In the past 5-10 years, the rates of software adoption in small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) have simply trickled down from big businesses. However, SMBs that fail to adopt new software solutions in 2015 will fall behind their competition.
While many SMB managers know this to be true, there is still hesitation to integrate new software into established operations. Managers worry about employee resistance, operational disruption, and investment failure. For SMBs to remain competitive, innovation is key. To ensure that you are investing intelligently, follow these three steps:
1. Identify Limitations :
The search for an appropriate software solution needs to begin with identifying limitations. Question what your business can improve on and what solutions a new tool could offer to address those issues. It is important to question the status quo to remain competitive. For example, a common issue holding SMBs back is administrative overhead work. Only 37% of SMB managers in a recent survey said they spend their time efficiently. This can be caused by a number of issues including poor territory management, employee disengagement, and/or the use of paper forms. To help create a clearer picture of the ideal software tool, it is important to first understand common faults like these and their effect on the business’ success. That way, SMB managers can choose a solution that addresses their core limitations.
2. Identify Operations to Upgrade:
Once managers have spotted the troublesome areas of their business, it is also important to focus on what current operations they would like to be more efficient. For example, a manager may want employees to communicate field notes about clients which they share with other employees. While this is a positive exercise, it can be optimized with a software solution. Instead of having to track down the last rep who had the client in question (and his notes), reps can save client notes on the Cloud. This allow reps to instantly pull up notes from a software’s client database in real time from any location. It is important to remember that while a software tool can solve problems, the ideal tool will also be used to optimize healthy, existing operations.
3. Calculate Your Savings:
One of the biggest worries SMB managers have with software adoption is their return on investment. They want to be innovative, but not without a level of certainty. Luckily, there a number of software tool providers that offer an ROI (return-on-investment) calculator. Managers are able to put in information such as time of client visits and number of employees, and tangibly see the effect the software would have on client growth, gross margin, and even show a payback period. By systematically understanding business limitations, identifying operations to boost, and intelligently calculating a ROI, SMBs will be able to confidently lead in a new era of software innovation.
Erin P. Friar
Erin Friar is a Content Marketing Journalist Intern at Repsly, Inc. and is completing a Journalism degree at Suffolk University. She is a master of grammar and is passionate about creating fresh content to help foster efficiency and overall success in small businesses.