Jola Cloud Solutions' Blog

Helping your team to switch off when on holiday

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 24-Aug-2016 15:28:57

One in three employees are guilty of not using up their annual leave and those who do go away often remain online, still checking and replying to work emails. Thanks to cloud computing with the ability to access not just your email, but your documents, CRM and billing platform from your mobile as well as using the mobile client for your hosted telephony, it is getting worse.

Taking holiday is important for both staff and businesses. Work can at times be all-consuming, so it’s understandable that workers find it hard to switch off and for many, the fear of falling behind on their workload whilst on holiday is enough to keep them in the office. However, those running a business need to have processes in place that encourage annual leave, otherwise staff could burnout. How many of these steps do you take in your business for example?

1 - Encourage annual leave

First and foremost, as a business you need to foster a positive message about annual leave and engrain it into your company culture so that employees don’t feel guilty about taking time off. Instead encourage staff to take a break and promote the importance of unwinding and leaving the office behind. You could also use annual leave as an incentive for reaching targets.

2 - Put simple processes in place

Your business should make the process of booking holiday easy. Make sure handover processes are also in place, so that your staff don’t have to worry that their workload is piling up in their absence; this could be achieved through a team meeting, via email, or both, so that their team is aware of what needs to be done. Similarly, activating ‘out of office’ responses helps employees relax that bit more, as they know that urgent enquiries will be picked up by someone else.


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Topics: Dealer

What makes a successful partnership?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 02-Aug-2016 19:02:22

During our business careers we forge many partnerships, have you ever thought about why some are so much more successful than others?


This is non-negotiable. It also needs to be unreserved, unambiguous, and unequivocal. Trust is one of those things that is easy to advertise but a lot more difficult to demonstrate and retain over a long period of time. It is doing what you say you are going to do. It is coming to an agreement and honouring it. It is having contracts that are clear and concise and don’t hide any surprising clauses. It is about trusting someone with your end users, helping you demonstrate products and win new business.

Shared vision

Sharing a vision such as a passion for customer service is important. On a day to day basis it is about having someone to contact and support you, answer queries so you can get back to a customer in a timely fashion. Someone who takes calls after hours like you do, to go the extra mile for your customers. Someone who isn’t dictated to by strict processes and scripts who can help you customise a solution and expedite delivery to meet expectations where possible.

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Topics: Dealer

5 mistakes to avoid when growing your business

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 26-Jul-2016 15:44:44

1 – Not employing the right people

However, you decide to recruit, putting the time in to plan the type of person you need and their potential career path is worth it. The cost of hiring the wrong person and then needing to recruit again is not just one of time and money.

Hiring a team with a different skill set to yours is invaluable as it allows you to delegate tasks outside of your unique abilities, to keep you focussed on driving growth. Allowing your team to progress their career within your business and rewarding staff with bonuses also helps to retain focus on shared goals.

2 – Not effectively managing cash flow

Growing a business and managing a cash flow go hand in hand. Late payments and billing disputes can be an even bigger problem, when you factor in additional costs to fund growth. Banks may be able to help with overdrafts for working capital but you need to arrange this in advance. Direct debit can help with late payments. Detailed cash flow forecasts can help to highlight any issues before they affect your business.

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Topics: Dealer

What kind of partner are you?

Posted by Andrew Dickinson on 07-Jul-2016 11:58:31

Internet bandwidth is getting cheaper and faster and as a result, revenues from business cloud products are growing quicker than ever before.

Most voice resellers and IT support companies that were not already selling connectivity, cloud voice and mobile SIMs are now actively looking into it, either to protect their customer bases or to add valuable recurring revenues and margins.

Unless you intend to build your own network and switches you will probably need to select a supply partner. This subject has been well covered in previous blogs so we need make no further comment here.

This article is about how you engage with your chosen supplier(s).

Dealer or reseller?

The most common question we get as we recruit new partners is if they should become a dealer or a reseller. This is not as straightforward to answer as it may seem. In general terms a reseller has the contract with the end customer and they bill and support them directly. A dealer often sells the solution to their customer but the billing and support will be done by the supplier who will often then pay the dealer a commission. The decision to go dealer or reseller can differ between products and contract terms so the first thing to say is make sure you pick a supplier that offers both schemes with options to transition between them. Here are a few more things to consider;


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Topics: Dealer

3 questions to ask a potential new voice and data supplier

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 30-Jun-2016 09:50:32

When deciding to add voice and data solutions to your portfolio, you may read a lot of websites highlighting the benefits of key product offerings and explaining the potential benefits of partnering. 

Most of the benefits suggested by suppliers as reasons to partner with them have turned into ‘givens’ overtime i.e. suppliers that don’t have them, won’t generally make your shortlist. Givens include quality of products, portals, 24/7 support, predictable and accurate commission payments and trust.

Outside of these, resellers and dealers need to know three things;

1 - Is it easy to sell, quote and order?

For a product to be easy to sell, it requires demand, unique features, reliability and a good price. If it is a great product with an over-complicated or clunky quoting and ordering portal, you will be less likely to recommend the services and place orders. If the supplier also makes your own selling process easier with collateral, contracts, proposals, sales support and advice, this may give you and your sales teams more confidence with their products.

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Topics: Dealer

New opportunities in the telecommunications sector

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 29-Jun-2016 16:33:30

A 2016 survey conducted by Deloitte highlighted new opportunities as many SMEs take advantage of faster, more secure connectivity, smart technologies and the rise in mobile data.

Telecommunications companies will be looking for opportunities to increase revenue through their core businesses such as network connectivity and the sale of network equipment and devices. They will also be planning to introduce new related products and services.

New opportunities

Public sector

New opportunities for growth may be found in the public sector, as local authorities try to save money by introducing hosted telephony for their own offices and smart technologies for things like parking, lighting and security.

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Topics: Dealer

Five things every small business should measure

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 22-Jun-2016 14:15:19

Small businesses account for 99.3% of all private sector business in the UK. There has been sustained growth in the business population over the last few years contributing to 47% of all private sector turnover, totalling £1.8 trillion.

Many growing businesses have common traits, one of which seems to be a focus on key performance indicators. KPIs not only monitor progress but can also highlight any issues which need to be addressed. Here are the top five things every small business should measure:

1 Cash flow

Operating cash flow is probably the most important short-term measurement in your business. It is the most common reason that even the most profitable small businesses run into difficulties. Essentially it is the money you have left in the bank each month and is calculated by subtracting your operating expenses from your gross margin, adding in timing issues (like when you get paid vs when you have to pay your bills) and removing non-cash items like depreciation. Negative cash flow often occurs when you have to pay your bills before some customers have paid you. SMEs that want to sell to larger corporations often get bullied on payment terms and this is worth knowing before going after this business. Banks are usually very open to providing overdrafts for working capital but only if this is pre-arranged. Also try and get all your customers on Direct Debit to mitigate the effect of the late payers. Produce a quarterly cash-flow forecast every month.

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Topics: Dealer

Five ways to improve customer service

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 21-Jun-2016 10:27:00

Small businesses can use excellent service to appear bigger, in what Salesforce describes as the 'blowfish effect'. SMEs that deliver speedy, personalised and friendly customer service across multiple channels are getting the edge over larger rivals. Review our five ways to improve customer service;

1 - Focus on reducing customer complaints

In any business issues will arise and mistakes will be made. By analysing where and how mistakes are being made and the effect on your customers, you can take action to reduce errors and improve customer satisfaction.

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Topics: Dealer

What makes a good dealer portal for voice and data services?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 09-Jun-2016 13:10:59

When you are looking for a partner for voice and data services, you will almost certainly be given access to a portal, but how do you know whose portal would be right for you? What makes a good dealer portal? Consider the following:

What does it do?

As a dealer you will probably be preparing the quotation, with your supplier billing, supporting and paying you a monthly commission. Does the portal generate professional co-branded proposals that can be emailed to your customer and how easy is it then for them to review and place the order? Most dealers want to see recommended prices but with the option to change them as they deem appropriate. Can your supplier do this? Is it a straightforward margin share with automated commission or do you have to invoice for a percentage each month?

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Topics: Dealer

What makes a good voice and data supplier?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 07-Jun-2016 15:28:49

If you have customers looking to buy voice and data services, you may be asking yourself this very question. To help you shortlist potential suppliers, consider these 4 Ps.


Does the company provide both voice and data services? What internet services are available, at what speeds? What is the coverage like? How many carrier services do they provide, just BT, or all the major service providers? What telephony services do they offer? What hosted voice platform do they operate? Do they also offer SIP trunks, calls and lines?

The key thing to compare here is range of services available. To avoid partnering with multiple suppliers, find one that can offer the widest range of connectivity. When considering voice services look for the platform that is best supported with the widest range of call features.

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Topics: Dealer

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