The business world has come a long way in the last several decades. Many aspects of running a business that were once handled manually are now managed with software and other technology. Of course, there may be some parts of your business—like customer interaction—that are always better off being handled by a person. But many aspects of business management simply must be tech-based if you want to stay competitive in the business world. Here are 5 of the most important business functions that should always be managed with technology.
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It used to be that every business needs a filing room—and sometimes several—to store their important files and documents. From invoices and receipts to contracts and written communications, everything needed to be kept for business purposes. But technology has made filing cabinets obsolete; in fact, compared to the document management software available today, a filing cabinet is an outright liability.
Today, it’s vital that you manage your company’s documents digitally. Doing so offers many benefits to your business:
- Reduces risk of lost or misplaced files
- Mitigates risk of loss from natural disasters
- Makes documents available to employees in any location
- Provides faster, easier location of documents when needed
- Makes document searchable
- Enables fast document sharing via email
With all of these benefits and more in mind, if you’re still keeping your documents in a filing cabinet, you’re taking an unnecessary risk for your business.
You might think that generating business ideas is something that needs to happen face to face in a conference room, with your team brainstorming on a whiteboard. And while that method can certainly be effective, appropriately utilizing technology to gather and manage these ideas can be even more efficient.
With innovation management software, you can provide a “digital suggestions box” of sorts, allowing employees to offer ideas for business improvements at any time. In fact, because many of these software programs offer gamification techniques and an interactive platform, you can turn it into an incentivized competition, encouraging your employees to actively search for innovative ideas at all times.
You can even use the software as a base for polling and gathering ideas from your customers—which is something you don’t often get the opportunity to do since you’d be hard-pressed to get your customers into a brainstorming session. With software like this, tech-based management of your business ideas is definitely the way to go.
Your interactions with your customers can truly make or break your business. No matter how great your product is, if your customer service is lacking, many customers will choose to take their business elsewhere. And while proper training of your customer service reps is the most important part of this, maintaining accurate records of customer interactions is also important—and this can best be done digitally.
As with document management, manual records simply aren’t nearly as reliable as digital ones. And if you offer customer service over the phone or via online chat, exact transcriptions can be even better. Detailed records like these are important for a few reasons:
- They can provide evidence regarding what was promised to the customer, should the customer call and claim that your business did not fulfill an agreement.
- They can help you pinpoint customer service reps who are providing subpar service, who may benefit from more training.
- They make it easier for customer service reps to know the status of an account, so they can better serve the customer.
With the right technology, you can provide better service for your customers and necessary training for your employees.
Your business’s success will always come down to dollars and cents. You can offer a great product and great service, but if you’re not managing your cash flow properly, your business can still fail. In today’s world, proper cash flow management can often come down to the invoicing and billing software that you use. Trying to manage invoices and payments manually is ineffective, unreliable, and prone to errors.
Luckily, there are a lot of accounting software options out there for businesses of all sizes and all budgets. With a small investment and a little time spent learning the software, you can generate and send invoices, keep records of unpaid accounts, track income and expenses for your business, process recurring orders, and more. The right software will also save you an incredible amount of time that you would otherwise spend managing a paper-based accounting system—time that you can instead invest in growing your business.
Similarly, managing payroll manually is simply inefficient. And with an asset as valuable as your employees, you want to ensure that manual errors are eliminated from the process. Employees don’t appreciate late payments or incorrect payments, and if they’re a recurring problem, you’ll quickly find your workers heading for the hills.
Save yourself a headache and keep your employees happy by using payroll software to pay your workers. Many types of accounting software will offer payroll management in addition to invoicing and billing as described above. And, once again, you will save an incredible amount of time by automating this process instead of doing it manually every few weeks.
The business world today is entrenched in technology, and it’s important that your company is leveraging software to improve your efficiency as a business. If you’re not already using the above types of software, consider making a change—and doing it quickly. It just might save your business.