Business Software Solutions for SMEs
It’s redundant now to say that a website is an important tool for any business today. Even if your business is predominately bricks and mortar and has no ecommerce element, a website is a must-have. Websites are a great platform to market your business, make prospective customers aware that you exist, build an audience and most importantly – acquire leads. Furthermore, it’s a way that you can create new opportunities to further monetise your business through ecommerce, affiliate marketing and advertising – both digital and traditional.
Most business owners know these facts and effectively utilise their website to draw in new business and build an engaged digital marketing audience – we’re talking social media, email marketing, Pay-Pay-Click, etc. Even following the boom of new businesses as a result of the pandemic, in 2022 there are reportedly less than 64% of small businesses that have a website. A few years ago, this wouldn’t have seemed such a faux pas but with end users preferring online means to browse, research and shop, not having a website could be considered promotional malpractice. Without even a basic web presence, small businesses are missing out on the opportunity to be found by potential customers, looking for their exact product or service.
How can websites and technologies assist business processes?
For small and medium businesses that do have a website, it’s important to identify the main goal of the site. For some it may be purely informational but for others, the primary goal is draw in new business.
Many SMEs waste a lot of money on time-consuming and inefficient data entry processes that are often tedious and laborious. Tasks like inputting and editing customer details, stock management, keeping track of prospects and leads, sending communications to your customers and following order processes. These are all tasks that can be improved and streamlines with business software solutions, making them automated and saving your business time and money.
Here are just a few of the ways that websites and scalable software solutions can be utilised to give you a more effective and efficient system:
- Contact details entered into your system can be automatically added to your internal CRM, organised by key attributes that suit your business.
- When products are ordered this can trigger an update to your stock lists, shipping details and customer communication.
- A booking made for your services can update your internal calendars and block out time slots for sessions, allowing other customers to view free slots and avoid double booking.
- Placed orders can update your account system automatically, giving you up-to-date and accurate records of customer sales.
- Real-time feedback on the use of your website will provide you with data that lets you learn more about customer behaviours and how to improve your website for conversion.
- Apps that input data and collate it for you can be analysed in real-time and reduce the need for manual export and data gathering.
An example in practice
Below is a small example of how even a micro or small business can increase its profitability by implanting some similar software solutions to their operations:
Julie is a masseuse and has built up a network of customers through friends and family. She has recently paid to have a website made to advertise her services which has increased her volume of client bookings, making her more money.
Up to this point, she has used a system of phone calls and paper calendars to book and organise sessions. Like most small/micro businesses, Julie is the sole employee so is unable to take phone calls during a session – this would frequently lose her potential business.
After assessing that she had a problem, Julie decided to pursue a web-based solution. She implemented a session booking calendar on her site which would update in real-time when clients booked online, removing the need to answer calls, and avoiding double booking. The customer is prompted to input their contact information when booking a session, which is added to Julie’s CRM and mailing list, growing her audience. Upon completing a booking, the customer receives a confirmation email detailing their appointment, as well as any promotional materials that are relevant.
The specifics of this example are fictional, but the methods and benefits are very real. There’s a vast range of online services and software solutions that are designed to help and support businesses in a myriad of ways. These range from free (or very cheap) online resources for small businesses, to large, bespoke software that’s built specifically to fulfil a requirement and remove manual processes.
If you’d like to discuss how implementing these types of systems could benefit your business get in touch with the team today.
Is your business within ecommerce? Read our blog on why your business needed an ecommerce portal here.