How many times have you checked your phone today? 25 times? 50? Do you even notice you’re doing it anymore? According to research from Nottingham Trent University, we check our phones a remarkable 85 times a day, spending five hours a day surfing the web and checking apps.
Mobile devices have transformed us into an app-driven society, both in our personal lives and in business. In fact, our global research found that nearly three-quarters (71%) of UK small business owners rely on mobile or web-based applications to run their operations, eliminate administrative tasks and grow their firm.
It’s unsurprising that business apps have become so popular, they can benefit SMEs in many ways. Whether it’s to improve customer communication by allowing them to see and respond to requests and queries in real time, or using cloud-based tools that allow a team to access information anytime and anywhere, apps can be a simple and cost-effective solution for many of the challenges today’s SMEs face.
However, with so many apps out there, it’s important to find the right ones to meet a specific business’ needs, and not use technology for technology’s sake as sometimes, this can be more destructive than productive for a small business. Two in five (40%) UK small business owners using apps believe there are too many to choose from and are unsure of which are best suited for their business. Getting the balance right can be challenging, which is why it’s useful to carry out an analysis of the day to day business processes and from there, assess which apps can simplify and streamline these.
Identifying the apps best for your business
For many small business owners, the biggest challenges can include lack of time and money. In fact, 44% of SMEs come close to – or actually do – run out of cash within the first three years, so it’s really important to keep a close eye on the books. This is why business apps are so important, allowing SMEs to have real-time information so they can make decisions on the go and cut down administrative processes significantly.
According to the research, the number one pain point for SMEs is controlling costs and expenses and as a result, the most popular apps were those in the banking and finance category (59%) followed by payments (49%) and payroll management (37%). Let’s face it, the ability to track your finances in real-time, whether you’re on a train, sat in the office or on the sofa at home is crucial to helping small business owners stay on top of what’s coming in and going out of the business. The upshot of using these apps is that small business owners can spend less time balancing the books and more time focused on doing what they love – running their business.
With technology continually changing the way we work, doing things 'the old way' just isn’t an option for SME owners determined to ensure they stay close to customers and grow their business in the face of increasingly stiff competition. However, it’s important not to get bogged down trying to use all the apps that are out there just because others are talking about it. Business owners must make informed decisions and use apps to create efficiencies, enhance productivity and improve business processes.