A small business’s survival isn’t defined by its ability to innovate, its market share, or its growth strategy. A great idea is only as good as the next one. A competitive playing field is inevitable. Best-laid plans don’t always work out the way you want them to.
What matters most is your ability to adapt to the changing world around you.
Technology is forcing many businesses to rethink the way they work. Yet many entrepreneurs reject the tools available them. Why shake things up if no one is forcing you to? This week, we launched a report exploring technology adoption amongst the South African small businesses community – to better understand what’s standing in the way.
Out with the old, in with the new?
Many businesses continue to use outdated technologies that aren’t fit for purpose in today’s digital economy. It’s staggering to see that 55% use fax machines, while 56% are still using flash drives. There are also too many businesses still relying on spreadsheets (83%) when there are far more efficient ways to report, track and plan for success.
Of those businesses that use spreadsheets, 68% use them for accounting purposes, 56% use them for office management, and 49% use them for financial planning.
This is alarming. Spreadsheets require manual input, a substantial time investment, and scrupulous accuracy. There’s no reason to cling on to them besides habit. Technological tools can automate much of the data entry process – and with fewer errors.
Evolve or die
If businesses can’t keep up with change, they will be outrun by it. You’ve got to look into the future. Consider the time and money you will save in the long-term by adopting the right tools.
This isn’t pure theory: if you’re consumed by inefficient processes, you won’t be able to properly serve your customers or pursue new prospects. Both will expect you to be tech savvy, and if you’re not, they’ll turn to your competitors.
Not all South African businesses are stuck in the dark ages. Over half (57%) are running their businesses from the supercomputers in their pockets – their smartphones. This is promising, but it’s a shame that there is still a disconnect between the forward thinkers and those that aren’t taking that all-important digital dive.
Business in the cloud
Hardware is only one component of a truly mobile business. Cloud technology is becoming increasingly essential for small businesses in their quest to efficiently work from anywhere, and at any time. For example, Xero enables you to automate tedious processes such as pursuing invoices, without wasting employee time.
Almost three quarters (70%) are already using the cloud. When asked, 70% said they believe it will save time, 52% believe it will save money, and 49% believe it will improve efficiency. In fact, 48% of respondents claimed that it’s already saved their business more than 10 hours a week.
That’s more than a full business day saved each way. Think about what more you could achieve with that time?
Today’s global office environment demands modern technology. It’s crucial that small businesses embrace the latest tools available. Only this will set apart the winners from the losers.