Most people come into contact with dozens of small businesses every month. Providing everything from produce to legal advice, these businesses are the very backbone of the American economy. However, surviving as a small business is no easy feat. As a result of narrow margins and high competition, only a third of all SMBs survive to see their tenth year in business.
While they must manage a lot of different expenses on a daily basis, one of the biggest investments for small-scale businesses is their asset catalog. This includes everything from delivery cars to work laptops, and from accounting software to office furniture. Managing this equipment can be a mammoth task for young businesses. Not only are they not likely to be aware of the best practices of going about asset management, but they are also more likely to do it all manually.
Spreadsheet asset tracking not only leaves companies more vulnerable to errors, but it also takes up valuable time and energy. This is why automation in asset management can be a huge boon for small businesses. It helps them manage processes such as procurement, maintenance, and depreciation all from one centralized space. However, the benefits don’t end there. Automated asset tracking can actually help your business overcome crucial small business obstacles. Let’s look at just 5 of these below.
Improving agility by streamlining tasks
For new businesses, agility can be quite a challenge. This is because larger companies have flexible budgets that allow them to be a lot more responsive to pressing concerns. They also have a larger workforce and departments that are allowed to focus on specific aspects of the business. Smaller businesses, on the other hand, often have to put a lot of time into different domains in order to get the same results. In fact, 38% of small businesses say that time management is a huge obstacle to their success.
Of course, agility must not be increased at the expense of employee satisfaction or product quality. This is why it is extremely important for small businesses to learn how to streamline their operational processes. Automating asset management can improve productivity while keeping other things constant. This is because it allows you to optimize tasks relating to requisition, work order management, asset custodianship, and more. At the same time, it also alleviates inefficiencies springing from lost items, incorrect orders, or unaccountable employees. Less time spent taking care of administrative burdens means more time to think about growing and improving your business!
Motivating employees by creating a conducive work environment
Motivating employees can be done in a lot of ways. You can give them incentives for a job well done, keep all communication channels open, and offer them training that helps them become better at what they do. Another great way to motivate your staff is to create an environment that makes it easier to get work done. Eliminating work disturbances is therefore extremely important. In fact, 69% of full-time employees say that distraction at work is a huge problem for them.
A great way to remedy this is by putting fewer obstacles in your staff’s way, lowering administrative red tape, and establishing improved standards of accountability so that people can’t get blamed for things not under their control. Automating asset management can help you do all of this! It ensures that employees have all the tools they need to get their job done and that there are systems in place that can help them get broken tools or office assets fixed quickly. You’re also guaranteed to never have stock shortages or to waste time looking for items that “were just here yesterday!”. How’s that for convenience?
Making the right decisions through in-depth analytics
Data is everything these days. It governs most decisions business make, from how they spend their money to who they spend it on. This puts small businesses in a rut, however. With tighter margins and smaller budgets, they can’t really afford to make the wrong decisions, but at the same time, they can’t afford data consultants or deep learning engineers.
This becomes all the more concerning when you realize that around two-thirds of all SMB owners are personally responsible for three or more functional areas of their business, such as finance, sales, customer service, etc. No one can be knowledgeable in domains as varied as these, which must mean that a lot of decisions are made on nothing more than guesses or gut feelings.
Automating certain aspects of your business can, therefore, go a long way towards improving business insights. You should pay particular attention to asset tracking reports, as they can tell you a great deal about asset utilization. This helps you understand when maintaining an item is costlier than purchasing a new one. Similarly, an audit report lets you see when and where assets were lost, improving your chances of recovering them and holding appropriate employees accountable. All of this allows you to see trends, future opportunities and greatly improves the quality of your business decisions.
Managing cash flow by lowering costs and improving ROI
It’s no secret that small businesses are often strapped for cash. According to a U.S Bank study, 82% of all business failures are attributed to poor cash flow, and it’s easy to see why. Smaller businesses – which make up a majority of all business operations in the US – can’t benefit from economies of scale, can’t afford expertise in areas that can help them lower costs, and often can’t find time to find opportunities that could help them improve their ROI.
Automation is key when it comes to managing cash flow. Of course, there are a lot of accounting software solutions that enable businesses to manage their funds in a more literal sense. However, other solutions can help regulate cashflow in surprising ways. Take an asset management platform, as an example. It gives you visibility into all your items, allowing you to see when things have been lost, misplaced, or stolen. It also ensures you’re not paying taxes on ‘ghost assets’ – assets that you think you own when you don’t! Also, robust inventory management allows you to be a great deal more ‘lean’ in your processes. This means fewer redundancies and far less money spent on storage costs. All of this helps you keep to your budget, and improves returns on investment across the board.
Manage regulatory compliance through routinized maintenance
Compliance can be a scary word for small businesses. It implies a lot of research, an attention to detail, and a rigorous adherence to very specific standards. In fact, a study carried out by the National Business Association found that regulatory burdens were seen as a ‘significant challenge to future growth’ by 29% of all respondents. This is because achieving compliance can often cost businesses a lot of money, and uses up a fair amount of valuable employee time as well. These are all crucial resources when you’re trying to expand your operations.
Asset maintenance can be a huge help to businesses on the road to regulatory compliance. Since a lot of these standards revolve around health and safety, regular maintenance can ensure that all business equipment, heavy machinery, and fixtures and fittings are serviced or inspected as often as needed. This can allay a lot of the anxiety around achieving compliance standards. In addition to this, regular audits are also great in flagging up when things aren’t up to scratch. These audit reports can also be sent to regulatory agencies along with other documentation to reinforce your regulatory status.
Overcoming small business bottlenecks with asset tracking automation
Small business face a unique set of challenges that set them apart from other business operations. With fewer resources and less room to make mistakes, small businesses have to exploit every avenue they can in order to thrive.
Automation in asset management not only helps these businesses tag and track their assets, but also has a host of additional benefits that spill over into other aspects of their operations. It is no surprise, then, that a lot of small businesses are increasingly making use of automation to lower costs, improve efficiency, and motivate employees to do their best.