Our present world is becoming more connected than ever, and we have technology to thank. Technology has revolutionised business conduct for enterprises of all sizes, and it has a significant impact on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well. From online financing platform which allows business to tap into the working capital with a few clicks of a button to Cloud computing software to address supply chain challenges, digital platforms and technology can give SMEs the boost that they require to gain competitive edges over others.
Below are some of the benefits that online solutions can help boost business productivity and growth.
1. Enhance Sales through Customer Experience
Technology can also help SMEs to offer a better customer experience. Developing an application, whether mobile or not, can help SMEs in providing convenience to the client and enhance their experience. Advancements in communication technologies will help SMEs to stay connected with their customers in real time, as well as improving internal communications.
2. Cost Control
SMEs can have more accurate control over their costs. The appropriate technology gives complete visibility, better management of material flows and product costs. For example, inventory is a major asset for businesses selling physical goods and related inventory movement transactions have key impacts on the cost control for the businesses. Technology-based inventory management systems can help SMEs manage inventory effectively, therefore having a major impact on SMEs’ bottom lines.
Other areas that can help SMEs control costs through technologies are
- Cloud accounting platform, allow businesses to effectively forecast cash flow, enable businesses to make better decision in cash management
- E-invoicing platform, allows businesses to invoice customers promptly and helps with businesses to be in control of accounts receivable.
3. Online Financing
Looking at the current financial landscape, SMEs are often in constant need for a loan. Ironically, it’s usually more difficulties for them to get approval for a loan from banks as they bear a higher risk of default. In the recent years, there is an increasing trend in using online platforms that allow SMEs to do invoice financing, such as InvoiceInterchange.
With invoice trading, SMEs can release cash flow which is locked in their accounts receivable. InvoiceInterchange’s offers an online financing platform which allows businesses to sell their invoice for an immediate cash through a simple online platform. Invoice trading also enables SMEs to seize opportunities. Having access to funds as and when they need allow businesses to take advantage of any business opportunities as and when they arise.
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4. Recruitment and human resource
Besides financing, SMEs can also gain competitive edges by implementing technology in their hiring process. Many companies opt to recruit through social network and online job board, bypass the traditional, expensive recruitment agency.
Once employees are on-board, there are many online HR online tools that help businesses managing the on-boarding process, payrolls, all the way when an employee leaves. This reduces administrative tasks required by businesses tremendously.
Lastly, technology has also impacted the field of marketing significantly. Digital Marketing has been providing. Many online tools are now available to help businesses to manage social media accounts, measuring the campaign performance, giving customer insight with a few click of a button. This helps business to create a more targeted marketing campaign. Some of the free online tools:
- Google analytics, helps business owners understand users behaviour, which channel drives the customers’ traffic to the website.
- Hootsuite, helps businesses manage social media accounts
By using this data, SMEs can get a helicopter view of customers’ data, such as customers’ engagement and transactions. With this on hand, defining personas, upsell and cross-sell, or even understanding lifetime value will be an easy task to do. We can further use this data to optimize advanced analytics to improve marketing campaigns or investments.
In the long run, SMEs’ success is often dependent on its ability to leverage new technologies, from online financing, marketing or recruitment since little time is needed for a new technology to make the old ones obsolete. Especially so in today’s highly competitive environment. By using the right technology at the right time, SMEs can gain a competitive edge and propel themselves into a strong market position more quickly.