The digital tools every small business needs in 2022

Until recently, most digital tools were complex bespoke systems only available for large enterprises with the resources, money and expertise to support them. Today, small businesses have the luxury of thousands of different tools that cover everything from communication platforms to security and everything in between. However, despite the influx of these solutions, employees are still frustrated with the time wasted using many of these traditional comms tools. In fact, a recent report from Loom revealed that employees are wasting almost two hours a week simply scheduling and re-scheduling meetings, costing businesses over AU $2.5 billion a year alone.

Taking a step back and looking at small-business priorities, here are three key areas that will deliver on their investment.

Unlocking automation

With the onset of the pandemic, SMEs went digital, adopting various tools to bring their goods and services online. High on this list was automation. However, automation is more often than thrown around as a ‘buzzword’ which encompasses everything from setting up an automatic email response to your entire marketing strategy.

With two-thirds of SMEs reporting that automation has helped them become more productive at work and 88 per cent reporting that automation has helped them compete with larger businesses, it’s clear that the right automation solutions can deliver significant rewards.

So what should you be investing in?

  • Marketing automation: Marketing is a critical area for most businesses, and you can quickly automate a lot of basic customer interactions. Simple email communication such as welcome emails, birthday rewards, abandoned carts and even specific sales can be easily managed by software.
  • Customer personalisation & data: Your customers are the heart of your business. Understanding their wants and needs is critical to both retaining and attracting customers. Beyond simple demographic data, including age, location and gender, there are now tools available that can help you understand your customer’s preferences and identify trends that you can leverage in future.

Video content

Video content is perfect for small businesses. In addition to the fantastic personalisation capabilities, compelling video content can allow you to engage with new stakeholders, pitch ideas and explain new concepts to suppliers in a far more engaging way.

Asynchronous video content allows you to record and share videos at any time of the day. Given the move to hybrid working and outsourcing capabilities, you’ll be working with a freelancer or outside support remotely more often than not. This type of communication enables you to break down complex or detailed information for external help, removing hours of traditional email communication or short phone calls that can waste time.

Unlocking data and knowledge

Making organisational knowledge accessible to employees requires the right set of tools and technologies and the right organisational mindset and culture. These things need to go hand in hand.

It’s critical that people have access to technologies that enable them to connect so that they can share ideas, feedback and suggestions in ways that are both structured and informal. These tools should allow both autonomy and control. But what this means can be very different for different workers and at different times. It can also vary within an individual organisation.

Be attentive to the preferences that your employees articulate when they’re surveyed, but also pay attention to what they actually use for real-world communications. It’s key to have enough tools to meet all of your team’s collaboration needs but not so many that there’s excess complexity.

Small businesses have the luxury of choice when it comes to digital tools. However, only a few tools can deliver instant benefits to your employees, customers, and business model when looking at the market. Taking advantage of these tools can set you apart and prepare you for success.