14 Ways to Leverage Software to Bolster Your Small Business

Software has long resided at the central of corporate culture. In some ways, businesses – especially small businesses, trying to get the most out of every dollar – couldn’t survive without these important cost-saving tools.

Imagine if the Internet and all your devices suddenly shut down. Would you be ready to go back to filing cabinets and telegraphs? Probably not.

And yet, most business owners don’t get the most out of their investment in software.

Owners tap into the obvious benefits, things like file sharing and cloud-based resources. But, while everyone has a general understanding of the value software can bring, most decision-makers fail to leverage the available tools to their fullest capacity.

There are opportunities out there that you aren’t taking advantage of. Here are 14 ways you can get more out of your software investment, in order to boost your bottom line and get the most out of your limited resources:

Recruit Top Talent

Without good employees, you will never succeed. Getting the most out of top talent helps you stretch your resources and drive innovation as the market evolves.

There’s a problem, though: it’s often difficult for small businesses to bring in top talent. You have to compete with larger companies, who can usually offer higher compensation. That means you need to locate some diamonds in the rough. Software can help you find them.

For instance, software programs can help you speed the process of culling resumes. They can search out keywords, allowing you to focus your approach. Programs can also help with the scheduling and selection process, giving you an advantage in securing the best workers.

Streamlined Training

Maximizing the contribution from your employees goes beyond the recruiting process. Top-performing workers also need the highest level of training. Using software for this important step can make the process more effective and less expensive.

Create online training programs that allow you and your management team to minimize your contribution, thereby allowing you to concentrate on other aspects of the business. New workers effectively train themselves, through the software.

Connect with Clients

Of course, sales represent the core operation of any business. Your goal is to connect with clients and convince them to use more of your products and services. Software can go a long way in making that connection.

CRM software is an obvious step in making the sales process easier. It integrates procedures to make communication with customers and potential customers more productive.

Other programs can contribute to improved relationships with your clients as well. For instance, leverage video conferencing software to connect with people around the globe. Meanwhile, you can tap into social media to draw in potential new customers and to develop an effective marketing profile.

Customer Service

Customer service is integral to any effective long-term strategy. However, it can steal resources from other parts of the company. There are several software-based solutions to streamline the process and reduce your costs.

CRM software can ease your customer service burden, as well as perform the other benefits the technology delivers. Meanwhile, you can take the solution a step further by using chatbots and other automated forms of communication. These lower the expense of customer service, but still give clients the feeling of connection.

Brand Building

Sales aren’t just about connecting with individual customers. It’s also about your public persona in general. In other words, you have to manage your overall brand effectively.

By using well-designed content management software for your website, you can cheaply and easily present your best self to the world. Keep the market up-to-date and draw in new customers with effective blog posts.

Meanwhile, you can improve your content by using video editing software to make low-cost productions. You can use these to supplement your online presence or to drive additional engagement on social media.

Live Video

You can also get significant value from your marketing dollar by sponsoring live streaming events. These allow you to bring people together from around the world.

You can use the technology for collaboration with other companies, or you can use it to cement your relationship with clients. Hosting regular webinars keeps everyone on the same page, increases engagement, and further develops your brand.

Market Intelligence

Optimizing your sales efforts involves more than the task of reaching out to customers. You have to target your marketing dollars intelligently and understand the market well enough to attack it effectively.

Doing all this means you need actionable information. Data gathering and processing software help you learn more about your customers and see opportunities that aren’t obvious without comprehensive analysis.

Follow the Money

There’s nothing particularly innovative about the concept of accounting software. You probably use something similar to file your personal taxes. But there’s more to accounting software than just tax preparation.

Cash represents the lifeblood of a business. And when you run a small business, you’re often short of it. High-powered accounting software can let you see just where that cash is getting used. It helps you eliminate waste, save resources for the most profitable opportunities, and run your business more efficiently.

Company-Wide Scheduling Software

Effective collaboration allows you to unlock everyone’s potential. However, a team effort can also lead to bottlenecks, with employees waiting for others to finish their tasks before they can do their own.

You need to eliminate these as much as possible. Connecting everyone with the same scheduling software allows you to leverage teamwork more effectively.

Manage Communication

High-level collaboration also requires streamlined communications. This is especially true if you’re using far-flung employees, or integrating contractors and freelancers into your workflow.

A well-designed messaging program can improve this dynamic. Organize and compartmentalize communication by project, allowing for a free flow of ideas, without inundating people with unnecessary information.

Improve Productivity

When you run a small business, you have to get the most out of every dollar. That means maximizing production every way you can.

Time tracking software can help you achieve this goal. It will let you know how long each worker spent on each project and on each task. That way you can use your resources more effectively.

Size Doesn’t Matter

The term “small business” can cover a lot of territory. It can mean a firm with dozens of employees, a hierarchy of leadership, and distinct departments – a miniature version of a multi-division corporate conglomerate. Or it can mean a single-person proprietorship.

Either way, you can get a benefit from leveraging software options. Businesses of every size can cut costs, stretch resources, and win additional clients by making smart use of the tools available to them.

Shop Around

When looking for software solutions, you’ll likely gravitate towards expensive name-brand options early in the process. It will be your knee-jerk instinct to get something you know works well, based on its wide reputation.

However, as you get more comfortable with the processes, you can become savvier about your software selections. Less expensive open-source options can save you a significant amount of money. Meanwhile, lesser-known alternatives can provide features the big guys haven’t integrated yet.

Better Hardware Makes Software Better

Don’t ignore the hardware part of the technology equation. Software is the driving force behind most business tools. However, as the software becomes more elaborate, it requires more powerful hardware to use it effectively.

Skimping on low-cost hardware, or trying to get by with increasingly aging models might hurt you in the long run. Keep tabs on the evolving standards for hardware and replace older equipment as needed to optimize the ability of your software to boost your bottom line.

This content is sponsored by Marie Erhart.

Photo: Shutterstock

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