In the previous blog, we discussed some of the biggest challenges facing SMBs in the upcoming year. The list included hiring, administrative overhead, and employee training. But there is some good news for SMBs in 2015. Take a look at some positive trends affecting SMBs right now and how to maximize them to your advantage with field-based software solutions.
1. Increasing Workforce
89% of SMB owners in a survey said they have either maintained or increased the size of their workforce in 2014. This is good news for SMBs because a growing number of employees can bring in more revenue and expanded brand recognition. However, it is important to remember that with more employees, more logistical problems will arise. This is especially true for SMBs with teams working in the field. To ensure that this advantage remains positive, explore software solutions that will help better manage new employees.
When more employees come on the scene, paperwork can be more challenging to handle. Field Activity Management software solutions aimed at field-based SMBs allow reps to digitally enter data, like merchandising audits and purchase orders, from their mobile phones. Back-office managers can then retrieve that data from the Cloud and export it. This enables managers to efficiently handle an increasing amount of paperwork while also limiting human error in data re-entry.
2. Increasing Expansion
In the 2014 State of Small Business Report, 58% of SMB owners said they plan to expand locally in the coming year, a 22% increase from 2013. Not only is this good for SMBs, it is also good for small communities. According to a study by Penn State economists, SMBs encourage more jobs and innovation in small areas than do big businesses. While there is both financial and social incentives to locally expand, to truly maximize this SMB advantage owners need to make sure their team is appropriately managed.
When SMBs expand locally, the territories in which field reps work must be redefined. One complication with expansion is overlap. In contrast, a manager may accidentally forget to assign a rep to a location, leaving the retailer waiting around for a meeting. By leveraging Field Activity Management software, managers can always see where reps are in the field in real time, and will be able to stop a territorial mistake before it happens.
3. Increasing Capital
One of the best pieces of news for SMBs in 2015 is the increased availability of capital. According to a Small Business Lending Index, big banks approved 20.8% of small business loans in November. This is part of an upward trend for big bank loan approval rates, which have been on a steady rise all of 2014, with only a small .4% drop in October. This should be music to the ears of SMB owners, many of whom ranked acquiring credit lines as one of their biggest challenges in 2015. However, the availability of increased capital doesn’t mean SMBs can’t cut back on unnecessary costs.
Increased capital will allow SMBs to expand territories, advance marketing, and develop new product. But to ensure that the additional funds go only towards those things, SMBs need to reevaluate their current costs. By utilizing Field Activity Management software, you can cut unnecessary costs and create a leaner organization. For instance, using digital forms and a BYOD policy offer huge cuts in costs.
Taking Advantage of Advantages
Young and growing SMBs need to take all the advantages that come their way, and 2015 is full of them. With increasing workforces, expansion, and capital SMBs are set up to have a fantastic new year of business. To truly maximize these positive trends, owners should leverage Field Activity Management software to save managers time, ease deployment, and cut costs. Take advantage of positive trends during a new year that is embracing the health and growth of SMBs.
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.