By Chris Mullan,
Head of Medium Business,
UK & Ireland, Dell Corporatio

Technology is often credited with opening up a world of potential for entrepreneurs and their growing businesses. Yet, technology often presents challenges and increases competition, and upgrading your IT may not seem like an expense worth making. Entrepreneurs that look at technology not as a threat but as an opportunity to take back control of their business, are able to leap frog competition and increase chances of success. Today’s most successful entrepreneurs are using IT to better reach customers, grow the business faster and provide seamless, secure access to data and programs needed to get the job done.

Medium and small businesses have the potential to transform the global economy. Learning from other businesses is one of the main ways to foster growth. Just over a year ago, Dell launched a global “Take Your Own Path” campaign, which distinguishes entrepreneurs as “heroes,” celebrating them for their achievements and courage to pave their own way ahead despite difficult economic conditions. These Heroes' real-life success stories and business challenges are shared on Dell’s Small and Medium Business Solutions Centre, where users are able to engage in conversations with other small businesses through social media such as Direct2Dell, Twitter and Facebook.

Juliet Davenport, CEO of Good Energy, for example, started her business in 1997. Good Energy is now the only UK electricity company whose fuel mix is 100% renewable - no fossil fuels, no nuclear, no carbon. As burning fossil fuels to make electricity is the biggest single contributor to carbon emissions Good Energy wanted to create one simple step for households to switch to renewable, a move which the company says will cut your carbon footprint by a third. With over 25,000 UK customers, Good Energy’s customers have to be efficiently managed. This makes IT infrastructure planning and server performance one of the single most important success factors for the business.

CEO Timothy Lyons and Fiona Page, Chief Technology Officer of PensionsFirst, developed a risk management platform for the pensions industry in 2007, with the goal of completely redefining how the industry measures, manages and reports on pensions risk. The pensions industry is a 20 trillion dollar sector globally and they brought a new way of thinking to the market at a time when it was needed most. Managing an exponential amount of data, which they produce, collect and store, IT is at the heart of the business. Using virtualisation, servers and security solutions to keep things running, Pensions First is equipped to handle the uncertainty of the financial industry as well as meet its ambitious plans for expansion.

As 2011 approaches, businesses will be gearing up to reassess their operations, review the past years' expenditure, and take all measures necessary to make the next year better than the rest. Good Energy and Pensions First are just two examples of companies who are setting an example of how passion and perseverance coupled with right IT can be a winning combination. Dell continues its support for business trailblazers with it’s first annual Global Take Your Own Path Summit on 9th-10th December. Join the conversation on the webcast at 4:45pm on 9th December: www.visualwebcaster.com

Chris Mullan is the Director and General Manager of Dell’s Medium Business Division for the UK & Ireland. Chris has been with Dell for over ten years in a wide variety of roles. In his current role, he is responsible for ensuring that Dell continues to provide world-class solutions, services and support to medium-sized businesses in the UK & Ireland.