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Technology To Help Your SME Operate Efficiently During The Lock-down

Estimated Read Time: 7 Minutes

jessica lambert , 1 April, 2020

Whether you want to believe it or not, the face of business has changed forever since the advent of technology joined the party and there really is no going back. The digital world has made a huge impact on how businesses operate on a day-to-day business, and the focus has shifted towards engaging with a bigger audience online, rather than merely servicing the comparatively small stream of walk-ins who rely on proximity in order to purchase.

But the great thing about technology is that it is actually making our lives easier, even if it doesn’t always seem like it. The development of business apps and software means that businesses can work far more efficiently and often, all whilst saving money too. Embracing technology could not come at a more pivotal moment than now, when businesses across the country are rushing to implement reliable remote working that is both effective and efficient.

Businesses everywhere are utilising technological advancements to improve their operations during this challenging time – this involves automating mundane tasks that cannot be avoided, even during the pandemic, managing customer engagement when face-to-face contact is no longer permitted and even doing your own books in place of hiring another accountant, should your accountant have fallen ill to Coronavirus recently.

Nucleus Commercial Finance are firm believers in the idea that cash is king, so we are certainly not suggesting that your business should venture out and buy every single app available. It is important to make sure that your technology choices truly add value at this difficult time, and that list of tools will most likely be unique to your business. Some business software platforms can be a little costly, but with the help of a business loan or invoice finance, your business can invest in a few worthwhile options that will no doubt save your firm money and time in the long run and go someway to safeguard its future against challenges similar to the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic…

1. Salesforce

You may have already heard of this top business software, as it is the world’s number one customer relationship management (CRM) platform. This CRM is hugely popular due to the fact each of its applications, including options for sales, service and marketing, are cloud based – meaning they can be accessed anywhere, any time.

Your business can get instant access to live data, meaning it can track and analyse all customer activity to capitalise on business opportunities and leads whenever possible. With money shortages and a fall in demand already wreaking havoc on the revenue businesses make, your business must strive to capture every potential lead where possible.

This all-in-one platform has been a godsend to businesses, as it allows companies to manage their sales, marketing, service and commerce requirements all under one roof. The real advantage is that Salesforce can be customised using the incredible number of API integrations on offer, meaning that all kinds of data can be aggregated within the platform and you can make your CRM bespoke to your business and products.

2. Quickbooks

Quickbooks is the world’s most popular accounting software. It is used by businesses to manage sales and expenses, and with its help, daily business transactions can be closely monitored. There are countless accounting tasks that Quickbooks can take care of, including invoicing customers, generating important tax reports, paying bills and managing your inventory.

They emphasise the fact that they do not expect business owners to be accountants, which is why they have an extremely user friendly and simple interface. Businesses benefit from being able to access everything they need to know regarding their finances, without needing an accounting background to do so. You can also log in, in real-time so it is much easier to make sure nothing goes awry. Being able to manage the finances of your business during COVID-19 is a huge priority and it is important that you know exactly what is coming into the business in the next few months so you can put together an accurate cash flow forecast.

3. MailChimp

There are millions of people and businesses using Mailchimp on a daily basis. In fact, they send around 1 billion emails every single day, meaning they send more email than any other provider on this planet.

This email automation software is a must for businesses who are eager to remain closely connected with their well-earned customer base during the Coronavirus situation. Businesses are able to create and schedule automated emails in advance, so that they are able to focus their efforts elsewhere.

This email marketing software is fantastic at nurturing leads, offers users the opportunity to optimise email campaigns with its A/B testing features and it also allows users to monitor website activity and sales with the help of its advanced analytics feature.

If email marketing is a huge part of your business’s strategy, Mailchimp is a software option that you cannot really afford to miss out on and the best thing is that up to a certain number of contacts, it is free.

4. Fuze

Your business may already be using a different communication platform, such as Skype, but it is always best to shop around in case something better comes along – and that may well come in the form of the cloud based, unified communication platform Fuze.

Fuze was created to help empower all business communications. Day to day examples, such as audio and web conferencing, webinars, group chat and content sharing, are all made easier with this communications software as they are accessible on any device, anywhere, anytime. With the recent focus in job satisfaction, health and welfare leading to the advent of flexi-time and a rise in remote working and non-office based jobs, this software is just one way to ensure your team is accessible and connected, wherever they are in the world. This is one of the many perks of any cloud-based technology and as a business, you should be embracing this technological advancement wherever possible.

5. Trello

Trello is one of the best project management apps available, and if your SME is struggling with organisation whilst being away from the office, this business app can ensure that you and your staff stay on top of everything.

As a business owner, it is often difficult to remain in the loop at all times. You learn during the early days of your business operation that you have to delegate roles and responsibilities to others but ensuring that work is carried out effectively and in a timely manner is definitely something that many businesses struggle with.

With Trello, users get an overview of what is being worked on and by whom. You can assign tasks, upload file attachments, create checklists and due dates, all with an effortless click of a button. Managing your business and employees will have never been easier, which is definitely essential for SMEs with limited resources right now.

6. Todoist

Sometimes it feels like you have so much to do and not enough time to do it in. The pile of to-do’s just builds and builds and eventually, workers will crumble underneath all the stress and pressure of it all.

The reality is that a lot of tasks are not actually imminent, so it is important to establish a hierarchical order in relation to workload. Todoist is the perfect app for businesses who have employees doing countless things at once. It allows users to log specific projects, set a deadline, assign it to a co-worker if needed, then forget about it until the task needs to be completed.

Users are able to easily see what tasks they have completed recently, what is yet to be done and how productive they are being – something all business owners would love to see.

Ensuring that your business is running efficiently is of the upmost importance and failing to seek assistance where possible is a mistake that many businesses make, often with fatal consequences. Success is often credited to recognising opportunities at the right time, so help your business thrive by utilising any worthwhile opportunities when they present themselves – whether they come in the form of alternative funding that will help you reach your growth plans, or smart business apps that make the daily operations in your company a lot more effective whilst the country is in lock-down.

7. Zoom

You may have heard of this super popular videoconferencing app already thanks to the huge boom in use amidst the outbreak. Your business can use this software to conduct video calls with up to 100 people, meaning it is great for those up and coming board meetings, staff appraisals and business continuity discussions. The teleconferencing software is so in demand that it is currently used for cabinet meetings by the UK government.

For more SME advice regarding the Coronavirus situation, take a look at the additional resources on our Coronavirus Hub.


BY JESSICA LAMBERT

1 April, 2020

7 MIN

READ

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