Brexit, supply chain issues, the pandemic, sustainability and health and wellness concerns look to steer food industry trends in 2022, according to UK news source foodmanufacture.co.uk.
There’s a tech solution for every type of business and every growth strategy. SMEs that embrace technology are able to kick-start growth and streamline their workflow, freeing up resources to focus on the most important aspects of the business.
Whether it’s using cloud computing to be able to work and access your documents anywhere, or using automation to handle your overseas currency payments and repatriations: technology has numerous benefits for your business.
We take a look at some of the key items that should be in your SME tech toolkit.
Top five business technologies to help SMEs grow
Your ideal combination of software and applications will differ from other businesses. However, there are some aspects of everyone’s operations that can benefit from a tech upgrade, regardless of industry, size, or strategy.
We’ve picked out five key ways you can boost your productivity and cut costs.
Cloud-based applications: The cloud isn’t as new as it seems - email has been around for ages. There are numerous programs and software available in the Cloud that your business can benefit from. For instance, Microsoft Office 365 gives you access to the whole Office suite wherever you are. Google Docs is another great example, allowing multiple users to collaborate in real time.
Group messaging services: Tools such as WhatsApp and Skype provide ways to keep the team connected regardless of their physical location via group chats or videoconferencing. Applications such as Slack and Trello go even further, integrating workflow management as well, allowing you to track projects and share files seamlessly.
CRM software: Your business collects a lot of data – data you can use to define and improve your marketing and provide the best possible customer experience. CRM software can track customer activity in order to suggest the best marketing strategy to engage them and build brand loyalty. It notices important patterns by trawling through data that you simply wouldn’t have time to look at.
Fully responsive website: Your customers are viewing your website on mobile phones, tablets and everything in between. Your website needs to be able to adapt to present your key messages front and centre regardless of the format. A fully responsive website is therefore vital in catering to all kinds of uses. Businesses at the cutting edge of web technology are already implementing another powerful feature of smart phone design; the ability to allow users to embed their website onto their home screen, similar to an app.
Automated invoicing and payroll: By automating activities such as invoicing customers and paying your staff, you not only free up a lot of time to focus on other aspects of your business, but also bring greater reliability and accuracy to the process. Invoicing software can track when payments are overdue and record when payments are made. Payroll software ensures your staff are paid on time, and that the relevant data is sent to the required authorities.
From accounting to marketing – the areas of your SME that can benefit from business tech
As the tech picks above illustrate, there are solutions that be used for various aspects of your business to boost productivity, reduce resource and time costs, or improve workflow.
Your finance department benefits from automated systems, while marketing can use advanced analytic tools offered by CRM systems to create more effective, highly-targeted campaigns. Employee workflow gets a boost when you introduce teamwork apps, while the IT department benefits from cloud computing solutions.
The areas we’ve covered represent just a fraction of the tech on the market, so whatever your business challenges, there’s a solution for you.
How tech can save SMEs money and time on international payments
Businesses that deal with partners or customers overseas can make further use of tech to save them money and resources.
Currencies Direct offers several different ways to automate overseas payments, with all transfers being conducted at excellent exchange rates, fee free.
The Currencies Direct online platform and mobile app allow you to manage your money on the go; you can do everything from checking the balance of multiple currencies in your collection account, making multiple payments simply by uploading information from your treasury software, or set overseas funds to repatriate automatically.
Your collection account can automatically convert foreign currency payments into Sterling whenever new funds enter the account, or when the account balance hits a level you have specified. Let the app deal with your foreign currency requirements while you focus on growing your business at home and overseas.
Make the most of business tech to grow your SME in 2018
These picks represent just the tip of the technology iceberg. Whatever your sector, goals, or challenges, there’s a tech solution out there to help you conquer obstacles and take your business further.