Playing now

Playing now

How to use technology to manage your small business

Technology & Innovation

How to use technology to manage your small business

GDPR can improve the customer experience that your business offers

Small businesses are often founded by people who have a deep passion for the products or services they deliver. In partnership with Sage, IDC has carried out research involving more than 1,000 small businesses as part of the Tech-Savvy Businesses Do It Better white paper.

The research found that more than half of all small businesses are started because of a personal passion. The fact that nearly 80% of those we spoke to also say they very much enjoy working for their own business — even when it’s more than a decade old — shows the passion doesn’t easily die either.

But, of course, running a business is about more than following your heart. Sometimes it needs persistence. And sometimes it feels as if administrative rules and requirements are in place simply to put an end to any kind of pleasure you may find in running a business.

Indeed, more than a third of respondents say managing business finances tops their list of most challenging activities; a quarter of small businesses indicate that providing customer support is equally as difficult.

Using technology to manage your small business can help you get a lot done in a short space of time

Technology in your pocket

There is an easy way to overcome some of these challenges – use technology to manage your small business. But what technology should you use? Well, you’ll find it in a very surprising place: your pocket or bag. The same phones and tablets that have revolutionised our consumer lives can also revolutionise our professional lives.

Here’s an example: with today’s technology, there’s no need to wait until you get back to the desktop computer to issue an invoice. It doesn’t matter if you’re at home, at the office or at your customer’s premises, with a clever accounting software app you can send purchase orders with just a few taps on your phone.

The same is true for recording expenses – they can be noted via an app when things are bought, and within seconds. No more envelopes or shoe boxes full of receipts.

Despite the clear advantages, IDC research shows a split down the middle when it comes to technology among the respondent base. Half agreed the tech they used was flexible enough, while the other half admitted it wasn’t suitable for addressing their changing business needs.

Furthermore, only 44% of respondents said they could access business information from their smartphones or tablets.

But there are real benefits to be found from a minor effort: small businesses using online software and apps report higher revenue growth rates than businesses uninterested in such tools.

This is where online software solutions tailored specifically for small businesses could help you.

Cryptocurrency is still in its infancy, so don't worry about diving in just yet

You don’t need to rely on a pen and paper to manage your business when everything you need can be on your tablet

Steps you can take towards using tech

If you want to embrace technology more within your business, here are three suggested steps to make it a reality:

1. Identify

Grab a pen and paper, and make a note on which day-to-day task in your business is too time-consuming, or not delivering the right outcome. For example, this could be something like financial management or acquiring new customers.

Really think this through before making any investment. It’s important because you’ll need to find technology to match, such as the right app for your phone, or the right cloud service provider. Think small initially and aim to build out once you’ve gained confidence.

2. Focus

What do you want your technological solution to achieve? For example, are you looking to save time, automate tasks or have better access to information? Again, this will affect your choice of technology, with tools such as cloud-based apps coupled to mobile apps providing the best access to information 24 x 7.

3. Choose

Making a choice of which technological solution to use needs to be guided by not just personal preference but also pragmatism. Is the choice you make something you feel you can keep working with? Do you already have the right tools in place – such as a suitable smartphone or tablet computer?

In short, is the change you want to introduce both achievable and sustainable? Ideally, it shouldn’t be viewed as a chore but perhaps even as a fun way to enhance your business – and your business prospects.

By becoming a tech-savvy business, you really can have it all – keeping sight of your passion, staying committed to your business vision and reducing the amount of admin work you do. What’s not to like?

How do you use technology to manage your small business? Let us know in the comments below.

Tech-savvy businesses do it better

How small business owners use technology to improve the success of their companies and increase job satisfaction

Download the guide

Subscribe to the Sage Advice newsletter

Join more than 500,000 UK readers and get the best business admin strategies and tactics, as well as actionable advice to help your company thrive, in your inbox every month.

Ask the author a question or share your advice

If you are a customer with a question about a product please visit our Help Centre where we answer customer queries about our products. When you leave a comment on this article, please note that if approved, it will be publicly available and visible at the bottom of the article on this blog. While your email address will not be publicly available, we will collect, store and use it, along with any other personal data you provide as part of your comment, to respond to your queries offline, provide you with customer support and send you information about our products and services as requested. For more information on how Sage uses and looks after your personal data and the data protection rights you have, please read our Privacy Policy.