The age of the app: How small business owners can earn time

Realm Digital 07 June 2017

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) provide enormous value to South Africa’s economic growth and development. Their financial contribution to GDP (estimated at 52%) and job creation is crucial to help overcome the country’s staggering unemployment rate of 26.7%.

Macro benefits aside, the personal satisfaction of being your own boss is a key factor for many small business owners who strike out on their own. Starting your own business is not a simple endeavour though. Many entrepreneurs are challenged by access to finance and cash-flow management, and put in late hours to catch up on important tasks that fall behind.

According to research from Xero and World Wide Worx, 95% of SA’s small business owners work more than eight hours a day, with 42% working more than 10 hours and 16% working more than 12. Many would argue that investing time over and above the standard working day is par for the course when getting a new business off the ground. However, more attention is being paid globally to the importance of switching off from work and 27% of SA’s small business owners agree, stating that taking time off is critical to the success of their start-up.

Technology can help achieve that much sought after work-life balance by providing increased mobility, flexibility and efficiency – yet only 4% of SA’s business owners count their smartphone as an essential business tool. Mobile apps in particular have the power to completely revolutionise how you run your business – helping you gain valuable time by automating various mundane and time-consuming processes.

Avoid human error

Over a third of South Africa’s SME owners manage their finances manually with 40% relying on spreadsheets or even paper records. Given that 88% of all spreadsheets contain errors, checking, fixing and adjusting the numbers will eat into precious time that could be better spent elsewhere.

Sophisticated SME-friendly apps that integrate seamlessly with cloud accounting software are increasingly available to help your business avoid the cost – including both time and money – of human errors. How? By streamlining all your operational processes and automating expenditure functions.

Increase productivity and profit

Small business owners often sacrifice their own annual leave out of concern for their company’s bottom-line. Smart devices and mobile apps can help you boost your business growth by maximising every working second of your day, whether you’re in the office or on the road. When targets are reached in record time and admin is automatically taken care of, you can head off on holiday with greater confidence.

Small business owners are notorious for never having enough time for themselves – or for those closest to them. Xero’s Make or Break Research uncovered that successful entrepreneurs aren’t the ones who work around the clock. In fact, 58% of those surveyed said that family time is crucial to becoming an effective business owner.

Mobile apps can do so much more than book holiday accommodation or call you a taxi. They can help small business owners work smarter, not harder, earning them time – a priceless commodity that can ultimately determine the success of your small business.

This article was written by Xero – beautiful, easy-to-use online accounting software loved by businesses and their advisors. See why Xero is trusted by over 1 million subscribers worldwide.

Realm Digital is a global digital strategy and technology partner, specialising in mobile app development. We love seeing SME’s embracing digital transformation, and adopting technology and the use thereof in seeing smoother, and more efficient business processes.

Realm Digital is also a certified Xero Accounting Software. Get in touch with us if you are interested in Xero, or anything else we may be able to assist with.