Small business operations simply cannot afford to not be efficient and streamlined in the competitive landscape of modern markets.

Leveraging technology has fast become one of the key ways in which this interdependence of finance and operations in a business can be best facilitated. Nonetheless, many small businesses face common challenges in streamlining their business operations.

The ever-changing nature and recent advancements in technology offer powerful but often overwhelming solutions for streamlining small business operations, enhancing financial processing and ultimately improving a business’s chances of success.

Why is streamlining operations important?

Ultimately, it all comes down to resources. Whether the resource in question is labour, time, money, or energy, small businesses often struggle to access enough of the resources required to meet the needs of their operations. Better yet, to streamline the operations as much as possible.

The more streamlined business operations are, i.e., the less inefficiency and more maximised productivity levels, the more potential there is to improve the bottom line of a company and fuel ongoing growth and success.

Inefficient business operations can often cause a business with potential to fail due to the misallocation of resources and inability to capitalise on market opportunities due to the lack of resources available.

Fortunately, the increasingly significant advancement in technology and availability of affordable technological solutions to businesses of all sizes has helped small companies streamline their operations in a myriad of ways that were once considered near impossible.

Common Business Operations and Finance Challenges

1. Solving Manual Processes

Small businesses, without the resources or access to working capital that larger companies have, often rely on more manual processes for tasks such as inventory or asset management, order processing and even customer relationship management.

The rise and popularity of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software has changed the game here. Leveraging these new technologies and systems–and their counterparts in inventory management, automated processing and the like–can significantly streamline processes within a business, as well as reduce the number of errors made and the pace at which operations can run.

There are a variety of different process automation software programs out there that allow for the streamlining of repetitive tasks and save time across a variety of processes, such as Zapier and Integromat.

When it comes to Customer Relationship Management systems, there are plenty of industry-specific options as well as general business management options such as Salesforce or HubSpot.

2. Limited Access to Data

Data is knowledge and knowledge is power, especially in the world of strategic decision making and business management. Small businesses struggling to access real-time, comprehensive and accurate data can find themselves hindered when it comes to making informed and strategic decisions.

There are more and more cloud-based, social network-based and other business intelligence tools designed for businesses of all sizes in the modern technology landscape. This instantaneous, reliable access to critical data allows business, even small and medium sized ones, to make well-informed decisions on the go based on in-depth analysis.

3. Inefficient Communication

Small businesses often struggle to streamline operations due to inefficient communication. In any business operation, communication between teams and departments is critical for avoiding delays, minimising errors and improving offerings to customers or clients.

Collaboration tools, such as project management software, internal messaging platforms, and even remote conferencing facilities are all making seamless and instant communication easier and cheaper for businesses. As a small business, creating a culture of communication through the use of this technology early will ensure optimised business operations. 

When it comes to communication, two of the most commonly used business programs include Microsoft Teams or Slack. In conjunction with that, project management tools such as Trello and Asana are used to enhance collaboration, improve collective project tracking and ensure tasks are completed to spec and on time.

4. Cash Flow Management

Cash flow is a critical component of business operations and a key driver in determining the likelihood of a company’s success. Cash flow fluctuations are a common issue for small and medium businesses, with the impact of the fluctuations impacting the ability to meet financial obligations and ensure continued business operations.

Accounting software with features that assist cash flow management, such as accounting, expense tracking and financial reporting, are widely available nowadays. Even digital payment platforms can be utilised to expedite receivables and improve cash flow.

While there are a variety of platforms offering real-time financial tracking, invoicing and expense management programs, two of the more popular include Quickbooks and Xero.

5. Compliance Management

Compliance issues, with the ever-changing regulations and industry standards shifting, can be overwhelming for some businesses and downright impossible for others. 

Implementing strong document control software and compliance management software can help businesses stay abreast of changes and automate as many compliance tasks as possible to streamline operations through reduced resource allocation and avoid penalties.

How We Use Technology For Our Clients

In today’s fast-paced world of small business and industry, leveraging technology is critical for staying competitive operationally and financially. Whether you’re looking to automate tasks or enhance your financial management capabilities, making technology do the heavy-lifting in streamlining business operations is invaluable for SMEs across industry. 

At ScotPac, we value the leverage technology provides in ensuring our clients can access the latest offerings and services for their business finance needs. We’re constantly evolving and transforming our processes with technology to increase the speed and efficiency with which our clients can access the working capital they need to grow their business.

If you’d like to speak to one of our lending specialists to find out not just how technology can help you streamline business operations but how we use technology to help our clients, contact your nearest ScotPac office today.