Five tools to increase SME agility

Technological innovation has rapidly changed the nature of work and the ways in which teams collaborate. SMEs, in particular, now have to balance day-to-day operations with the continuous task of identifying growth opportunities and threats in a marketplace that is more volatile than ever before.

Minimising lengthy processes and procedures is the key to bring SME agility, alongside being flexible with both your approach to how you work and the products and services that you provide.

The ability to be agile can be the difference between success and failure for SMEs, and technology is the key to unlocking this. It is no surprise that recent research* by Commonwealth Bank reveals that small businesses adopting new technology are more likely to expect revenue growth.

Adaptive planning and growth strategies take time to collate, time that many small businesses may feel they don’t have as they are more concerned with daily tasks. Eliminating inefficient processes and procedures will provide more time for looking ahead rather than at what’s right in front of you.

Square

Agility and mobility come hand in hand and platforms like Square have enabled even the smallest of businesses to grow and prosper on the move. The ability to accept payments anywhere in Australia has opened up new revenue streams for small businesses fueling growth.

As well as its card reader, Square boasts in-built reporting functionalities, such as sales figures, customer information and inventory lists. This means that business owners with little background in these areas can make educated decisions quickly and affordably without the need to outsource. The simplicity of this system, and a vast array of supported partners means that often outsourced tasks such as bookkeeping and administration can now be done internally.

Tableau

In years gone by, companies would have to wait to get information that they needed in real time: whether this was marketing metrics, such as customer engagement, or financial information like sales forecasts. Now, through data visualisation platforms such as Tableau critical information that was once retrospective can now be gathered, interpreted, and acted upon in a matter of minutes.

Tableau has recently added a feature that uses machine learning to combine data sources to provide real-time reporting alerts that get sent immediately to the user, allowing decisions to be being made faster than ever before.

Dropbox Business

As workforces becoming increasingly mobile, you need technology to keep up with your colleagues. Whether this is through file sharing or real-time content collaboration, services such as Dropbox Business are excellent ways to work together with others to execute tasks quickly and efficiently.

It’s newest feature, Dropbox Paper, enables you to collaborate on documents in real-time and create visually appealing work remotely.

Slack

A recent study** of 4000 Australian professionals into workplace productivity found that they’re spending more time in meetings than ever and 66 per cent of those meetings are of no value. Time wasted is a killer for small businesses. The instant messaging service, Slack, brings all your communication together in one place, providing real-time messaging, archiving and a search function.

The ability to separate conversations in channels means that only relevant personnel will be notified on specific tasks.

Trello

Project management is something that is paramount to the efficiency of any business, whether that’s a global corporation or a small business of ten people. Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organise and prioritise your projects in a fun, flexible and rewarding way. Like all these services, Trello has democratised its field giving everyone the opportunity to become an efficient project manager.

* www.commbank.com.au/guidance/newsroom/small-businesses-more-confident-of-revenue-growth-201704.html

** www.businessinsider.com.au/australians-are-spending-more-time-in-meetings-than-ever-but-most-are-a-waste-of-time-2014-10

Inside Small Business

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