Which are the biggest technological problems faced by small businesses and how can they be solved?
The goal of every business – small, medium or big – is to sell more and increase its profit. If it isn’t trying to increase its profit, that means something is wrong.Big companies have financial resources and people available for everything – they have employees with a specialized education, experience and training, working in the respective departments and teams. The small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) don’t have all this available. In the small companies the roles of owner, manager, seller, marketing expert are all performed by the same person, and the accounting is often managed by an external company.
SMBs try to optimize their costs by all means possible in order to limit the draining of resources in “wrong” or “unnecessary” directions. But this neglectful or thrifty attitude towards some really important matters, often turns out to be wrong or even fatal.
Here are some things which SMB should pay more attention to, if the goal isn’t just to survive, but to make a profit too.
1. Online presence
In the hi-tech world of today even babies have tablets and we all have smartphones and use “normal” phones more and more rarely. That’s why it’s strange that there are companies without websites. Small companies in this case (we haven’t come across a large company that lacks a corporate website).
Often the small business owners think that the company website is an expensive “luxury” which they can’t afford and won’t be able to provide support for. Well, we have news for these companies! It was expensive and hard to do years ago. Today, a website can be constructed very quickly and cheaply, while the support and administration are easy to do for anyone with a computer and an Internet access.
Of course, we shouldn’t forget the crucial elements here – the optimization of the site, the online marketing, the social media marketing.
Speaking of social media – they are yet another channel, which isn’t used (to its maximum potential) by the small businesses. It’s true that they also require resources – time, money, personnel, but you do know that your customers are right there, don’t you?
2. Technological resources
We will refute another myth. Many small business owners think that they have to pay a lot for any kind of software which could be used in their work. Ditto for the hardware needed to support all necessary software products and their smooth work! Actually they aren’t far off the truth – software products and powerful hardware cost a lot.
But today we are in the era of the cloud computing phenomenon. The cloud solutions for data storage and data processing are cheap, mobile and easy to use. You don’t need specific system support. All you need is a computer, a tablet or even a mobile phone with an internet access to gain access to one of your documents, stored in your online space!
A common feature of the small businesses is that they don’t have at their disposal large marketing budgets which would allow them to compete with the big companies. Their advertisements can’t be expensive and they can’t afford marketing consultants with high salaries.
But what they can concentrate on without having to invest major financial resources are the customers. The customers are the employers of each entrepreneur and of the entrepreneur's employees and that's why they require special attention. They have to be attracted and kept in the right way.
One of the "tricks" which are affordable for a small business is a CRM system – any investment in it is bound to pay off.
4. Finance tracking
You may not know much about finance, you may rely on your accountant and not have much time to "deal with this too", but you have to agree that the financial state of each company is crucial.
If you are a small business owner – spend some time and effort on tracking the finances of your company. Controlling and having knowledge of the incomes and expenses of the company is even more important in your case.
We recommend that you study the different options for accounting and financial software, which are available on the market and offer numerous ways of tracking the cash flows and the stock at any time!
Being a small business owner shouldn't worry you. On the contrary, it should motivate you. Be on the lookout, be creative, be inventive – nowadays there's a wealth of solutions for optimizing your company's processes available on the market. Don't overlook them!