How To Save Thousands For Your SME
As a business owner, you need to re-assess and think about the processes and individuals you have and then create a plan for improving the processes by adopting a digital transformation and going digital. It won’t happen overnight, but you have to start somewhere.
What does going digital mean?
Being digital means embracing new technologies that can help your business operate more efficiently. Digital is something SMEs of all sizes and locations can do and taking the first step, no matter how small, will help build confidence and knowledge.
Here are some examples of what you could achieve:
- An online shopfront so customers can buy directly from you
- Swapping your Excel spreadsheets for accounting software that automatically generates invoices and tracks spending
- Storing your essential sales on a secure online system making them accessible to your team even when they’re working remotely
- Automating your promotions, chasing leads and exploring customer type from one central system. This helps to introduce new ways to reach your customers, understand their wants and create consistent service
- Changing how you manage your essential data like financial information and customer contact details gives a quick win for saving you time and reducing the opportunity for human error.
A number of surveys conducted have found that around 30% of SMEs are still using spreadsheets and paper-based records for their accounts. This presents a huge risk for incorrectly filed accounts and is incredibly time consuming when you need to collate receipts, and invoices and manually check payment has been received.
Another way automation can help save time is by using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to store, track and review customer habits. Giving you better data to manage your business and your customers’ experience, it means details are entered once and stored centrally so team members can access what they need without having to chase anyone else in the team for information.
Connect your systems for better insights
If you’re thinking about what comes next on your digital adoption journey, connecting your existing systems is an ideal place to start. Linking your eCommerce and Accounting systems can provide you with deeper insights about your sales and overall business health. This can include quicker access to information, and enable improved communication between staff, suppliers and networks. Ideal if your business operates across multiple sites and has remote working staff.
Help to Grow Digital: Government Scheme
Help to Grow: Digital is one of a number of government initiatives, aimed at enabling small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to become more resilient and to take more advantage of digital technology. Starting in January 2022, this is useful new government grant now available for businesses. Business owners are now able to access a 50% discount on NEW productivity-enhancing software, worth up to £5,000 each.
Is my business eligible for the scheme?
There’s a series of criteria you need to meet for your business to be eligible for Help to Grow: Digital and access the financial discount:
- The business must be based in the UK (it can be from any business sector)
- It needs to be registered with Companies House, or a registered society that’s on the Financial Conduct Authorities Mutuals Register
- You need to employ between five and 249 people
- Your business needs to have been trading for more than 12 months, with an incorporation date of at least 365 days prior to your application
- You’re buying the approved software for the first time.
In addition to the financial discount, all businesses can benefit from free advice via the - Help to Grow: Digital online platform.
Why has the government introduced Help to Grow?
It's widely that on output per hour worked, the UK is lagging behind other G7 countries.
This productivity gap is something that the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is keen to close – and is why the government is putting £520 million into the Help to Grow scheme.
The Treasury expects that positive results from the Help to Grow scheme could add £100 billion to the UK economy. Rishi Sunak said: “Our brilliant SMEs are the backbone of our economy, creating jobs and generating prosperity – so it’s vital they can access the tools they need to succeed.
“Help to Grow will ensure they are embracing the latest technology and management training, fuelling our Plan for Jobs by boosting productivity in all corners of the UK.”