Small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have many natural advantages to more complex organizations; however, they tend to have fewer resources.
With the right technology investments, SMBs can flourish and take their businesses to the next level.
Big businesses usually have the advantage with technology solutions. With a variety of ERP software solutions available (often with large price tags), they generally have no problem finding and/or creating a solution that works perfectly for them.
In order for SMBs to compete, they need to make sure that their technology is working for them, and that they are not working (to pay) for their technology.
One quality that a SMB needs to look for in a software solution is customization. Is the software tailored to their industry or specific business? Or is it a general business software that forces users to change their processes to match how it works?
Many SMBs look to off-the-shelf solutions, such as QuickBooks, and find that it handles their accounting functions well, but doesn’t allow them to customize their sales processes as much as they would like. They sometimes turn to spreadsheets, or cumbersome paper methods of tracking documents and customer information. This can be “lived with” for a time, but is never a permanent working solution.
The right software solution for a SMB also needs to be scalable. Usually, owners of SMBs want to grow their business. A quickly growing organization will find that their previously working spreadsheets and manual processes are not the most efficient way to handle their daily operations.
Small business software, particularly QuickBooks, often has limitations on the number of users and/or data that can be stored. Sometimes, there are ways around these limitations, such as storing data elsewhere, using virtual desktops to minimize seat licenses needed, or having employees share a workstation. However, these solutions can be costly and clunky.
While being customizable and scalable are critical to an SMBs software solution, the most important factor is that the software must be user-friendly and intuitive. If no one in your organization can figure out how to use the software, they simply aren’t going to and your investment will stagnate or go to waste. A solution has to be simple enough that anyone who needs to (and has a working knowledge of Microsoft Office) can find their way through their daily routine in the software.
There are several solutions on the market today, as well as other factors to consider, but if you keep these three qualities in mind, you will successfully choose the right one.
— Nick Bite