By Raul Harman
To boost performance, gain a competitive advantage, and improve customer satisfaction, small businesses need to optimize their everyday operations. Luckily, there are many sophisticated tools that will help you automate some of the most arduous tasks, gain better insights into your business performance, and increase your revenue.
Let’s see how choosing the right software solutions can give your business a boost.
Increasing Online Security
More than half of online hacks target small businesses for an obvious reason – SMBs don’t take online security seriously enough. Studies found that 62% of SMBs lack in-house skills to handle data breaches, while most of them spend less than $500 yearly on cybersecurity software. To avoid becoming the next victim of cybercriminals, you should have the following software pieces in your cybersecurity toolbox:
- A VPN – lets you create a secure connection to another network on the internet.
- Penetration tools – perform simulated online attacks to help you identify vulnerabilities in your network.
- Encryption tools – add an extra layer of security to your data. By encrypting them, you ensure that, even if a hacker steals your sensitive information, they will not be able to open it and use it.
- Anti-malware software recognizes, prevents, and deletes malicious files.
- Web content filtering tools limit your employees’ access to content that is not related to work, such as entertainment, pornography, or gambling websites.
Automating Bookkeeping and Invoice Management
Your books show you how your cash moves. If they are not managed and updated professionally, you will not know how well your business performs. Now, if hiring an in-house accountant or an accounting agency is too expensive for you, consider investing in accounting software for SMBs.
For example, QuickBooks and FreshBooks will help you create accounting reports easily, manage your cash flow, and access your data anytime. Another great benefit of accounting tools is automated invoicing. In other words, you will not need to waste hours managing unpaid invoices manually. You will boost customer experiences by sending perfectly optimized and customized invoices online.
Streamlining Manufacturing Processes
When running a manufacturing business, you need to stay on top of your operations. If you are still using baffling Excel spreadsheets to manage manufacturing processes and inventory, it’s time to switch to cloud-based manufacturing software. Manufacturing software lets you centralize your business operations seamlessly, from monitoring your sales from leads to conversions to managing inventory seamlessly. This way, you will be able to understand market demands, optimize your manufacturing operations, prevent overselling or underselling, and make more informed decisions.
As all data are on the cloud, your teams can assess them irrespective of their location. Above all, manufacturing software lets your teams track data from integrates with relevant ecommerce software, accounting software, payment gateways, point-of-sale systems, cloud services, etc.
Improving Team Collaboration
Effective communication is the pillar of workplace productivity, no matter if your employees operate remotely from different locations or they work side-by-side. One of the most effective ways to improve employee collaboration and manage projects efficiently is to use project management software.
With many PM tools like Basecamp, Asana, Liquid Planner, or Trello, you can start, plan, execute, and monitor your projects easier. The major benefit of these tools is that they are designed for small businesses. As such, they offer affordable pricing plans and are easy to use and customize. Using them, project managers will be able to assign tasks to the right people and track projects, productivity, and deadlines from one platform. Above all, they will add the right staff members to the right projects, ensuring they will receive only those notifications that are relevant to them. PM software will also enhance workplace performance, as your staff will be able to communicate in real-time and share files instantly.
Enhancing Customer Satisfaction
Positive and personalized customer experiences increase sales. So, if you still don’t know enough about your customers, it is time to invest in CRM software, such as HubSpot CRM, Zoho CRM, or Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional. Its major goal is to help you nurture strong relationships with leads and existing customers. Here are some of its major benefits:
- It collects customer data, such as the status of their orders, their browsing habits, previous purchases, helping you make informed decisions.
- It increases consistency, as every team member has access to the same customer data.
- It increases customer satisfaction, as you can use customer data to adapt your business to your customers’ needs.
- It provides easy-to-understand dashboards, where you can track your data in real-time, from one place.
- It automates many tasks, increasing the efficiency of your teams.
- It integrates with all tools you use, from billing and accounting to apps for surveying.
- These factors will boost your bottom line. Salesforce says that a CRM tool can increase customer satisfaction by 35%, revenue by 25%, and sales by 30%.
When investing in the right tools, you will automate many manual tasks, increase employee productivity, enhance sales, and meet your customers’ needs. Sure, there is no uniform set of tools you should invest in. You first need to audit and map out your workflow to determine what parts of it could use a helping hand.