Constant analysis on the efficacy of a business is needed as margins for error can be thin, and tiny but persistent digs into revenue can cause a business to tumble. There are a few things small business owners can do to ensure the vitality of their organization.
1. Automate wherever possible: This is a proven efficiency booster, and a no-brainer for the businesses we serve. The automation of travel, expense and invoice management systems can have a positive impact on your bottom line – and increase employee satisfaction. Let’s face it, no employee enjoys doing expense reports. In addition to travel, expense and invoicing functions, network maintenance, marketing and customer support can all benefit from an automated and streamlined approach.
2. Take advantage of mobile solutions: Your employees and your customers expect mobile connectivity so it is crucial to over mobile solutions to employees. Mobile phone penetration was reported at 68% in 2015 representing a year-over-year growth of 24% from 2014 – and this number is only growing. As such, companies need to rethink how they provide solutions to their workforce, especially when so much of an employee’s day is spent on the go with smartphone in hand. Be sure your employees have the mobile tools to connect to the company infrastructure, each other and your customers from wherever they are.
At Concur, we recognize the prevalence of mobile devices in the workplace and the importance of providing mobile solutions which is why our management systems for travel, invoices and expenses can be accessed on a smartphone.
3. Ensure maximum uptime: Protecting and maintaining your network is key. No matter how big or small, your company network gives your employees access to information and resources they need to do their jobs. Avoid technical difficulties by ensuring your network is in tip-top shape. This includes security, connectivity, and back-up storage, among other functions.
4. Collaboration is king: Give your employees the tools they need to work collaboratively internally, and smoothly with customers, vendors, and partners. Capabilities such as interactive calendaring, videoconferencing, and document sharing help to keep everyone aligned and organized.
5. Don’t be afraid of outsourcing: Small business owners wear many hats and often feel like they have to do it all – but that isn’t always the best approach. It may be a better use of funds and resources to outsource technology tasks and maintenance to a managed service provider and free your internal IT specialists to work on revenue-generating initiatives.
6. Simple technology for satisfied employees: Employees take their consumer technology expectations to work so they expect technology to be as advanced and intuitive as the programs they use on their personal time. Many employees will only use a few main features of an application and, quite simply, the easier technology is to use, the more they’ll use it. Exit interviews often reveal frustration with technology so in addition to boosting productivity, keeping technology simple, yet effective, helps to reduce your recruitment costs.
Increasing the efficiency of small businesses can be as simple as reflecting on if there is a better way of doing things. With the growing number of companies offering affordable productivity tools for the growing small business, chances are there are changes that can be made to make your small business more effective and ready for growth.
Brian Veloso is Senior Director for Small and Medium-sized Business at Concur.
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