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Just like cleaning a building, managing a business works best when you can do it regularly and stay on top of things. But this takes up a lot of valuable time that could be better spent on the company’s core focus. Being able to manage the business responsibilities makes a big difference for long term success, so let’s look at five of the most common challenges facing SMEs in South Africa.
A business cannot thrive if it isn’t connected to the internet. It may be for simple tasks, such as checking email, or very critical services, like backups. But connectivity can be unpredictable, unreliable and slow. This can have a big impact on productivity. Fortunately broadband internet is delivering reliable and affordable internet. Fibre services make backups fast and cost-effective, because you can use cloud services and not worry about paying for security or more hard drives. It’s no surprise than nearly half of South African SMEs use cloud services, according to research by World Wide Worx. Staff can also take the office with them, thanks to high-speed mobile services such as LTE and the Vodacom Broadband Connect Wireless products.
If a business cannot generate quotes, send invoices or keep on top of its accounting, it will eventually get into trouble. Poor accounting often leaves money on the table: many companies write off or miss out on payments due to bad accounting. Proper accounting software can be expensive and complicated, so businesses try to do without. Yet it is much more affordable to access reliable accounting services these days. Local businesses have been flocking to Sage’s user-friendly online cloud accounting software, included in the Vodacom Business Booster app. Using a mobile device, it’s never been easier to send financial documents to customers, manage costs and keep track of the cash that a business needs to survive.
Good accounting will help a business keep track of its costs. But when every cent matters, as it does at SMEs, it’s also important to be able to control costs. Communication costs are a prime example of this: they are crucial to the company and yet can easily get out of hand. Many smaller businesses struggle to monitor and control their communications spend. Fortunately there are numerous modern tools that help SMEs manage this, such as Vodacom Spend Manager. Today’s software services offer easy reporting to see exactly where communication costs are going. The data can be exported to other business systems to make planning easier, and the software can be accessed through subscription services.
People, both the employees and the other professionals they engage, are the beating heart of the business. Their collaboration lead to ideas, solutions and breakthroughs. It may be a brief meeting with a client or a big brainstorming session between colleagues, but the business will eventually struggle when these moments don’t happen. Once it meant putting everyone in the same room, until conference and video technologies came along. Once the domain of large enterprises, today there are many affordable and highly effective collaboration systems that SMEs can use affordably. Services such as Microsoft Sharepoint or Vodacom Conference Connect make it easy to get people together or let them share content with each other, no matter where they are.
Imagine if a virus, such as ransomware, gets onto your computers. It is a nightmare - and that’s if you have a large IT department. SMEs can’t always afford IT professionals, which means the company owners spend much time running IT systems, taking away focus on their business. Fortunately the combination of smart technology, intelligent monitoring and massive scale have enabled affordable and intuitive solutions. One example is Vodacom’s Virtual CIO, a subscription services that protects business devices, backs up files and helps resolve network issues. You no longer need to spend a fortune to hire IT talent: such services evaluate your technology, ensure the right security and disaster recovery measures are in place and give you peace of mind, all part of a small monthly subscription.
Being a business is tough but rewarding. There are many things that can consume resources or draw attention from the company’s vision and goals. But the right services can meet those challenges. Modern technology has made it possible for SMEs to access the tools of large companies, without paying a fortune for them. So if there is a process struggling in your business, don’t lose heart. Take a look around and you’ll find many new and exciting solutions for your problems.