According to technology firm Insight, only 53 percent of small businesses currently have a website. In 2019, that statistic speaks to just how reluctant many small businesses are to invest in technology. Even in an era where the vast majority of people find local businesses through search engines, many entrepreneurs avoid this critical aspect. If nearly half of small businesses still don’t have a website, it’s probably safe to assume that even more are hesitant about business software. Small business owners worry that software solutions are too expensive and too complicated. Some feel that these platforms are exclusive to larger companies with the bandwidth to take on a major operational overhaul. Rather, it gives the impression they’re for “insiders” who can smoothly navigate a sophisticated technology landscape that’s rapidly evolving.
The truth is that business software has evolved in a direction that’s made it more accessible. Understanding how much up-front costs have decreased in recent years is the first step to overcoming tech anxiety. The second is becoming aware of the ways software providers can teach their clients how to use these platforms. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways small businesses can grow more comfortable with enterprise software.
Only 53 percent of small businesses currently have a website. In 2019, that statistic speaks to just how reluctant many small businesses are to invest in technology.
Understand the Subscription Model
Many small business owners never even get past the primary source of software anxiety: cost. These entrepreneurs have a firmly rooted belief that business software will cost them thousands of dollars right away. Further, they dread the idea of having to go into debt that will take years to dig out of. Today, though, hundreds of business software providers have embraced a subscription service model. This means that small businesses don’t have any up-front costs to get started. Instead, they pay monthly, sometimes as little as $20 a month or less. There are few restrictions, and most business software platforms won’t hold you hostage in long-term contracts. When business owners grasp how much the pricing structure has transformed recently, they’ll immediately feel more at ease.
Reach Out to Providers
If you’ve ever visited a business software provider’s website, you probably noticed that they don’t exactly hide their contact information. These companies are eager for potential clients to get in touch. Small business owners should take advantage of this level of accessibility, and use those contacts as resources. There are, obviously, no obligations with a phone call, or even a free demo. These resources give entrepreneurs a chance to learn more about features, pricing, statistics, and the implementation process. Some people tend to think of the inner workings of business software as some kind of secret knowledge. The reality, however, is that providers are happy to enlighten you—even if you don’t end up purchasing their product. Ask them questions, request a demo, and learn more about what features are going to work best for your business.
Find Software Providers That Guide You Through Implementation
Some entrepreneurs fear that once they purchase their software, they’ll be left to figure it out on their own. Without a technology department or even a technologically savvy staff member, that’s a very rational fear. But here’s the thing: the top-line software providers will walk their clients through the entire implementation process. This is the perfect window for your entire staff to learn how to use the platform and integrate it into their daily workflow. Business software vendors don’t expect their clients to have any background knowledge in FSM or WOMS or CRM. It’s their responsibility to guide those clients through their software. Their goal should be to get clients to where they’re maximizing the platform’s benefits for their enterprise every day.
Know What the Cloud Is and Isn’t
It sounds vague and wispy and intangible, and it’s hard to wrap our heads around what the cloud is exactly. Misconceptions and a general lack of knowledge about this technology have compounded preexisting fears. It’s important to put those ideas to rest. Because it’s the cloud that has made business software as affordable as it is today. Cloud-based technology is what enables organizations to use business software without having to purchase and store major hardware. It gives clients the same memory, disk space, and processing speeds they got with older IT solutions except without requiring any of the bulky, expensive data servers. The cloud is what makes this era of business software as customizable and accessible as it is. Because of that, it’s the chief reason why small business owners should be interested in a software solution in 2019.
Involve Your Staff in the Learning Process
But it’s not enough for small business owners to overcome their own anxieties about business software. If they value consensus, employee morale, and a collaborative approach, they also need to soothe doubts among their team. The best way to do this is by simply involving employees in the entire learning process. Tell them early on that you’re starting to explore software platforms for your business. Show them different possibilities, and statistics on how business software improves efficiency and productivity. That patient approach, with an emphasis on listening and receptivity, will pay dividends in the long run. The more you communicate each step of your decision-making process with your team, the more respected and valued they’ll feel. And the more respected and valued they feel, the more willing they’ll be to keep an open mind to your decisions.
For more ways to help retain your valuable employees in regards to small business software, read here.
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