Small businesses include everything from a newsstand selling chocolate and magazines on a city street corner to the local clothing store on Main Street. Restaurants, plumbers, hair salons, construction and manufacturing companies, and everything in between can all be classified as “small business”. The SBA classifies a small business as one with fewer than 500 employees, which means that the majority of businesses you deal with on a daily basis meet the definition of a small business.
Most small businesses operate with some form of technology. The local clothing store has a point of sale cash register and a barcode scanner; the hair salon accepts credit cards. How sophisticated the technology, and how it is used, varies considerably among businesses.
There is a spectrum of technology that ranges from zero to little technology use (the corner newsstand, which may use an old-fashioned cash register or change belt to ring up sales) to fairly sophisticated (the manufacturing firm running Sage 100). Most businesses fall somewhere on the spectrum with minimal technology use, such as using office productivity software, word processing software, or spreadsheets to maintain their accounting.
Small business can, and should, benefit from the great technological advances that have revolutionized productivity and profitability for many. If your small business needs a kickstart in the tech department, we’ve got a few best practices you can use right away to improve your use of technology for productivity.
Ask yourself, “What could boost our productivity?
Small stores, service-based businesses, and others may find that point of sale systems, simple CRM, and accounting software can greatly boost productivity and profitability.
- A POS system doesn’t have to be elaborate, but scanning barcodes on items can speed up your checkout process and help you keep better control of your inventory levels.
- Accounting software enables you to pay bills, keep track of invoices, and assess profitable areas of your business with one click.
- ERP systems for manufacturing, distribution, and e-commerce businesses can help you maintain and track inventory, accounting, and finance. Multiple add-on features such as CRM or HRMS can enhance your system over time.
Sales and Marketing Technology
Some small business software can be useful for sales and marketing.
- Adding a credit card processing feature should be your first step if you find that your business rates low on the technology-use scale. It’s simple and cost-effective to add a smartphone credit card processor or an option to your tablet to process cards, and you can use it almost anywhere you can get a phone or internet signal. You’ll attract more customers when you accept credit cards.
- CRM systems enable you to track, measure, and monitor your communications and marketing across multiple channels. You can manage email blasts, newsletters, loyalty programs, and more using your CRM system.
What Should You Add First?
When you first consider upgrading your small business technology, you may feel like a kid in a candy store, unsure of what to buy first. Or, you may feel overwhelmed by the jargon.
Take a step back and evaluate several things first:
- What tech upgrade would make the biggest impact on your business moving forward? If you’re struggling with basic word-processing and accounting, it makes sense to upgrade financial software first and then add on modules such as CRM and HRMS.
- How much do you have to invest in the upgrade? Budgeting for technology upgrades is important. You must factor in the cost of the software as well as potential hardware upgrades if they are needed.
- How will you maintain the system? Once a system is in place, it needs routine maintenance, upgrades, and more. Cloud-based systems, such as Acumatica, may be updated by the cloud partner or provider. Other software, depending on the company, may be serviced by the provider.
ASI Is Your Starting Point
If it is time to upgrade your small business software, contact Accounting Systems Incorporated (ASI). We can help you review your choices and make the best decision for your small business. We focus on helping small to mid-sized companies improve operational efficiencies through the power of software and technology. Software such as Acumatica ERP and Sage 100 can provide the time-saving information that you need to grow your company. For more information, visit our website, or call us at 803-252-6154.