It’s interesting to see how ubiquitous the idea of an SME has become in the digital age. Even outside of its traditional usage as a term for small to medium-sized enterprises, the internet has given the initialism an additional sense of identity intrinsically tied to tech-savvy services. Digital marketing agencies, eCommerce businesses, tech startups; the world has seen a flourishing age of digital enterprises, the likes of which have not and could not have existed before the last 10-15 years. In a post-lockdown world, this fascinating lineage has only grown further.
Naturally, this has left many SMEs in an interesting spot of expectation when it comes to their use of technology and their digital literacy as a whole. After all, whilst there are now more tools and services than ever before geared towards supporting small businesses, this increase in availability has also meant a rise in standards for how businesses operate. Therefore, to maintain viability as a service, you need to be able to adapt and use the tools at your disposal effectively.
Today, we’re going to help you with that, by providing you with some digital technology and tools that we’ve found to be beneficial for small businesses and business owners.
Education and Upskilling Online
As business owners, it is our obligation to ensure that our employees feel that they have the opportunity to grow and advance in their careers. This not only leads to happier employees but also more skilled ones, so it’s in everyone’s best interests if workers at your business are advancing their knowledge of their field. Because of this, it may be worth incentivizing and making time for workers to complete online courses that are relevant to your field. This doesn’t have to mean paying for a university degree, nor does it mean drastically cutting down the time an employee spends at work. Rather, it means looking at the online options available and allowing some time to be allocated to upskilling within your business.
For some, this may mean taking on an MBA online and holistically improving their business knowledge, which can also be a great idea for business owners looking to keep their knowledge of the business world up-to-date. For others, this could mean taking on shorter, non-accredited courses such as those at Udemy. Regardless of your choices, showing that you are invested in your workforce’s future is a great way to keep them invested in the future of your business.
Project Management Tools
As businesses become more complex and remote working becomes more of a norm, project management tools have become a practical necessity. These tools, such as Trello or Asana, allow you to keep multiple balls in the air at once with scheduling, task assigning, archiving, planning, and reminders all ensuring that your various projects are progressing smoothly. Even if you’re a small business all, working within the same office, these project management tools are still enormously valuable for their ability to archive the different steps of a project, so you can correct inefficiencies and ensure that work is being seen and acknowledged on a person-to-person individual level.
Whilst the two mentioned, Trello and Asana, are likely the most widely used for digital companies, there are many different options for this type of management software, with each offering different benefits. So, if you’re unfamiliar with the different software options, make sure that you do your research before making a final decision.
E-Signature Software and Tools
One of the things in business that doesn’t get focussed on enough is the sheer amount of paperwork that needs to be completed on a day-to-day basis. For those who work in any sort of B2B space or MBA jobs, each agreement, change, pay negotiation, NDA, organizational strategy, and more all come with paperwork to fill out, sign, file, re-fill out if information is wrong or things change, more signing, and so on, and so on. The point is that paperwork is annoying and stressful, and anything that can take some of the effort out of dealing with it is going to be a boon.
Luckily, there is a wide selection of tools that are aimed at doing just that! From SignNow to DocuSign, there are many tools on the market that are specifically geared towards allowing for eSignatures to be used seamlessly and to avoid unnecessary printing and scanning and printing and scanning and printing and scanning ad-infinitum. You’ll be amazed at how difficult it is to go back to the traditional means of signing documents once you have a more reliable tool for the job.
Email Marketing Tools
If you’re a business, chances are you want people to know and remember who you are. This takes marketing, and letting customers, new and old know about what you do and why they should work with you. This is where email marketing truly shines, but only when you can do it consistently and effectively. Just sending out a plain text email saying people should work with you is not only dull, but it’s also likely to make people think that you’re trying to scam them.
If you want to really make the most of your email marketing and avoid being put on some kind of phishing list, MailChimp is a great first step. It has free options and paid options, and it allows you to craft professional-looking emails with graphics and high-quality design tools. Plus, you can save templates, meaning that you can stick to a particular style and speed up the process of creating emails in the future.
The internet is a fantastic tool for businesses, but it doesn’t come without its complexities. Luckily, with a little guidance, you can generally make your way through the noise and find tools that are really going to change the way you do business for the better. So, go out, do your research, and you’ll learn the ABCs of the digital SMEs before you know it. Good luck!