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In recent years, software as a service (SaaS) has exploded onto the scene. Companies have sprung up offering all manner of software and, in some cases, their services along with it to help make businesses more competitive. Tools and applications that were once only available to large businesses with even larger budgets are now available and affordable to businesses of all sizes thanks to SaaS. If you are looking for a way to give your small business an edge, consider these 8 ways SaaS can make small businesses more competitive.

Simplify Your Payroll
Making sure all of your employees are paid the right amount at the right time can be a time-consuming task. However, hiring an accountant to keep up with your payroll is a cost that many small business owners simply cannot justify. This leaves them trying to keep up with payroll while at the same time juggling a thousand other tasks that are crucial to the business.

Fortunately, SaaS can help. One of the most popular SaaS companies aimed at helping small businesses affordably simplify their payroll is Gusto, which will not only automatically pay your employees but will also automatically file your local, state, and federal taxes.

Employ a Virtual Personal Assistant
Just because your business isn’t quite large enough for you to hire a secretary doesn’t mean you don’t need one. Now, though, thanks to SaaS, entrepreneurs at startup companies and business owners unable to justify hiring a full-time secretary can employ a virtual personal assistant that takes care of many of the same tasks such as coordinating meetings, booking travel arrangments, answering emails, and more.

One such SaaS is Zirtual. With Zirtual, business owners can employ remote personal assistants and delegate tasks to them. These assistants are all US based and highly trained, but thanks to the scale at which Zirtual operates, hiring them is much more affordable than it is to hire an in-person assistant. In fact, businesses owners can hire their very own virtual assistant through Zirtual for just $398 a month.

Save Abandoned Carts
If you run an e-commerce store, chances are you are unfortunately familiar with abandoned carts. In fact, studies show that right at 70% of all shopping carts are abandoned by the shopper. This means that most online businesses could more than triple their revenue if they could just convince customers to take that final, all-important step.

Now, some software services are making it easier for online store owners to reclaim some of their abandoned carts. CartHook, for example, automatically captures the email addresses of shoppers who abandon their carts and will send them automated marketing emails designed to get them to return to their cart and finish their purchase. The company claims that, on average, their service helps businesses generate 11% more income.

Automate Your Human Resources Department
Human resources is a vital part of a business, however, most small businesses cannot afford a full-blown HR department. As with most tasks, the role of an HR professional is one that often ends up being taken on by a business owner who is already spread thin.

With SaaS, though, small businesses can now automate their HR department for a price that is much more attainable. BambooHR is one such SaaS that allows employees to go in and update their information, request time off, and more. Meanwhile, those who you choose to list as administrators on the software are able to generate a wide array of customized reports that drastically streamline the HR tasks which must be completed.

Beef up Your Security
Having poor cyber-security can end up being incredibly costly. However, having good cyber-security doesn’t have to be costly at all.

Antivirus software was one of the first SaaS models to come available, and it’s still one of the most important. Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus is a popular, affordable choice for small businesses, as is Bitdefender Antivirus Plus. Software such as these is not the end-all-be-all of cyber-security, and you will certainly want to consider more comprehensive approaches such as what is offered by a professional security assessment, but they are a great place to start.

Organize Your Workforce
Often times, getting all of your employees on the same page concerning what tasks they have been assigned, when they are due, and so forth can be just as confusing and hectic as the tasks themselves. This is especially true if some of your employees are working remotely.

One SaaS that seeks to make it much easier to organize your workforce is the collaboration service Asana. With Asana, you can provide an easy-to-navigate platform for your entire workforce to communicate, assign tasks, upload supporting documents, and mark tasks as complete. Best of all, if your team is fifteen members or smaller, Asana is completely free, making it an especially attractive option for small businesses looking for an affordable way to better organize their workforce.

Optimize Your Website
Optimizing your website to convert as many visitors as possible into paying customers isn’t always a simple task. Outside marketing companies can help, but their price tag is often out of reach for new start-ups and small businesses.

Automated optimization through SaaS, though, is much more affordable. One service that helps website owners gather data and use that data to optimize their website is Kissmetrics. With Kissmetrics, you can access a wealth of information about who is visiting your site and what they are doing while they are there. This data is then presented in a way that is easy to understand and act on. Software such as what is provided by Kissmetrics makes it easy to find out what works and what doesn’t on your website, simplifying the optimization process.

Monitor Your Network
If issues arise that cause your network to go down, the quicker you address them, the less damage they will cause. However, without network monitoring, issues can often go undetected for some time, especially if they occur in the middle of the night when no one is at the office to notice them.

Thanks to remote network monitoring services, though, you can be instantly notified the second a problem arises so you and your team can quickly fix it. One of the most popular network monitoring options is Spiceworks Network Monitor, which is completely free at its base level.

Conclusion
The SaaS model has made so many tools available to small to medium-sized businesses that were once only available to large companies. Thanks to this, SaaS options such as those outlined above are helping make small businesses far more competitive than they once were.

For many clients we work with, building a system of in-house IT solutions combined with outside, SaaS options is often a desirable and highly effective way to make their business more secure, efficient, and effective. If you would like to learn more about how we can help your business develop an IT setup that works best for you, feel free to contact us today.