There's more to succeeding in the digital economy than pretty Instagram photos and online shopping. Particularly for small- to medium-sized businesses, success in the digital economy is about a holistic approach to working collaboratively across time and space in an organised, streamlined way. Choosing the right tools for your business is essential to this process.
Teams that are able to collaborate in real time even while physically apart will be most effective. This is one reason why the government has expanded the Digital Solutions – Australian Small Business Advisory Services program. The scheme makes available both one-on-one support and group workshops or webinars for businesses with fewer than 20 employees — for free — from private-sector digital experts.
The ASBAS program is available in all states and territories. In a promotional video for the scheme, business software coach John Carnohan suggested an essential tip: Make sure all your software programs are integrated. This way, data inputted on one tool — like a customer relationship management system — can inform efforts you're making on another tool, like an email marketing platform, he said.
If they're not compatible, you'll create a lot of extra work for yourself. So it's essential to do your homework and consider all of the tools your business may need.
Human resources forms the backbone of many organisations, handling key jobs like time counting, payroll and benefits. Many tools exist to automate some of these cumbersome, time-intensive tasks. This frees up more time for creative problem-solving. There are many tools available to small businesses to help with these tasks.
- Time counting and payroll apps: Tools like Gusto, ADP and Harvest
- STP: The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Single Touch Payroll tool is mandatory for any business with 20 or more employees to report payments electronically.
- Expense tracking with the ATO: The agency also offers an app for employees and sole traders. It can be used to keep a running record of expenses and deductions plus keeps you up-to-date on relevant tax deadlines fast approaching.
Project management systems
Choosing the right project management system will require careful consideration of the work your organisation does and how colleagues might work interdepartmentally to solve problems. There are myriad options:
- Google Docs
- Microsoft Teams
These tools include lots of ways for teammates to collaborate and communicate. So it's essential that they work well with the other resources your teams utilise to complete their tasks.
Customer relationship management
Often cloud-based and integrated with your website, these tools enable your teams to track sales processes and manage ongoing communications with customers. Popular cloud-based CRM tools include Zendesk, Hubspot and Freshworks.
Asset management systems
Even small businesses can benefit from knowing where their assets are at all times, including office equipment like laptops or cameras. With a remote or hybrid workforce it can get easy to lose track of these items. Confusion about the location of assets creates extra work. For tech support such as regular software updates or licencing, it's key to quickly be able to find company assets. This is true at tax time as well. Solutions like Freshservice, UpKeep and GoCodes can help your team keep track of it all.
If you want another perspective on any aspects of your business plans, WMC Accounting can help you. By leveraging our experience working with small businesses of all sorts, our team can ensure that your team is set up in a way that positions you to take advantage of any and all opportunities for success. Contact us today.