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As a business owner, digital improvements should be a major part of your brand structure to enable your brand to compete favorably in the ever-competitive business environment. This is simply because all businesses are operating in a disruptive market, meaning your team must constantly reevaluate your processes, tools, and overall operations. If you want to survive much less thrive in the current business landscape, incorporating digital tools is non-negotiable.
Even if you work in a trade, technology can make your administrative, marketing, and other areas more efficient while you focus more on your craft. And if you rely on digital platforms to sell your products or services, you must ensure you’re using up-to-date tools and systems to keep your customer base happy and growing.
Many solutions on the market can give your small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) a boost. NettPreneur has listed six of the most critical ones to consider today!
6 Key Digital Improvements For Small & Medium Enterprises
1. Online Accounting
No business can flourish over the long term without effective money management. Keeping up with finances also happens to be one of the most challenging aspects of running a company. Fortunately, you can use online accounting platforms to keep up with your company budget, invoicing, payroll, bills, and more. The right platform will provide a full suite of tools to make money management easier, more accurate, and more efficient.
Look for cloud-based software that will allow you to easily create and deliver electronic invoices to your customers, increasing the chances that you get paid on time. Moreover, using a bookkeeping system that lets you store and arrange receipts can help you optimize your tax deductions while remaining in compliance.
2. Marketing Automation
Automating your marketing practices does not mean you have to transform your entire strategy. What it does is amplify what you’re already doing. It essentially automates menial tasks through the digital channels you’re currently using to get your message out. Not too long ago, most marketing automation software dealt primarily with scheduling emails. Systems today are much more sophisticated and cover a broader range of tasks, such as managing online marketing campaigns through social media, advertising, and email.
Using the right automation tools can significantly strengthen customer relationships, help you scale your campaigns, and boost lead generation. With the time you save, you can focus more of your resources on creative tasks and running your business. And it can help you close more sales! Marketing automation is worth every penny and more if you use it appropriately.
Furthermore, your team could benefit by using digital marketing tools that allow you to create your own content. For instance, you could develop attractive, detailed infographics to post on your website, which can significantly boost user engagement. Check out this free infographic maker to choose from a library of templates that you can customize with your own designs and content.
3. File Sharing Apps
If your team is not currently using the cloud to store and share files, you’re missing out on a significant boon in productivity. Plus, cloud computing is much more convenient and secure than the alternatives.
Using the cloud is easy, and it helps ensure that your leaders and employees are always working on the most up-to-date versions of any document. Your team members can collaborate on spreadsheets, word processing documents, slideshow presentations, and other files in real-time from wherever they are. And you can also rest assured that you won’t lose any valuable information or work should your systems or devices ever crash.
Storing files in the cloud also reduces the number of physical documents you must keep in the workplace. Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive are a few of the most popular platforms.
4. Project Management Tools
If your SME is like many others, you constantly have to manage complex projects that involve complicated timelines, multiple stakeholders, and various moving parts. If you’re relying on paper to juggle those projects, put the pen down and research the many project management platforms on the market!
The right project management software will help you easily track every component of every project. It will ensure your team members have all the information they need for specific tasks, keep communication lines open, and help everyone meet their deadlines without sacrificing work quality. Basecamp, Asana, Trello, and other project management apps can help you track, organize, plan, and collaborate on your projects with maximum productivity.
5. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
Every business wants (and needs) to grow, though growth looks different for each organization. A company can either grow by increasing revenue or reducing costs. And if you achieve both, it can accelerate growth even more.
There are many ways to scale and grow a business. You can focus on acquiring new customers or making your team more productive and efficient. You can determine how to deliver more value to your existing customers or improve your overall visibility to take more control of the company’s direction. Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps teams to accomplish all of these goals.
Look for a CRM system that will let you monitor the entire customer journey, from the initial customer interactions to the purchases. The right tool can help you track and analyze customer behavior across channels and departments, and you’ll know any time a consumer interacts or shows interest in your brand. It’s easy to see how a real-time view of customer engagement can help your team strategize for attracting and retaining customers!
In short, CRM software focuses all functions on customer satisfaction and engagement. In other words, your business will naturally become more customer-centric simply by incorporating these tools into your operations. And there are many cloud-based options to help your team stay connected whenever and wherever they’re working.
6. Cybersecurity Systems
Finally, none of the digital technologies your business implements to foster innovation will do much good if you don’t have stringent cybersecurity measures in place. Not only are cybercriminals using more sophisticated attack methods than ever before, but many attacks are automated. It’s very easy for a criminal to hack into or breach unprotected networks.
Make sure all your employees are trained in common-sense cybersecurity practices and keep your operating systems and workstations up to date. Also, invest in high-quality antivirus software, and avoid malicious websites and phishing emails.
You’ll also want to ensure your website is secure from top to bottom. If customer data is compromised through your site (or through any other platform), it can lead to severe financial and legal consequences. Not to mention, your company’s reputation could suffer greatly.
If you hope for your SME to drive innovation and achieve growth in multiple areas, you must keep up with the modern technologies available to you. There are countless tools at your disposal; the ones to prioritize will depend on your specific organizational needs.
Consider the solutions above as you work your way to digital transformation. And remember to keep your company mission and customer satisfaction at the center of all you do! If you enjoyed this article, you can find many more helpful tips such as How to build a brand and How to write a business plan.