Business administration has always been a relatively challenging task when compared to the kind of responsibilities that the average worker or professional carries. However, in recent years, the processes involved in founding, operating, and expanding a business have become much easier for the average novice entrepreneur. Nowadays, a small business owner can run their endeavor like a fortune 500 company within just a few months of researching and practicing with various software, digital resources, and online platforms.
More specifically, here are 19 ways modern businesses are utilizing technology to drastically simplify business administration:
Human Resource (HR) Management
One of the first things you learn when earning an HR MBA – Masters in Business Administration a specialization in Human Resources – is that the use of software is recommended for maximum accuracy, efficiency, and redundancy. This use of technology is particularly beneficial for companies that are managing a roster of more than 10-20 employees, as that is the point where the hiring, employee monitoring, performance analysis, and task allocation processes begin to become burdensome enough to warrant the use of organization tools. By hiring dedicated HR pros and implementing comprehensive digital systems for tracking and managing human resources, modern businesses are able to avoid the conventional paper-pushing and file-sorting that HR departments of the past had to endure.
Keeping track of finances will always be a top priority for any kind of business that deals with a fair amount of transactions on a monthly basis. While using software certainly isn’t a replacement for an accountant, many small businesses are able to get by just fine without the need for any professional assistance. Accounting tools present an ideal alternative to keeping track of receipts and other documents manually, as all of the information that is processed by a point-of-sale system can automatically be transferred to an accounting software for simplified bookkeeping.
Managing a diverse collection of inventory can be a challenging task when you’re not using some sort of searchable database or tool to keep track of everything. To avoid common problems in the retail sector such as overselling – facilitating the sale of a product that you don’t actually have in stock – you need to make sure you have an accurate record of which products you have on hand, where they’re located, how long they’ll take to ship, and when they’ll be re-stocked. By keeping every fact related to inventory management within a centralized interface, entrepreneurs are able to manage massive inventory lists that would’ve been nearly impossible for the average upcoming business to handle just a couple of decades ago.
Creating and sticking to a budget is something that every business needs to do in order to avoid financial pitfalls and ensure access to adequate cash flow that can be used to fund investments and ongoing operational requirements. Creating a budget on paper or using a simple spreadsheet is an option, but it will never be easily streamlined or as advantageous as using a dedicated budgeting software to itemize your expenses and income source in an accurate and all-inclusive manner. With CEOs and managers having such extensive workloads to take care of, it’s understandable that they’d want to use tools to speed up tedious yet necessary procedures like routine budget allocation.
Social Media Management
Managing multiple social media profiles and followings can be an entire occupation in and of itself for some large companies. In fact, social media manager is one of the hot new job positions that has sprung out of the need for dedicated social media specialists. Fortunately, with the advanced tools and hubs that are available, you don’t necessarily need to hire someone to keep your brand active and well-represented on social media unless you have the luxury of committing an entire salary to that goal.
Creating brand awareness and authority has always been a common business objective, even before the days of the internet. Of course, now that the web exists, it’s practically mandatory for every serious company to maintain its own blog. Not having an official website or blog to serve as an online headquarters is like asking to not be taken seriously by prospective clients, customers, investors, and anyone else who wants to look into the legitimacy of your company. Blogging platforms like WordPress and Joomla make it easy for the average entrepreneur to become a blogger in no time.
Web analytics – the study of website traffic, sales, and other critical online metrics – is an important aspect of business optimization that every company with an online presence can benefit from. Luckily, you don’t have to collect and interpret all of this data yourself, because there are plenty of tools and free online platforms that will help you compile reports and deduce actionable conclusions from statistical analysis of your business or website. Larger corporations are still bringing in data analysts to oversee the operation of their analytical tools but with a bit of research, any business owner can become knowledgeable enough to benefit from analytics.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Managing customer relationships will always be a necessary component in maintaining any company that aims to generate repeat customers and clients. When an entrepreneur really starts to scale up on their promotional efforts, keeping track of all the next contacts and networking commitments can become overwhelming. As a result, many marketers and busy entrepreneurs have started using customer relationship management (CRM) tools to centralize the process of organizing and reaching out to new and existing customers in a strategic manner.
Managing payroll expenses and payment obligations is another process that can become an additional burden for entrepreneurs when handled via non-digital means. Payroll management software makes it easy to keep track of how much you owe each employee, how many hours they’ve worked, how many hours they have on upcoming schedules, how much overtime pay they’re owed, hourly wage rates, direct deposit info, and other key data that you’ll need to refer to when it comes time to issue pay checks. Many entrepreneurs have started to use payroll management tools independently instead of resorting to outsourcing the task to virtual assistants or payroll management firms.
Content Strategy Creation
One of the key components in every marketing campaign is the distribution of informational, entertaining, and promotional content around the web and offline. However, simply brainstorming about it for a little while often isn’t enough to really cover all of the possible bases that your content strategy could be touching. Using content strategy software helps you quickly identify keywords, topics, and queries that will resonate with your target audience and help them find your brand faster. By building your content strategy around a fact-based approach instead of speculation, you can ensure more reliable success in terms of web traffic and overall awareness.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Every serious entrepreneur should have at least a rudimentary understanding of SEO and how it can be used to improve the chances of success for any startup. Getting to the top of the search engine result pages (SERPs) isn’t exactly the easiest thing to achieve, especially if you don’t have a huge advertising and marketing budget to dedicate towards pay-per-click campaigns and other financed forms of brand promotion. SEO allows you to utilize the curiosity of your audience in order to fulfill the demand for commonly searched for information. Of course, there’s an abundance of SEO tools for entrepreneurs to choose from in 2019, so it’s certainly something that can be done on a DIY basis if you have the time for it.
Sourcing suppliers has never been easier thanks to the advent of manufacture networking platforms like Alibaba and Tradekey. These platforms typically have their own apps and can be set up to automatically push notifications to your mobile device when a prospective supplier has responded to one of your inquiries. These tools present an optimal alternative to manually keeping track of supplier contact details, prices, and catalogs, while also giving you a means of establishing contact and reviewing reputations within a single interface.
Having a bespoke product developed is also something that technology has made available to the average entrepreneur. Even though this was a capability that only elite businessmen had access to in previous decades, nowadays anyone with a great idea for an invention and money to invest can work with one of the many product design and prototyping firms out there to bring a never-before-seen product to the world.
Scheduling & Time Management
Most companies that have employees will need to create schedules of some sort, and even one-person sole proprietorship still need to properly allocate their time to ensure daily productivity. Scheduling apps and time management software give employers the ability to fine-tune their daily workflow strategies and process to ensure that they’re giving the right hours to the right employees for optimal performance and profitability. Some of the most successful companies are owned or managed by entrepreneurs who segment their daily schedules into short blocks of time, such as Elon Musk or Bill Gates – both of whom have admitted to using 5-minute time blocks to get more done within the span of a single day.
In addition to creating comprehensive schedules with ease, many businesses are also leveraging planning and goal setting software to create short-term and long-term agendas. This kind of software is often used in conjunction with web analysis and reporting tools to generate realistic projections and objectives that the entire company can use as a basis for setting weekly and monthly goals. All of the top companies have routine meetings in which key goals are discussed and worked towards, so any business that is trying to climb the corporate ranks should start doing the same.
Filing taxes is easily one of the most pressing burdens for entrepreneurs because nobody wants to face an audit. At the same time, you don’t want to miss out on possible deductions either, and you don’t want to negate some of the money you could be saving by having to pay for the services of a tax professional either. While using a tax software without the guidance or advice of a professional isn’t recommended for novice business owners, experienced entrepreneurs are able to take care of their own tax filing in a relatively streamlined manner by using tools like QuickBooks.
Brand Image Development
Developing an impressive brand image will always be a primary goal for any upcoming business. Since entrepreneurs are generally trying to manage more than one business, eventually most of them encounter the need to simplify the creation of pleasing aesthetics that complement the credibility of their brands. As such, many business-minded individuals are venturing into graphic design to contribute towards the creation of their own logos, product packaging, website design, and other aesthetic factors that influence brand perception.
Project management is another area of business operation that the web has made easier. Project management platforms have seen a dramatic increase in popularity during the past 5 years, with many large corporations adopting their use to streamline task allocation, idea and file sharing, and digital collaborations.
Assembling a list of email contacts for some of your leads is an essential step in creating pre-launch momentum and establishing an authoritative reputation with a refined audience that will convert well within your niche. Email marketing tools make it easier to not only collect, catalog, and organize a multitude of email address, they also provide simplified interfaces for creating and sending out effective mass marketing emails.
Technological Prowess Is Often The Difference Maker
If you were to analyze the top competition taking place in all of the leading industries, what you’ll find is that the companies at the top are generally those with the most advanced technologies. This correlation is no coincidence, as every business can only be as efficient as the infrastructure that it is built around.