Starting a small business is an empowering notion: Striking out on your own, taking control of your future, pursuing a passion. But while the rewards can be fantastic, running a business isn’t easy. From accounting and marketing to IT and human resources, SMB owners have to wear numerous hats – many of which don’t come naturally.
Today, small business owners must be competent in every single aspect of running a business if they are to thrive. It’s no longer possible to succeed by only mastering your chosen craft. As a result, they are forced to commit precious amounts of time on managing non-revenue-generating tasks.
This poses a challenge in itself, with the time and cost required to make everything work hurting efficiency and, ultimately, impeding growth. For small businesses looking to be successful, digital technology that had long been inaccessible and unaffordable, can now help them reap substantial rewards.
For some years, technology has been catalysing widespread changes in consumer behaviour and the way businesses interact with their customers. In the digitally-driven economy, consumers now expect to be able to engage with their favourite brands and businesses through online channels.
The dividends that come from using tools such as online marketing and e-commerce platforms are well known. They allow small businesses to access new markets and target new customers at an affordable cost. In addition, traditional SMBs can digitise their operations and benefit from near-endless solutions that can help them personalise every interaction and serve customers in an efficient way.
Technology can help them automate and improve the way stock and invoices are managed, identify and target customers, capitalise on cross-selling opportunities and monitor periodic sales and best-selling products. It also allows them to forecast sales trends, track metrics that matter, schedule staffing effectively and make informed decisions driven by data.
However, despite the plethora of potential gains, the majority of small businesses aren’t taking full advantage of the digital tools that can help ease their processes. Why, therefore, are so few realising their digital potential?
One might expect to find a broad range of barriers that are causing this: Inadequate broadband, lack of technical skills or huge financial barriers to investing in technology, for example. However, the issues are actually much simpler. Many small businesses are simply unaware of the benefits of digital tools – most notably how accessible, user-friendly and affordable they have become.
Commonwealth Bank research found that almost half (48 per cent) of small business owners are reluctant to adopt new digital technology due to a lack of understanding of how it works and its potential benefits. But while there are barriers facing the small businesses that have not yet embraced their digital potential, they are not insurmountable:
Research and Increase awareness of digital opportunities for the business:
Small businesses, in any industry, must be made aware that technology can open up countless new opportunities.
Work with the right partner to help make the most of technology
For those small businesses who want to embrace their potential, comprehensive suites of fully integrated apps – like Zoho One – can help them to run every aspect of their entire business. No longer is technology the sole domain of big companies with deep pockets.
Many businesses depend on multiple apps working together to operate efficiently. But getting apps to work together is often challenging, expensive, and frustrating. If small businesses simplify their software integration, they can boost productivity while simultaneously reducing cost and risk. Now any business, from an independent retailer in Perth to a marketing consultancy in Sydney, can benefit from multiple apps, working seamlessly together.
Technology may have once been an expensive and complicated challenge for small business, but now it allows them to wear every hat – even the ones that didn’t necessarily fit comfortably previously. Today they can access the same power of big businesses, but without the price tag and complexity of the past. If they can operate in a nurturing environment that gives them the support and technology they need to succeed, small businesses become anything but small. For them, technology isn’t just a suite of applications, it’s the peace of mind that allows you to focus on running a healthy, growing and empowering business. Isn’t that what inspired you to strike out in the first place?