The current demanding and competitive business environment requires small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) to be innovative to stay competitive. From sourcing and production to marketing and customer relationship, businesses must have tech solutions that enhance business operations. Luckily, there are several solution solutions for all business operations.
However, with the hundreds of business software and tools available, choosing something that suits your business needs can be challenging. So, we’ve decided to help you out. Here are some software solutions and tools that can streamline your business operations and improve the efficiency and productivity of SMEs.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
Customers are the core of every business because, without them, there is no business. Therefore, SMEs must prioritize customer relationships and satisfaction. Using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software helps businesses to provide better customer service. It enhances customer data management to improve interactions, enhance customer retention, meet customers’ needs, and send targeted ads.
CRM also helps in managing marketing efforts and sales pipeline including lead and opportunity tracking, sales forecasting, customer segmentation, and marketing automation. Some of the best CRM tools on the market currently include HubSpot CRM, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Salesforce, Pipedrive, Agile CRM, Zoho CRM, and Freshworks.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software
The best and most efficient way to manage all business operations and processes is to have them in a single system. This is what Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software provides. It helps businesses to integrate critical business processes including manufacturing, finance, human resource, customer relationships, supply lines, etc. into one system.
Enterprise Resource Planning software like Microsoft Dynamics GP, SYSPRO, Acumatica, and Oracle Cloud Enterprise, automates and standardizes business processes, reduces manual work, and improves operational efficiency. These, help small and mid-size enterprises to effectively track their daily operations. Firms like Admiral Consulting Group provide Microsoft Dynamics GP Consulting Services and support to help midsize and small enterprises grow.
As a small or mid-size business owner, it is critical to track all your business transactions, including income and expenditures. This puts you on top of your finances and helps you to manage and maintain the financial health of a business. You get to know where you are making gains and losses to stay put.
Using accounting software for these tasks helps you to avoid cumbersome manual processes. You can easily automate and manage tasks including bookkeeping, invoicing, payroll processing, budgeting, tax preparation, etc. Depending on your accounting needs and requirement, you can choose from any of the following accounting tools QuickBooks, Xero, and Zoho Books. Others include Wave, Sage Intacct, FreshBooks, and NetSuite.
Project Management Software
Project managing software can help SMEs to plan, collaborate, and track the progress of business projects in one place. Depending on the software, your project management tool may have features including task management, scheduling, document sharing, team collaboration, and progress monitoring. Some of the best project management tools of 2023 include Airtable, Notion, ClickUp, Teamwork, and Confluence.
Protecting business and customer data from falling into the hands of hackers is a challenge most SMEs face. But as an SME you need to prioritize to prevent important business data from leaking and lawsuits from customers. By installing anti-malware software, tightening your firewall security, and using encryption tools, you can protect your business from cyber-attacks.
You also have to ensure regular security audits. Some of the best cyber-security tools for SMEs include Kaspersky Small Office Security, Norton Small Business, Bitdefender GravityZone, and Sophos Endpoint Protection among others. You should also have cyber security awareness training for your employers, so they can swiftly detect such threats.
Effective communication is very important in every business setting. So, as a small or mid-size business owner, you should have reliable tools for both internal and external communication. From communicating with business partners and employers to receiving complaints from customers, there are several tools for real-time messaging, audio, and video conferencing. Apps like Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp Business, Telegram, etc. can all help SMEs in effective communication over the internet.
Sale and Marketing
The world is gradually moving from the traditional ways of sales and marketing. Gone are the day when businesses had to put up expensive ads on traditional media to push their marketing drive. Today, you can reach millions of people worldwide through digital marketing including using social media.
Social media sites like TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn among others allow SMEs to place targeted ads to reach potential customers. Other digital marketing platforms like email marketing, search engine optimization, affiliate, and content management can help businesses reach customers easily. These ads create leads and generate sales. The good news is that it is inexpensive compared to having TV, newspaper, or radio ad.
You can use Buffer, Sprout Social, SocialPilot, etc. to manage your Social Media platforms, while WordPress, HubSpot, Squarespace, and Canva take care of content creation and management. For email marketing use Mailchimp, ConvertKit, Sendinblue, or Constant Contact, while Google Analytics, SEMrush, Moz, and Ahrefs take care of your search engine optimization.
Before selecting any software solution for your SME, ensure that it can solve the operational challenges you seek to address. That aside, you should consider the size of the business, the budget, and the tool’s ability to handle more tasks in case you scale. Most importantly, the software should be easy to integrate and use.
In choosing a solution, do enough research on available software and compare what they offer. You can also take suggestions from colleague businesses or better still consult a business solution firm.