The main thing that small-to-medium size enterprises (SMEs) have in common is that they’re all trying to expand and accommodate a growing workload. To reach the upper echelons of business, a company has to be resourceful and savvy in every area of operation. You can be sure that every last one of the companies on the Forbes 500 list have at least a few apps and technological tools in their arsenals. So, it makes sense that SMEs need to emulate that kind of digital strategy when trying to climb up into the rankings of the largest corporations in their industries. Knowing that, here are five kinds of apps that every SME should be taking advantage of:
Company Maintenance Management Systems
Maintenance is a commonly overlooked, yet crucial, aspect of keeping a business running optimally, especially if you rely on machines or technology for mission-critical tasks. Many companies are now using company maintenance management systems (CMMS) to keep track of everything that needs to be done and facilitate collaborative maintenance within a centralized interface.
This kind of app is particularly useful for any company that relies on ongoing maintenance to function properly. Historically, these systems were reserved for web servers, but with app technology advancing, it has recently become available in the palm of your hands via smartphones and tablets. One of the most popular mobile CMMS options is Limble.
If your business accepts payments from clients or customers like 99% of the rest of companies, then you should definitely be using a payment processing service and app like PayPal. These apps make it easy to manage your revenue and collect payments on-the-go. Some apps even include the ability to swipe debit/credit cards directly on the device using an attached card chip reader.
A busy company can go through dozens or even hundreds of orders in a day, so it helps to be able to keep track of all that in real-time instead of having to check it periodically from your desktop. Payment processing services also make it easy to accept a wide variety of payments to ensure you’re not missing out on any profit. Every growing company should strive to accept as many payment methods as possible.
Collaboration and Communication
When it comes to getting a job done effectively and ensuring the highest level of customer satisfaction, companies need more than just standard phone, email, and chat correspondence. Nowadays businesses are using apps that are specifically designed to serve as collaborative platforms. These apps save time, effort, and computing resources by letting employees and managerial staff communicate and work on projects extensively without having to switch from one app to another repeatedly.
Companies can easily share files, conduct video conferences, view and edit documents with other people, and interface with remote computers, all in real-time. If instant networking and detailed communication are frequent challenges for your business, it would be wise to invest some time in researching some of the best collaboration apps for SMEs. A few decent recommendations off the cuff would be Campfire, Yammmer, Fuze Meeting, and TeamViewer.
Accounting and Finances
Typically, you’ll want to have a professional accountant on hire that will make sure all your numbers are accurate, but before it’s time to file taxes and review the books, most company owners and managers like to have quick access to the important math. Accounting apps make it easy to keep track of your expenditure, overheads, investments, equipment costs, income, taxes, and any other financial stats that you’ll need to be on top of when graduating into the higher ranks of business.
Of course, you could just use online banking and all the old-fashioned tools that every business has been using for the past 10-20 years, but when you’ve got transactions happening at all hours of the day, it helps to be able to keep an eye on everything while you’re mobile. Accounting apps can also provide alerts when you’ve reached spending limits or income goals. In addition, staying up-to-date on current accounting activity will ensure that you don’t overlook a costly mishap or unauthorized usage of company funds.
When most people think of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, they imagine themselves having fun and being entertained. You often hear about workplaces not allowing employees to access their personal social network pages on the company network. However,any company that wants to drive online growth will inevitably need to be active on social media to continue spreading brand awareness.
In fact, many businesses have entire marketing teams dedicated specifically to expanding the company’s social presence. When done properly, social media marketing (SMM) is capable of turning a small local boutique into a globally recognized brand in the span of a few months or even a few weeks. The main obstacle is that social media never stops – it’s something that needs to be tended to continually. That’s why many of the fastest growing companies choose to use apps to keep them in the loop on a plethora of social networks while on the go.
Other Kinds of Apps to Consider
If your business has a fleet of vehicles or employees who work out in the field, it might also be worthwhile to use a navigational system and/or GPS location app. Many trucking companies use fleet tracking apps to keep tabs on their drivers, so it’s actually a very common thing and it isn’t beyond the boundaries of what you’re allowed to reasonably do as an employer. After all, if you’re going to be trusting employees with expensive equipment, it makes sense that you should be able to know where the company property is located at all times.
Photography and photo editing apps are also must-haves for any business that takes pictures of their products or service results for use in a catalog or portfolio. If graphics are an important part of your selling process then it would be wise to have your team equipped with the right apps to exercise creativity freely while on the move.