change on a regular basis. Businesses can opt for add-ons covering between 500 and 10,000 minutes and texts for use in the UK and from the UK to Europe and the USA. For some businesses, other markets may be of importance to them so EE Business Connect allows organisations to add extra Business Zone countries, including Australia, Canada, China, India, Israel, New Zealand, Pakistan, Turkey and the US Virgin Islands, for an additional charge.

International business does not only take place via phone calls and messages, however, and online access is increasingly important to businesses ranging from sole traders to huge multi-nationals. With EE Business Connect, it’s easy to apply data add-ons to your existing plan whether they are for use at home or abroad. EE has a wide range of international and roaming add-ons to choose from, available in a variety of sizes and offering companies the flexibility to scale up their data needs as and when they grow and have new business opportunities.

EE Business Connect isn’t simply about flexibility, however, it also provides businesses with a greater level of control. All plans can be controlled through online account management, which allows organisations to control data, minutes and texts, international and premium rate calls and UK data usage. Digital marketing firm Digital Next is an example of a UK business that has benefited from the peace of mind provided by EE Business Connect after doubling in size over a period of just twelve months. Being able to control mobile data and call time was vital for the company to prevent costs from spiralling out of control. Business Connect also comes with usage alerts that let you know when you’re reaching your limit, ensuring that your monthly bill doesn’t come with any unwelcome surprises.

“We can go online and set permissions for things like roaming, premium rate numbers and data usage for individual users,” explained CEO Justin Blackhurst. “This avoids surprise bills and prevents potential misuse. The Business Connect plan means our business can remain flexible. As we grow it grows with us. So we can keep doing things the way we want to[iii].”

Getting your Business Connect plan set up is also a straightforward process. Firstly, select a plan for each user, including an individual data allowance which is not shared amongst other employees. Then select the amount of monthly shared data, minutes and texts required. Organisations can also choose whether or not to sign up for roaming add-ons and if the additional Business Zone countries are needed. Further flexibility is provided as businesses can add smartphones, tablets and SIMs to their plans easily, as well as short-term 30-day contracts for temporary workers.

As businesses grow and expand into new markets it’s not only costs that need to be kept under control, but also security breaches. As an added bonus, every Business Connect plan comes with five free MobileIron licenses to keep your corporate information secure. MobileIron is a mobile device management tool that enables businesses to apply security protocols, wipe devices remotely and distribute work-orientated applications. MobileIron offers a further layer of protection to growing businesses and extra licenses are available at additional cost if required.

Ambition is at the heart of all great businesses but having the right tools at your disposal is crucial in order to translate this entrepreneurial spirit into tangible results. EE Business Connect offers companies the flexibility, choice and control required in order to thrive in a world where international communication is now the norm. By choosing the plans that are right for them, businesses are granted the freedom to pursue international opportunities without worrying about uncontrolled costs.

[i] Prices exclude VAT of 20 per cent. 24 month minimum term applies. See the EE Small Business Price Guide at ee.co.uk/businessterms for full details and included countries. Other terms apply, see ee.co.uk/bussinessterms

[ii] Double speed 4GEE in select areas only; check coverage at ee.co.uk/coverage before purchasing plan. Speeds based on test data 2015 (up to speeds doubled from 30Mbps to 60 Mbps). 4G network capacity doubled from 2 x 10 MHz to 2 x 20MHz. Speeds referred to are download speeds.

[iii] For more information, see http://ee.co.uk/content/dam/everything-everywhere/documents/Business-Connect-20141014.pdf

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