There’s no sugarcoating it—growing a business is tough. But when you find ways to eliminate manual tasks and better connect with customers, you might see steady business growth. Try using software to streamline processes and grow your business. How much time and energy do we save by driving instead of walking? Think of software as a car that can help you get from Point A to Point B in your business. There are so many tasks, from running payroll to managing customer relationships, that software can help with. How to grow your business using software If you want your business to grow, you need to have a strong customer base, regular profits coming in, time to devote to growth, and the ability to come up with new products or services, among others. As a business owner, it’s a good idea to delegate tasks to alleviate your time. Regardless of if you have employees or not, software can help keep your business growth on track. Depending on the type of software you need, you might find a free solution. Typically, however, you will need to pay for software. I know, I know … when you’re running a business, every cent counts. However, these tools could have a high return on investment. According to one report on businesses and technology, most small business owners invest in the following types of software: financial (accounting and payroll), productivity, point of sale, customer relationship management (CRM), and enterprise resource planning (ERP). You might use some or all of the above types of software, or you could use industry-specific programs. If you manage an online business, you could also use eCommerce software. Learn how software can help you grow your business below. 1. Streamline responsibilities As I’ve said, using software can speed up processes and free up your time to focus on your business. That alone gives you a platform to grow your business, but let’s dive deeper into how types of software can streamline responsibilities. Let’s take a look at payroll software for a minute. If you have employees, running payroll is pretty important. Through the payroll process, you enter employee hours, calculate their gross wages, withhold deductions for taxes and benefits, and give them their net pay. If you do this by hand, you could be spending a good portion of time each pay period doing manual calculations. But with software, you just need to enter the employee’s hours each pay period and let the software do the calculations. The keyword here is automate. Softwares’ automation functions let you run payroll with just a few clicks, manage information about your customers, etc. And, you won’t lose track of information because it is stored in the system. You can also streamline responsibilities by using communication software. With this type of software, your employees can communicate with one another more effectively, which leads to increased productivity and streamlined work. When you run a business, your attention is divided into a million directions. Recurring and tedious tasks can take away from your ability to focus on new ideas. By streamlining responsibilities, you can eliminate some things off your plate. 2. Increase outreach efforts Using CRM software lets you spend more time connecting with customers and channeling efforts into increasing sales. You can improve your email marketing campaigns through CRM software by tracking how many recipients open or click on your emails. With CRM software, you can also manage your leads so you can track sales activities, grow your contact list, and target marketing efforts towards individual customers. CRM features make it easier to interact and follow up with customers even after they leave your business. Other types of software can also help you indirectly increase outreach efforts. By eliminating some of your responsibilities, you can devote more time to customer relations. 3. Prevent mistakes Human error is unavoidable. But, making too many mistakes can have an extremely negative effect on your business. Accounting software can prevent errors in your accounting books. Payroll software can help you avoid incorrect tax withholding. eCommerce software can prevent sales tax miscalculations. Point-of-sale software makes it possible to keep track of discounts and current prices. And, productivity software (e.g., word processors) can prevent lost or misplaced documents. Making too many mistakes in business takes up your time, especially if the mistakes are small details that lead to big consequences. 4. Improve hiring If you’re expanding your staff, you know how much time recruiting and hiring can take. And, you need to meticulously vet candidates so you don’t hire someone who’s a bad fit for your business. One type of software, an applicant tracking system (ATS), could help. With ATS software, you can store candidate resumes in one location. And, the software will parse resumes so they are in a uniform format, and it organizes them based on which most meets the qualifications described in your job description. You can also keep notes in your software and track candidates throughout the process. HR management software can also help you to improve your hiring and onboarding process by keeping employee forms and files in one location. And, it might have time and attendance management features so you can keep track of new hires and current employees. #5. Measure your efforts What good is trying out new ideas and processes if you don’t know how effective they are? You can use your software to generate reports and measure your efforts. For example, accounting software lets you create financial statements that indicate whether your business is growing. The data shows you if you are profiting or losing money, which can help you decide where to channel your efforts. CRM software creates reports so you have access to information like customer trends. And like I said before, you can track your email marketing efforts and see what type of content gets better click rates. Choosing software I’ve talked about quite a few different types of software, but you can learn how to grow a small business using one of the many kinds available. If you decide that you want to grow your business with software, it can get tricky deciding between all the products and providers out there. Consider the following before making your decision: What your business needs Cost Features Learning curve Look around and try out some free trials before you land on a software solution. And, make sure to check out reviews and read the fine print before you buy (e.g., contracts).