It’s a challenge that every SMB faces: Finding the right digital tools for scaling up while also meeting you where you are. Oh yeah, and you have to think about your budget.
Let’s talk about why software solutions fail to adequately support small and medium-sized businesses and how Workhorse is changing things for the better.
How software solutions can fail SMBs
In the beginning, most SMBs start tracking their data with spreadsheets. They’re a simple, flexible, and affordable way to kick things off. But at the first sign of growth and change, you’re going to feel these spreadsheets begin to creak.
That’s because spreadsheets alone aren’t designed to support your business. Emphasis on “your” business. No two startups are alike, yet spreadsheets (and most software solutions) are one-size-fits-all.
The one-size-fits-all approach happens when software is either too limited in scope (spreadsheets) or much too broad (enterprise-grade solutions). SMBs need software that’s somewhere in between, starting small and focused while steadily growing to match their unique needs.
Building software with SMBs in mind
To change this, Workhorse wanted to create software with SMBs in mind. We started at Step One.
What it takes to build a platform from scratch
The first step in creating software for SMBs is to focus on the database layer. Like a spreadsheet, this involves determining how and where you’ll store your data. It’s the functional foundation of a platform.
Next, you need to build the front-facing layer. This is the part of the software that you, the user, interact with daily. Making the interface easy to use, feature-packed, and powerful is key to making a platform viable in the long term.
Finally, you need to add a middle layer to facilitate communication between the database and front-facing layer.
Adding the “meta-layer”
The problem with this approach is that each of these layers is separated and built around the other. This creates a fixed system that can’t adapt to your business’s unique needs. Hence the large number of one-size-fits-all apps we mentioned earlier.
So how do you fix this? Workhorse’s solution has been to add what we call a “meta-layer”. The meta-layer sits on top of the front, middle, and back-end layers.
In doing so, the meta-layer facilitates communication and configuration between each of these layers. This meta-layer lets users (and our developers) reconfigure, remove, or add features to your version of the Workhorse platform. The meta-layer adapts everything to continue working as before, no matter how it’s configured.
Bringing together the best aspects of configurability and functionality
The Workhorse platform was designed to bring our users the best parts of configurability and functionality. You can access as many or as few features as you like. When you need more, you can add more, and when you need less, you can remove features.
Workhorse can even develop bespoke features for your business, creating a platform that meshes perfectly with your SMB’s workflow.
This creates the ideal setup for SMBs: A platform that conforms to your needs, budget, and workflows — not the other way around.
Software that helps SMBs grow
As mentioned at the start of this post, the challenge of software isn’t just that it’s one-size-fits-all, but also that it doesn’t grow or change with your business. This rigidity limits your ability to grow and change, putting you behind the competition.
Below are the unique considerations to consider when choosing software to help you scale.
Moving beyond spreadsheets
Spreadsheets are a great solution when you’re just starting. They’re easy to use, cost-effective, and offer a lot of upfront versatility.
The more you grow, however, the less effective they become. They offer limited features, can be challenging to automate, and become more complex and restrictive as your needs increase.
That’s why SMBs need to move beyond spreadsheets. Abandoning spreadsheets for more powerful platforms will give you the ability to scale faster and farther, accomplish more in less time, and increase the visibility of your data.
Visibility, efficiency, and control
These are the three factors you need to have at your disposal to scale reliably: Visibility, efficiency, and control.
Visibility means having a clear picture of your data in real-time and at all times. At a glance, you should be able to check your most important metrics, understand how they’re being influenced, and be able to make decisions to improve and build on them.
Efficiency is about saving time and boosting productivity. Software can help in both areas by automating tasks for you, reducing errors, and pulling simple insights from complex datasets.
Control is all about being able to act on your decisions swiftly. When looking at your data, you need to interpret and utilise it quickly. The right software can give you the communication and integration features you need to make things happen.
Software that helps you scale and transition
Software should help your SMB scale and transition. These are the most important challenges a business can take on. But they’re also the most difficult. A period of growth can quickly flip into a period of over-stretching your capabilities. Transition can become a flop at the drop of a hat.
The right software should support you as your business grows and adapts to help you avoid these pitfalls. It should change with you, bring ease in the complexity, and have solutions ready when problems inevitably arise.
How Workhorse is designed to help you grow
We kept all of the above in mind while building Workhorse. With every new feature, the structure of the platform, and the interface, we crafted the software around these values.
Configurability is key
Out of all of our platform’s features, configurability is the most important. It’s the backbone of what makes Workhorse work for our users. We want to make sure your software works the way you want it to — not the way we want.
Having the ability to remove or add features as you need means you won’t be paying for features that you don’t need. It also means less information gets between you and your most critical metrics.
Easy to use
Of course, no software is ideal unless it’s easy to use. Anyone in your operation should be able pick up a piece of new software and understand it. User-friendly software reduces training time and costs, empowers your staff, and gives everyone a quick insight into what matters — including you.
With Workhorse, you don’t have to be tech-savvy in the slightest. Our tools are made to be effective, efficient, and crucially simple.
Person-to-person, user-specific feature sets
Workhorse follows the same principles to support our customers and design our software. That means offering a personalised, user-specific approach to supporting your business.
We’ll work with you to develop the tools you need to succeed. We’ll configure our platform to your standards and requirements, help your team understand how to best use our tools, and create a workflow that’s all your own.
The Workhorse difference
There’s very little Workhorse doesn’t do for its customers. We’ll work with you to develop integrations with the tools you use most — not just what’s popular. We’ll also add features to maximise flexibility and personalisation so that you can focus on what matters most — your growth and success.
You can reach out to our team today to learn more about Workhorse and how our platform can empower your SMB.