Small business owners often compare themselves unfavorably to bigger competitors. But it’s good to remember that SMBs are the backbone of the economy making up 90 percent of US businesses. They must be doing something right!
Doing business with very large companies is not always fun for consumers. Very rarely is it personality, customer care or expertise that is at play. These are the strengths of small businesses, not very large ones. Quite often what drives the transaction is price, but more often it is the control of distribution channels.
For instance, many products can only be found at big box stores. Big distribution outlets are driven by factors that almost always mean they buy only from the biggest manufacturers or producers. It isn’t worth their while to purchase from small scale producers or source excellent or rare products which can’t be provided in scale. E-commerce and the various technologies associated with it have the potential to be big game changers for SMBs for this reason. The web allows SMBs to bypass the distribution channel problem and sell directly to the consumer.
For instance, when I was travelling I tasted some tea in Taiwan that I loved. But when I got home, I couldn’t find it anywhere. Not even the specialty tea chains had heard of it. But 15 minutes on the web and I had not only found it, but ordered some to be flown right to my door. Even though it was a very delicious tea, it turned out that it was also very difficult to cultivate and had to be harvested from wild tea bushes. No commercial tea distributor was interested in carrying a product where it could not be produced in large quantities and supply assured. The local tea growers and harvesters in Taiwan, however, were very happy to sell to me directly through their web channel.
There are many kinds of products, wares and services that are superior to what will fit into the distribution models of very large businesses. Small businesses can afford to source and sell them because they do not have the investment in large-scale distribution networks and all the staff and infrastructure that implies.
At this point many SMBs might point to the fact that over 50 percent of them don’t even have a website, and many that do, struggle to master all the technology associated with e-commerce. This has certainly been a barrier to e-commerce for many. Even those SMBs that have made the jump are often overwhelmed by the number of tools they have to master and the lack of integration between them.
Running a small business is not easy. In between managing inventories, maintaining visibility of sales, accounts payable and making the business digital, there is a tendency to get overwhelmed with spreadsheets and pieces of paper. Sometimes those that have tried to embrace technology complain that they spend more time doing IT then doing what they truly love.
We believe that SMB owners can reduce the time spent on running their IT and refocus it where it matters most.
This is what inspires us at Systum. We’ve designed a fully integrated SMB platform, which is also simple to learn and use. Cloud-based, it runs on all your devices. And it provides you with everything you need to manage your business: e-commerce, social marketing, inventory management and customer relationship management (CRM). And because it is all fully integrated, it is only one application and interface to learn.
Systum allows you play to your strengths as a small business while levelling the technology playing field and taking advantage of the tremendous opportunities that the web and e-commerce are making possible.
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