Over 90% of today’s businesses are small to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs). Unfortunately, though, most of those SMEs struggle to get by in competitive markets. Only the most efficient, effective SMEs survive for long enough to gain a foothold and begin to grow.
While larger companies undeniably have access to a greater wealth of resources than SMEs, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing business owners can do to compete. Leveraging the power of technology to streamline work operation processes is one of the first things that struggling businesses should do. Read on to find out how to get started.
Understanding the Technological Tools Available
For SMEs, the adoption of new business technologies can make the difference between success and failure. However, there are many types of software solutions available, and each of them targets a different set of business needs.
The most comprehensive solution is known as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Business owners can learn about SAP Business One to find out about one ERP solution that’s perfect for SMEs. However, for those on a strict budget, approaching each business need separately can be a more cost-effective approach. Common technological tools for business management include:
Customer relationship management (CRM) software
HR and payroll tools
Accounting and finance software
Project management systems
Collaboration and file-sharing tools
Each of these systems helps to streamline a business’s operations in different ways. To complicate matters further, there are many software options that fit into each category, giving business owners yet more decisions to make.
Defining Needs and Goals
Streamlining a company’s workflow requires first identifying those areas that are most in need of improvement. Experts recommend not just performing an internal audit but also leveraging the power of data analysis to figure out where an SME’s investment will make the most difference.
Data-driven decision-making is always more effective and efficient than making crucial choices about the company’s future based on emotions or anecdotal evidence. Thankfully, there are plenty of affordable data analysis tools and systems available to facilitate this step.
Finding Ways to Automate
Automation is an important aspect of workflow optimization for businesses of all sizes. For SMEs, it’s even more essential. When a company has only a handful of employees in each department, finding ways to reduce the level of busy work assigned to each of them can make a large difference in terms of productivity. Automating repetitive tasks also comes with the benefit of removing the possibility of human error, which can further improve not just productivity but also a company’s relationship with its customers or clients.
Knowing When to Outsource
SMEs often can’t afford to hire in-house staff to handle specialized operations. In many cases, implementing new software solutions makes it possible to delegate what would otherwise be highly specialized tasks to current employees, but that’s not always great for streamlining business operations. It’s usually more efficient to have all of a company’s employees focus on their areas of expertise and outsource highly specialized tasks to a third-party provider.
It’s Worth the Investment
Business owners wondering if they really have it in the budget to invest in new software solutions should know that streamlining work operation processes will almost always provide an excellent return on investment (ROI). When in doubt about which tools or systems will be the most useful, reach out to an expert in the field of enterprise-level software solutions for help.