The digital technology that’s making start-ups smarter

Four reasons why smart meters are a must-have digital device for every small business

Imagine start-up life without digital technology; without your smartphone always within reach.

Innovation in digital tech has enabled anytime, anyplace, anywhere access to essential documents, as well as the use of shared calendars, and collaborative sales apps that let you monitor prospects and leads in real time.

To be able to work on the move – while working together – means start-ups are more agile and efficient than ever before, able to save time, money and hassle.

In short, digital technology is making our businesses smarter.

Cloud computing underpins much of this, allowing us to store and access work remotely. The business model is based on the simple principle that you pay for what you use. Need more storage space? Pay more. Need less? Pay less. No estimates, no lock in. This is the digital economy in action.

Now let’s imagine that we could apply that kind of thinking to one of the biggest outgoings any small business faces: energy. Today our bills are estimated, our gas and electricity meters need to be read manually and our understanding of likely costs is limited. What’s required is the same flexibility and certainty that the Cloud has brought to our businesses.

In fact, change is already here. Smart meters are replacing traditional gas and electricity meters across England, Scotland and Wales and there are at least four reasons why this digital technology will be as welcome as those you already rely on:

1. Greater visibility

A smart meter can give you near real-time information on how much energy you’re using, and how much you’re spending. It means bills are also accurate rather than estimated.

2. Greater control

According to the Carbon Trust, businesses waste 20% of the energy they buy. Knowing what you use and when means you can start to reduce waste and save money.

Heating left on overnight in an empty office? A timer-based thermostat incorrectly programmed? A fridge with a faulty door cooling the office rather than the food inside it?

Your smart meter data enables you to see when you’re racking up unnecessary costs.

3. Greater certainty

One of the bugbears all start-ups share is cashflow. Managing it is a burden and lack of confidence in the bills you pay doesn’t help.

Underpay because of a misleading estimate and it means a nasty shock is coming. Overpay and your business is deprived of valuable capital.

With a smart meter, you can rely on your energy bills being accurate, helping to better manage cash flow.

4. Greater opportunity

Businesses could soon be able to take advantage of potential new services.

Think, for example, of the provider that could switch energy supplier three or four times a day on your behalf to ensure you always pay the most competitive price. That really is the power of digital technology in action.

Many small businesses (with fewer than 10 employees) are eligible for an upgrade to a smart meter.

Visit smartenergyGB.org/smallbusinesses for more information about smart meters, and check with your energy supplier to find out what they are offering.

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