Dealing with the day-to-day operational concerns of running a small company requires discipline, savvy and the right tech tools.
Overlooking even just one area of the business can create major issues that can affect a venture’s survivability. In the UK, around 80pc of businesses shut down in their first year.
While such statistics can be discouraging, the challenges that small to medium-sized businesses face have become more manageable thanks to technology. Digital solutions are now widely available, and they’re specifically designed to address the pain points that most small businesses experience.
Here are five common problems small businesses face and the tools that can help companies solve them.
Cyberattacks – Reason
SMBs are now the primary target of cyberattacks. Over half (58pc) of malware attack victims today are small businesses. Despite this, small businesses are still ill-equipped to defend themselves from cyberthreats.
Security solutions provider Reason Cybersecurity has released Reason for Business, an anti-malware solution for small businesses. Reason offers advanced antivirus and privacy-focused capabilities such as real-time protection, threat removal, ransomware protection and webcam and microphone protection.
Reason for Business is currently available for small businesses through affordable subscription plans. The comprehensive protection suite can help companies combat modern malware threats.
Cash flow and overspending – Kashoo
Many small businesses struggle with managing their finances. Tracking bills and expenses and managing unpaid invoices can be very challenging, especially for those with limited human and financial resources.
Accounting tools such as Kashoo can help small businesses monitor their profit, track their bills and manage their expenses. Kashoo has an easy-to-use dashboard that can record income and expenses, show the status of bills, taxes and invoices. All the documents created through Kashoo can be readily exported to Microsoft Excel as well. Kashoo can generate invoices and send them to clients via email and monitor unpaid invoices, helping businesses stay on top of collections.
Using a capable accounting tool can help SMBs manage their finances and avoid overlooking crucial obligations, which if not met, can cause disruption. Kashoo is available in affordable monthly or yearly subscription packages that make it accessible to small businesses.
Poor leads – Growbots
Entrepreneurs also face the challenge of growing their businesses. Building a customer base when you’re starting out is tough. Fortunately, there are tools to help with lead generation – better leads translate to better sales. Unfortunately, generating quality leads can be especially difficult for SMBs as it demands marketing strategies, time and manpower. Identifying potential clients needs a thorough study of one’s target audience and nurturing them takes plenty of effort.
Outbound sales platform Growbots can automate lead generation and even manage email marketing campaigns to help SMBs reach out to customers. Marketers only have to simply create profiles, set their target audience by using Growbots’ extensive targeting criteria, schedule their campaign, and let the platform do the rest.
Personalised emails can also be instantly generated by filling in a few custom fields. Essential features such as automatic follow-up emails and positive response detection can also help filter emails and reach audiences faster. Marketers can also conduct tests to improve their campaigns and get easy access to reports to see which campaigns are performing well. Such features drastically reduce the resources companies need in their marketing campaigns. Growbots offers custom pricing depending on the business’ size and needs.
Bad hires – BambooHR
A bad hire can be very expensive for a business. Aside from the employee’s compensation, companies also have to pay for lost productivity and for the replacement hiring process. The average cost of a bad hire is reportedly about £11,700.
Many organisations now use HR software to choose the best prospect from a pool of qualified candidates. BambooHR can help companies in their hiring and onboarding processes. It has applicant tracking software which can organise applicant information and make the hiring process a team effort. This centralised applicant data can be shared to all stakeholders while in-system messaging keeps everyone in the loop.
In addition, BambooHR can generate offer letter templates instantly, making hiring employees faster. It also has onboarding tools that help new hires complete pre-employment requirements quickly and allow managers to automatically send onboarding tasks and training checklists. BambooHR is currently available for organisations of all sizes on a monthly subscription basis.
Poor support – Groove
Rather than informing a company about their dismal customer service, consumers will just often choose not to come back. They will most probably tell their family and friends about their unsatisfactory experience too. Worse, they can post negative reviews and low ratings on popular review sites. This can quickly tarnish a company’s reputation, resulting in fewer sales and profits. Providing great customer support can be challenging, especially to small firms that can’t afford sophisticated support software and can only employ a few customer representatives.
Groove is a tool that can aid small businesses in delivering efficient and personalised customer support. Its AI-powered system can generate ready-made answers to frequently asked questions and offer article suggestions to help customers with their needs. Team members can also use the intuitive dashboard to track all customer inquiries and see who is assigned to specific questions. Data insights about customer satisfaction can be easily accessed too.
Groove starts at $9 (~£8) per agent per month.
This list by no means captures all of the concerns that small businesses can face but these are the major concerns that can readily derail ventures. The availability of effective and affordable digital tools can help smaller firms overcome these common obstacles and thrive even in today’s competitive environment.
Small Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst – ‘Tech is key to solving productivity’