Flexible Workplace Solutions are Paramount to Future of Small Business

Flexible Workplace Solutions are Paramount to Future of Small Business
September 29 09:35 2017 Print This Article

The internet is the channel that connects brands with their consumers. Having an IT solution provider that you can count on is an absolute must-have for every business. I recently spoke with Bashir Muhammad, the principle of Net-Telligence Group, about how he transformed his company from a side-gig to a full-service IT provider, how new technology is shifting the landscape for small businesses as well as his secret to lowering operations costs.

Hali: Hello Bashir, thank you for taking the time to share your small business expertise with us. Can you tell us about your company and how it was founded?

Bashir: Net-Telligence Group provides IT management services for a number of small businesses, clinics, schools and nonprofit organizations in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. We actually started the company as a side gig in the late 90s to make a little extra money and to challenge ourselves since we were all working in IT already. We quickly gained more clients than we could manage on the side of our full time jobs, so we jumped full time into the business, and now it’s been 17 years.
Hali: Well, congratulations on transforming your business from a hobby into a dream job. I have to ask, the IT industry is notorious for clients who many times run into an emergency and dial your number in a panic so what type of training do you give your employees, aside from the technical aspects, on how to reassure the customer during a crisis situation?

Bashir: That’s a great point, Hali, clients can get very panicked and frustrated when their technology isn’t working correctly. I like to remind all of our contractors and our employees that the customer signs your paychecks, so, when you’re dealing with them you want to calm yourself down so you can calm them down and help them walk through their frustration or whatever issue they’re having that is technology related. This line of work does definitely require a lot of patience and customer service.

Hali: Well we certainly all run into a lot of our own technological difficulties on a daily basis but, Bashir, can you give an example of a time when you were able to demonstrate your customer service skills to help control your client’s’ emotions and resolve the issue?

Bashir: I don’t know if you’ve heard of this ransomware virus that’s going around the world over — it’s pretty insidious now — and it’s gotten a lot of people on edge. We’ve actually had a couple of our customers who have gotten hit with the ransomware and so they can be really panicked. For us we focus in on making sure that our clients are backed up and all their data is protected so that, in the event that something does happen like the ransomware attack, we’re able to quickly restore their files so that they don’t have to pay some exorbitant amount of money or negotiate with some cyber terrorist or anything like that. So, for us, managing stress is just a matter of being prepared and having everything backed up.

Hali: Speaking of backing everything up, it seems like cloud-based technology is really shifting the way people do business. As an IT services company how has that shift to the cloud affected the way you conduct business?

Bashir: Well Hali, over the course of our business, like I said we’ve been in business for 17 years, we’ve witnessed a lot of change, but the biggest difference is how cloud storage has altered our Real Estate needs. Our needs change from year-to-year because some years we have more clients and more projects than we did and there are other years where we have to hire more contractors, so that would necessitate a need for more space. However, as technology has changed over the last few years, more of our clients are transitioning their systems over to the cloud and we have transitioned our back office to the cloud and so the need to have physical space to host and store equipment has really diminished and we support most of our clients remotely. There really isn’t a need for us to have a lot of desks or cubicles in house because most of our work is done in the field and we’re moving around a lot — we’re mobile, we’re flexible — and so there isn’t really a need to have a huge office which is why we moved to the flexible workspace solution at Regus. Their model goes hand-in-hand with our business needs.

Hali: Wow, so would you say moving your physical office needs to Regus has been integral to the growth and success of Net-Telligence Group?

Bashir: Absolutely! With Regus I’m able to spend less time on managing operations stuff and more time doing what I love, which is providing technology solutions for my clients. When we had our office in other locations in Chicago I spent a lot of time dealing with various vendors for phone, power, cleaning crews, the landlord and all the vendors that you could imagine. Now that’s all taken care of by Regus which saves me time and it decreases operations costs for my business. Although we have a smaller amount of space than we did before, we have a lot less cost and we also have better location and way better amenities. The Regus facilities are state of the art and give a very professional appearance they look like something a Fortune 500 company would have. So, for us, being a small business, we would not be able to afford all of these amenities but with Regus we can. Regus is actually the world’s largest provider of flexible workspace solutions and their network includes almost 3000 business centers, spanning almost 900 cities across 120 countries. As technology improves and work becomes more remote in every industry flexible workplace solutions are the future of small business.