Britpop legend and cheese maker Alex James teams up with O2 Business to call on small businesses to make better use of technology
O2 Business is today launching a significant new offering of bespoke products and free expertise from O2 Gurus for small business owners, under a £20m investment to help British business go digital. To mark the launch, O2 has shown one of the country’s best known small businesses– the cheese business of Blur bassist Alex James – ways to help take the hassle out of technology.
The launch follows new research from O2 Business which reveals that while over two thirds (68 percent) of small business owners appreciate ‘techpertise’ can make their business more efficient and successful, the majority feel they lack the time, money and understanding to make the most of technology. With 60 percent stating that tech solutions are often too expensive and present a barrier to business growth, more than half (52 percent) admitted to searching online for help.
To show how free help is at your fingertips, O2 Business sent an O2 Guru to Alex James’ farm to help him and his team work smarter from both the office and the top of a cherry picker…
“My parents thought I was mad to join a band and Blur thought I was mad to start a cheese business. If you have a passion – go for it. Unfortunately, that passion can mean, like me, you’re not that good with spreadsheets or mastering remote working. My one greatest piece of advice is – don’t be afraid to ask for help,” said Alex James.
Like many SoHo (Small Office, Home Office) business owners, Alex James faces day-to-day challenges in keeping a small business running. Working with a small team who are based across the country, including his Oxfordshire farm, Alex has found keeping everyone continuously updated problematic. The O2 Guru helped him solve the issue with one of its newly launched products, Office 365, which allows employees to create and edit documents from any device, even when they are away from the office. As a result, Alex is now able to keep an eye on the balance sheet whether he’s at his farm or on a tour bus on the other side of the world.
Alex said: “Cheese making is a really traditional business, but I know that technology should have its place in all businesses nowadays, including my own. One of the problems is that new business owners like myself are often confused about what’s available and the difference it will make, but tech shouldn’t be ignored. I would encourage any business owner to seek advice, trust in the tech and see the positive impact on their business.”
Recognising that the availability of technology is only half the issue when it comes to small businesses benefitting from the digital world, O2 Business has introduced specifically-trained over 200 O2 Gurus and advisors to provide free, impartial tech advice. They are on hand from today in O2 stores across the country, online through web chat and on the phone.
O2’s £20m investment over two years is the culmination of the global development of the digital platform – which allows customers to choose pick and mix the devices, airtime plans and apps they want, all on one bill – as well as the recruitment and training of O2 Gurus and a marketing campaign to promote the launch.
Ben Dowd, O2’s Business Director added: “At O2 we know that no two small businesses are the same, and the technology which will help each business fulfil their full potential varies widely. We want to treat each small business as an individual, which is why we offer a ‘Pick and Mix’ approach to our entire new range of products and services.
“We want to help more small businesses to grow and thrive in an increasingly digital Britain, and we believe a key step is to take the hassle out of technology. We see first-hand how the right tech can help any company work smarter, faster and more efficiently, and we are proud to be making such a significant investment in the cause.”
O2’s offering is unique in that it allows small business customers to pick and choose from a range of products and services, to create a bespoke package that is most beneficial for them. Launching within the range is:
- Box – an app allowing small businesses to access their content on any device and from any location
- McAfee Multi Access – helping protect small businesses against a range of threats such as malware, data loss, identity theft and other fraudulent activity across multiple devices
- Microsoft Office 365 – giving small businesses access to the familiar Office desktop apps on any device, all based in the cloud
- Just Call Me – a conference calling product, which turns a mobile number into an audio conference bridge (coming soon)
- TuGo for Business – allowing for wifi calls over smartphones, tablets and desktops (coming soon)