Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) now participate in a highly competitive landscape. Large enterprises have all the resources to dominate their competition. Because of this, SMB leaders must find crafty ways to level the playing field. Technology is one such force multiplier.
If SMBs can effectively and efficiently leverage software to their advantage, it’s possible for them to find success in their respective segments. SAP recently examined the differences between companies that adopt technology and those that don’t and found that 80 percent of digital leaders report a significant lift in profits post-transformation, compared to just 53 percent of non-leaders. Considering profitability is key to any small business’s sustainability, you have all the more reason to integrate digital tools and solutions into your processes.
Unfortunately, some SMB owners lack the technical knowledge to build their own tech stacks. Others are simply afraid of making the proper investments in digital adoption. As such, the emergence of SMB-focused platforms and tools should come as a welcome development for these organizations. These solutions are designed to address the needs of smaller organizations. They’re built to be easy-to-use and are affordable.
If you manage one such company, here’s a list of digital tools that you may consider adopting to give your business processes a big boost this coming year.
1. Cybersecurity with Reason
Cyberattacks and data breaches aren’t just a problem for huge enterprises and organizations anymore. Hackers are now increasingly targeting small businesses with threats like malware, ransomware, and spyware, so you must shore up your defenses.
Reason offers an endpoint protection solution designed for SMBs. Reason has a powerful detection engine that can detect and eliminate viruses and malware. It can also prevent unauthorized access to a computer’s webcam or microphone. In addition, Reason protects computers against ransomware by blocking rogue encryption attempts from locking user files. Plus, it offers browser plugins that help users identify which webpage and file download links are safe to click on. All these features help prevent malware from spreading and inflicting harm on your operations.
Reason has a free version that includes its antivirus with real-time protection. Its premium version that includes all protection features typically retails for $60 a year.
2. Lead Management with vCita
Generating leads can be very difficult, especially for small businesses that have yet to build a strong reputation and a wide customer base. Attracting prospective customers is not enough. You must keep them engaged unless you want them to start looking for other options.
vCita offers a comprehensive toolkit that allows you to generate leads, close deals and work on strengthening relationships with customers. The platform enables you to create email and SMS campaigns to engage prospects and customers. It can also generate landing pages that can help you book appointments with potential customers. You can also add a floating widget on your site to help you effectively capture leads and schedule meetings. The platform will automatically remind you, and your clients, of upcoming meetings and notify you when a prospect gets in touch with your business so that you won’t miss out on key customer interactions.
vCita Business starts at $45 per month.
3. Finance and Bookkeeping with Bkper
SMBs must always be on top of their cash flow. You always need clear and accurate financial statements – otherwise you could be obscuring poor performance, or worse, fraud and theft by your employees. Your bookkeeping entries must be updated regularly and accurately so that you can monitor how your business actually doing. Bookkeeping software is essential for you to accomplish this.
Bkper is one such solution that allows you to manage your finances, monitor accounts, track profits, expenditures, and debts, and generate financial reports in one centralized platform. This way, you can readily check the financial health of your venture. It can also integrate with different apps. For instance, it can readily record invoices generated by third-party tools so that you instantly know what needs to be collected or paid.
Bkper Business is available for $27 per month, billed annually.
4. Human Resources with GoCo
Good help can be hard to find. Skilled and experienced workers often command high salaries, which many SMBs can’t afford. One way you can get around this is by developing talent of your own. To do this, you must be able to hire good candidates, and onboard and train them effectively.
GoCo’s platform can streamline these processes. It offers a fully customizable onboarding feature that allows you to automate and lay out the schedule for the first few days of new employees. Its feedback tools also ensure continuous growth by allowing you to monitor team performance and address any concerns. GoCo also provides comprehensive reports that provide insights to help you implement strategies and programs to increase productivity.
GoCo’s basic plan is available for free for companies with up to 20 employees. Its premium plan costs $4 per employee per month plus an $80 base fee per month.
5. Customer Support with Freshdesk
Keeping customers happy is key to sustaining a business. Customers want to feel that their opinions matter and that their concerns are heard. They also want their questions to be answered instantly. This can be quite difficult for SMBs that may not even have dedicated support and success agents.
Freshdesk is a customer service platform that allows you to quickly address people’s concerns through channels such as live chat, support content hubs, social media or a fully functional call center. The platform can also help your team generate reply templates to more efficiently respond to common inquiries. Agents can be assigned to specific customers or issues depending on their skills or expertise to improve response time and the satisfactory resolution of their concerns.
Freshdesk starts at $15 per agent per month.
6. Legal and Contracts with ContractZen
Considering the expense and damage that lawsuits can cause you, it’s best to always have easy access to contracts between your business and everyone you deal with, including suppliers, creditors, and even customers.
Contract management software such as ContractZen allows you to easily manage and store contracts and other important files using an intuitive interface. You can add meta tags and perform searches of document content to your contracts to find them easily. This way, you’d be readily able to pull up necessary information should you need it to stay on top of due dates, compliance requirements, or deal with a problematic engagement. The secure platform also allows stakeholders to e-sign documents, set meetings, share files and due date reminders.
Contract Zen starts at $9.50 per user per month, billed annually.
7. Project Management with Trello
Staying on top of multiple projects can be a challenge, especially for SMBs that typically have employees with overlapping job functions, one-man teams, and remote workers.
Project management platform Trello can help you easily manage multiple projects. It provides you with the ability to create boards for each project. In each board you can create lists pertaining to the various phases of the project and use cards to identify each task that needs to be done. You can then assign members, add important details and checklists, and set due dates to each card. Team members can also comment, upload files, and get notified about recent project updates on the cards.
Trello has three price tiers: Free, Business Class ($10 per user per month), and Enterprise (starts at $21 per user per month)
Your organization may be feeling pressure to compete against large corporations in order to survive. Fortunately, there are now plenty of innovative solutions that can help you improve your effectiveness and efficiency by streamlining and automating your various processes. With the proper integration and use, these digital tools can help you become capable of serving the needs of your customers.
Businesses that can consistently provide value to their customers are the ones most likely to succeed.