Your business could benefit from using a range of digital tools and apps to help manage your finances, keep accurate records, sell online, oversee social media accounts, improve productivity, engage your employees and customers, and more.
Whether you want to boost your sales, streamline your processes or stop spending so much time updating spreadsheets, it’s likely there’s a digital tool or app to suit your business goals.
According to the manager of our Advisory Services team, Lisa Legena, the key to making the most of digital tools is to find what will add value to your business.
“There are digital tools which can help you with productivity and time management, support your project management, engage with your employees and customers remotely or even track energy consumption in your business,” she says.
Lisa shared these insights to help small business owners take advantage of digital tools.
Get the right tools to support your business goals
“Lack of awareness of what is in the market and how these tools can be used can often hold business owners back from using these tools,” says Lisa.
“You don’t need to use everything that is available but consider using the tools which are going to add value back into your business.”
“This could include tools to increase sales, free up productive time, and engage your customers. It can also mean you have more time to work on the important aspects of your business rather than drowning in administrative tasks.”
Lisa says the rise of video conferencing is an example of aligning your business goals with the digital tools you need.
“Before COVID-19, most business owners did not use video conferencing in their business. Many took this up using various video conferencing programs to communicate with their customers and staff during the pandemic – and are now using these tools as part of their everyday operations.”
Digital tools can save you time
If you find yourself spending a lot of time doing certain tasks in your business, this could be an indication of where you could benefit from using digital tools.
“In business, time equals money. If you’re spending a lot of time doing tasks that you either cannot invoice for or which take you away from making money in your business, then it could be a good idea to investigate these digital tools.”
“Most of the digital business tools and apps have been designed to be easy to use and generally only require basic digital skills to access. The more complex software systems often have customer service representatives and ‘How to’ guides to help users.”
The cost could be much less than you think
If the thought of paying for digital tools has prevented you from exploring these solutions, Lisa has good news for business owners.
“There are digital tools to suit all budgets, ranging from free apps to low-cost cloud-based software subscriptions,” she says.
“Many of these subscriptions can be paid on a monthly basis and have no lock-in contracts. These could even include a free trial to see if it is a right fit for your business. Some tools are also bundled with your computer software package and could be worth exploring.”
Streamline your accounting and reporting processes
“At the SBDC we still see many business owners not using accounting software in their business. Instead, they are using Excel sheets or even manual written records – this is not contemporary business practice,” says Lisa.
If you haven’t yet embraced accounting software in your business, Lisa notes it could help to streamline your financial management processes.
“Accounting software can help you to track point of sale transactions, create digital invoices to get paid sooner, keep track of expenditure and log your receipts. You could run up-to-date reports on your financials to report to the ATO. Most accounting software also include add-ons for processing payroll and reporting to the ATO via single touch payroll.”
Connect with your customers, staff and industry
Lisa adds that digital tools can also help you to manage your social media accounts and posts in one place.
“Software is available to help you create posts and graphics, then schedule in times to publish across your various social channels. It can help track engagement with your posts to help you refine your messaging and brand.”
Lisa recommends that business owners research different digital products online or contact our advisory team to discuss the areas of their business that could benefit from the use of digital tools.
“You could also chat to other business owners to see what they are using and how it helps their business.”
To link with other business owners in WA and learn about what digital tools they may use, join our Facebook group ‘I’m a small business in Western Australia’.