It is hardly controversial to say that Brexit is now the number-one buzzword in British business. This has not always been for the right reasons - as the recent spat between the John Lewis Partnership and Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has demonstrated. But there are voices of optimism as well. Tim Martin, founder and chairman of the Wetherspoons pub chain, is perhaps the most well-known. Eminently confident in Britain’s trading relationship with the wider world, even in the event of a ‘No Deal’, Wetherspoons recently announced a switch from EU-produced alcoholic beverages to UK and international equivalents in preparation for the “sunlit uplands” that Britain will enjoy once it leaves.
Whatever your views on Brexit, one thing is for certain: Britain’s trading relationships with Europe, and internationally, will undergo permanent change next year. No one can confidently say to what extent. But businesses should be prepared for any outcome, especially if they have strong international relationships.
And for ambitious entrepreneurs, Brexit offers potential opportunities to widen the net across the world. Investment in internet phone systems (VoIP) is one way businesses of all sizes can make the most of Brexit and a changing international business landscape. Here’s why.
It’s easier to make international calls to foreign customers
VoIP telephone systems operate via the internet rather than a fixed landline. This way, you can avoid the high rates that service providers charge in favour of a much cheaper alternative.
International calls via landline providers can cost an extortionate amount. BT currently charges anywhere between 6p and 96p per minute for landline calls abroad, and more for connections to mobile networks. It has also been announced that international rates are set to rise again this month. Price hikes have characterised the telecoms industry for the past few years, with TalkTalk and Virgin as additional culprits. There is no better time than now to switch to a VoIP network, which offers consistently lower international call costs.
The devaluation of the pound since the referendum result may have some upsides for UK companies operating abroad, making it cheaper for foreign customers to buy British services. If this turns out to be the case, it’s good news for companies prospecting for foreign clients, making those foreign phone calls all the more worthwhile.
You can integrate your internal communications across the world
Going global? VoIP systems provide a cost-effective and efficient method of maintaining communications within your organisation as well. Connecting your phone systems to the same internal network makes calls between workspaces, wherever they are, completely free. That means you can have engineers, software developers and salesmen on-call anywhere in the world, within Europe or without, without having to spend hundreds every month on internal call costs.
What’s more, you can choose a virtual number for your company which works the same wherever you’re based. You can allocate your own virtual extensions by department, making organisation that bit easier.
VoIP systems are highly scalable. They can be rented on a monthly, per-phone basis. They only require an internet connection to install, and can be set up and maintained remotely via programs like Cisco Call Manager. This makes VoIP the most flexible option for businesses hoping to venture into international markets. Your global offices will be just a ringtone away.
Into the unknown?
The debate is still ongoing about what impact Brexit will have on international telecommunications. Some economists have speculated that service providers will raise their roaming rates for UK travellers once Britain leaves the “digital single market”. Two of the biggest operators, Vodafone and Three, have however already agreed that rates will remain the same post-Brexit. Information on other areas of the industry is still unclear.
Either way, business-owners will find that VoIP systems provide piece of mind while exact details are being ironed out, particularly if you’re looking to expand your business abroad.
You can download VoIP apps for your smartphone, such as Skype for Business or iCall, which allow you to avoid the potential risks of changes to roaming rates. This way you can take advantage of the connectivity features of internet phone systems, such as mobile call-forwarding, without worrying about hidden costs.
With just over six months until the UK makes its exit, businesses are right to be aware of all potentialities - both costs and opportunities. With the global VoIP industry expanding year-on-year, regardless of the politics, we predict an even greater uptake in transparent, cost-effective communications solutions to confront the challenges and opportunities of international commerce.
GRiP Communications is a UK based VoIP Service provider providing high quality affordable business telephone systems to organisations with one phone or many. All you need is an internet connection.
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