Small business owners and employees alike are known for wearing multiple hats. From accounting to sales, customer service to supply chain management, there’s no end to the demands on a small business team’s finite time and energy.
The good news is that you can use software to automate and simplify an increasing number of business activities. Removing these time-consuming tasks — both the mundane as well as the more complex items — can be a game-changer.
If you’re managing a small business, here are a few areas where relying on software can help you succeed while running a lean, mean employee team.
Accounting is one of the most difficult parts of a small business. From timesheets to payroll to taxes, dealing with the financial aspects of running a business can feel exhausting and overwhelming.
The worst part is, you aren’t even tending to your actual business activities while you’re dealing with these responsibilities. They’re in addition to the products and services that are why your company exists in the first place.
In the past, software solutions as nuanced as payroll were only available to larger companies. However, as technology has evolved, powerful, effective, and affordable payroll solutions for small businesses have been developed.
Quality platforms can automate dreaded tasks like payroll, employee benefits, workers’ comp, and filing taxes. This can take both the headache and the time constraints out of dealing with your company’s accounting duties.
If you’re going to operate with a small team, it’s important that you keep your staff closely connected at all times. Sure, you can rely on emails and text messages, but you can also use several other communication software options to keep your operation running smoothly, such as:
- Communication software: From video chats to messaging apps, there are many ways to keep your team in touch.
- Document sharing: There are many platforms that can help you share business documents, data, and other content in a private space that is accessible to all of your employees.
- Collaboration: From workflow platforms to help you stay organized to online whiteboards for brainstorming, there are endless iterations of powerful collaboration software.
If you’re going to keep your staff light, you want them connected and readily available at all times.
Customer service is a critical part of the customer journey. It ensures that past patrons remain satisfied, loyal customers. The retention effort can result in both repeat sales and positive word-of-mouth marketing.
However, customer service is also an overwhelming proposition for a small business with limited manpower. Tasking an employee to watch over phones, emails, and other communication channels at all times of the day and night is expensive and impractical.
If you’re feeling caught between the important value of good customer service and the challenge of providing it properly, there are software options that can help.
For instance, chatbots are a great way to manage your customer service activity. There is a slew of chatbot software available that can be tailored to small business specifications.
These can be set up on your website to offer a front line of customer service to curious customers. They can answer common questions, provide rudimentary information, and make sure a customer has a genuine problem before passing them along to a human representative.
Another good customer service software solution is customer relationship management (CRM) software. This is particularly helpful for B2B enterprises. If you’re handling a smaller number of elite business accounts, CRM software can help you keep all of your client information organized and available in the same place.
Marketing isn’t just something that you can use software for on an internal level. The vast quantity of marketing activity itself has gone online, as well.
As digital marketing has taken off, it’s given birth to a myriad of different marketing software solutions, most of which are easy for small businesses to utilize. A few examples of good marketing software solutions for small businesses include:
- Using a social media management platform to automate the scheduling and posting of social media content.
- Finding a good email marketing platform to help you create, send, and track your customer-facing email activity.
- Utilizing an on-page optimization tool to perfect your company’s SEO (search engine optimization) whenever you create online content.
These are just a few examples of the countless ways that software can enhance marketing. Even as a small business with limited resources, you can often gain access to affordable (or even free) marketing software that can streamline both your strategic and creative efforts.
Digital marketing is a good way to build brand recognition, find new customers, and generate traffic and leads. However, all of your digital marketing efforts can be for naught if you don’t have a website.
A website serves as your online “hub.” It’s where you can direct marketing traffic, house your long-term online content, provide contact information, and in many cases, even convert visitors into paying customers.
Ever since the coronavirus pandemic began, small businesses across the globe have felt the pressure of building a website. It doesn’t matter the industry, product, or service, if you have a business, you need an online presence.
The problem is, actually building and maintaining a website can feel overwhelming. If you do it yourself, it requires a lot of time and a steep learning curve. If you hire it out, it can cost an arm and a leg.
Once again, software can come to the rescue. There are many affordable website builders that offer intuitive tools and trendy templates. You can use these to build a website with little knowledge and minimal effort. This allows you to rest in the knowledge that your site will attract the eye of consumers. It also provides peace of mind that your site is as secure as possible as far as cybersecurity is concerned.
Running a small business is a lot of work. The ability to use software to take the pressure off of your staff has become a necessity.
From payroll to marketing and everything in between, use the suggestions above to ease the burden and help your operation run as efficiently and productively as possible.