Futureproof your business with tech
Research shows that investment in technology will be a key priority for small and medium-sized businesses over the next 12 months, alongside recruiting staff and marketing.
This article explores how even a modest spend on new or upgraded tech could help your business weather tough times and even grow.
In the latest Barclaycard SME Barometer, close to a third (29%) of small and medium-sized businesses are planning to invest in new equipment or technologies, while a fifth (20%) are planning to upgrade existing technologies. This puts new tech investment on a par with planned marketing spend (29%), with only recruiting new staff a higher priority (33%)
It’s clear SMEs are making sizable investments to futureproof their business with the latest innovations. Of those making investment, over 40% are planning to spend over £10k on new tech and over 30% are planning to spend over £20k on upgrading existing tech.
For some businesses, especially those in high-paced tech sectors, there’s pressure to invest to remain relevant and competitive. In fact, 9% of businesses saw technology as the greatest opportunity for their business over the next year.
However, for other businesses, tech investment can be part of a broader strategy to build resilience and be ready for new opportunities. The question becomes less about the technology itself, and more about where your investment could make the greatest difference.
Giving customers more ways to pay
A fifth of businesses (20%) are investing in accepting new payment methods over the next 12 months. Helping customers to pay using their preferred methods – such as digital wallets and buy now pay later – should be a key priority for SMEs to avoid losing out on precious future sales, especially when three in five customers would give up on a purchase if they can’t pay in their preferred way.1
Key things to consider:
- How reliable, secure and easy-to-use are your current ways of accepting payments?
- Are your customers able to pay quickly and conveniently? For example, do they have a choice over where and when they pay?
- Could alternative payment methods, such as digital wallets, help you capture more sales?
Barclaycard can help businesses accept a wide range of payment methods wherever they do business, whether that’s in-store, online or on the go. They could even get paid fast with next-day settlement.*
Taking back control of cashflow management
For an SME, keeping tabs on the amount of cash moving in and out of the business can be a headache. Just 23% of businesses said that they’re investing in more technologies to better manage cashflow this year.
But if you want to futureproof your business and preserve your cashflow in the long run, investing in technology to help you monitor and control spending is essential.
Key things to consider:
- How easy is it to keep track of your turnover and expenditure? How much time is spent on preparing end-of-year accounts?
- Are you using multiple services to help manage different aspects of your accounts that might be better consolidated into one?
- Could you take more control with a cloud-based accounting platform that’s Making Tax Digital-compliant?
Barclaycard Payments customers get free access to FreshBooks Plus**, which could enable SMEs to send unlimited invoices to up to 50 clients, automatically track expenses on iOS and Android, and make informed business decisions thanks to detailed financial reporting.
Freeing up time and frustration by ditching old tech
Obsolete processes and technology, such as outdated hardware and software, can stall a business’s growth and progress. It’s easy for these to be overlooked, as they can simply become part of ‘how we do things here’. However, there are massive opportunities to take a leap forward by scrapping cumbersome or unreliable methods or tech. Get it right and you could free up time to focus more on customers and business.
Key things to consider:
- Take stock of the processes, technology and software you use – identify their purpose, benefits and downsides.
- Make a list of the potential benefits that would result from upgrading or replacing your tech – this can help you to prioritise the impact of any changes you make.
- When researching new technologies, consider the timescale for a return on your investment.
Barclaycard can help your business keep track of stock and manage bookings while allowing access to vital data in-store, or even on the go, with the online portal. Our all-in-one EPOS solution, Smartpay Touch, integrates payment and business management solutions that could boost your efficiency and productivity as well as saving valuable time on admin.
How making the tech leap forward can really pay off
Established in 2017, award-winning conveyancing firm Aconveyancing have set out to be change leaders in the conveyancing industry. While they had innovated in other areas, how they handled payment and admin were holding them back.
We needed to make onboarding and paying easier for our clients, especially younger and more digitally minded customers
“Few people love paperwork, so we needed to simplify what they needed to do – then we could get on with helping them complete their house purchase."
Aconveyancing introduced new app technology to allow staff to onboard clients quickly from their laptops. It also helped perform ID verification to reduce the risk of fraud. “It became critical when face-to-face appointments were limited by lockdowns,” added Natalie, “but it’s continued to be a significant competitive advantage for us.”
As part of the push to digitise their admin, Aconveyancing worked with Barclaycard to make it easier to take cards. “Getting rid of the hassle of taking and tracking cash payments has been amazing. Cards can be taken straight from company laptops – wherever our staff are,” said Natalie. “Not only are customers happier, but we’ve now got a secure digital paper trail that makes it easier to keep track of payments and saves us time when we need to reconcile accounts.”
Use tech to get ahead by simplifying your business
“When it comes to tech, SMEs have to think carefully about their budgets,” says Colin O’Flaherty, Head of SME at Barclaycard Payments. “The great news is that even on a limited budget, there are still solutions and new ways of doing things that can help futureproof their businesses.”
When you’re getting ready to upgrade your tech:
- Consider where it could make the greatest difference – from admin to customer experience – and be clear about what purpose you need it to serve.
- Prioritise your investments based on your specific needs and goals to achieve success.
- Be prepared to work differently – getting maximum value from tech can mean being innovative in how you use it.
1Payment Methods Report 2022, The Paypers.
*To receive next-day settlement, transactions need to be taken before 9pm. T&Cs apply.
**Free FreshBooks Plus plan available for selected Barclaycard customers only. FreshBooks reserves the right to terminate free accounts that do not belong to an existing Barclaycard customer. The partners may receive a revenue share from each other on approved applications.
Are you ready to futureproof your payments?
Being ready for tomorrow is about more than just the ability to take payments; it’s also about getting the reliability, security and support you need to grow. So, whether you’re taking payments in-store, on the go or online, we can help you find the right solution to help your business grow.