The 3 Biggest Challenges Small Businesses Face Today

Small Business Month is a celebration of small businesses and their contribution to the economy, as well as a recognition of the challenges they face. Learn more about how Workday supports small businesses.

Cashier working with a customer at a small retail shop.

The organizations most likely to receive the lion’s share of global media attention are inevitably multinational enterprises. Despite this, Statista shows that 90% of companies globally are small businesses, accounting for 70% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). Small Business Month, which runs for the month of May in the U.S., aims to redress the balance, highlighting the many achievements of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)—as well as the roadblocks they face.

Succeeding in such a fast-paced and competitive environment requires smaller companies to function in an increasingly similar fashion to their larger peers. More often than not, it requires them to compete with lower cash flow, more limited resources, and reduced market recognition. Gaining a competitive advantage requires business leaders to think strategically, adapt quickly, and utilize industry-leading solutions to support operations at every level of the organization.

At Workday, we’ve helped some of the largest companies in the world streamline their HR and finance systems. In doing so, we’ve developed a unique understanding of what distinguishes a successful global business from a failed venture. With over 75% of our 10,000+ customers employing fewer than 3,500 people, Workday is forever helping to level the playing field for growing businesses. Here are three of the most common challenges small businesses face, and how to navigate them efficiently.

1. Rising Costs and Complexities

The bottom line for any business, regardless of size, will always be the balance sheet. However, smaller organizations have to contend with a growing list of costs without the financial safety net afforded to large enterprises. With scarce resources and increased risks, small businesses often spend more time putting out fires rather than focusing on growth and development. Organizations that don’t innovate, however, will encounter diminishing returns.

Addressing rising costs and progressively more complicated business operations requires companies to leverage automation. By automating inefficient, manual processes, employees are freed up to focus on the bigger picture. Here are three ways Workday helps small businesses tackle these challenges head-on:

  • Consolidated systems: As businesses expand, they’re often held back by a mess of underutilized solutions and old-fashioned systems. Workday helps consolidate those systems, with one unified platform for financial management, HR, and planning. Even better, 95% of Workday deployments are delivered on time and on budget.
  • Touchless automation: The challenges facing small businesses typically require employees to be in two places at once. By automating repetitive predictable tasks, not only do you improve the accuracy of the results, but you also improve productivity and employee satisfaction.
  • Embedded AI: The “IDC FutureScape” report predicted that by 2027, two-thirds of SMBs will have increased their investment in automation. Rather than dealing with complicated integrations, the Workday cloud platform has artificial intelligence (AI) embedded at its core. Since AI is there from day one, you can natively leverage AI as part of your workflow, dramatically reducing the time to action.

“95% of Workday deployments are delivered on time and on budget.”

2. Lack of Data Insights

The shift to digitization and automation has created a status quo where a company’s data is its most important asset (aside from its people, of course). With large enterprises processing data from millions of prospects and customers every day, it’s critical that small businesses leverage their own data efficiently and effectively. Without a consolidated view of internal and external data streams, charting the right path forward can prove impossible.

Over 76% of senior finance executives say that data inaccuracy and data inconsistency top their list of pain points. As it stands, many small businesses take too long to analyze their data, which results in stale, inaccurate insights and a host of missed opportunities. Here’s how Workday ensures business leaders have a full overview of their organization:

  • One source of truth: Finding trends in your data can be impossible when your systems are siloed. Not only does Workday naturally connect your HR, finance, and IT workflows, but it also further enables the incorporation of third-party data for added context. Not only that, but our consistent security model reduces risks to your business that legacy systems leave open to exploit, protecting your sensitive data.
  • Real-time analytics: Controlling costs and making informed decisions requires businesses to have easy access to trusted data sources. With Workday, managers and employees can access workforce and operational analytics any time to support stronger, faster decision-making across the business.
  • Anomaly detection: A major roadblock to decisive action is assessing whether or not data can be trusted. With the advent of Workday AI, anomalies are detected automatically, enabling teams to spend more time on strategic work.

“Over 76% of senior finance executives say that data inaccuracy and data inconsistency top their list of pain points.”

3. Attracting and Retaining Key Talent

As an organization continues to expand, the same talent strategy won’t work forever. Scaling from a company where everyone shares the same office space to one with multiple locations requires a major shift in mentality. That applies to how you retain foundational talent, and to how you attract the right employees to address emerging skills gaps.

The success of your talent strategy hinges on the HR processes you have in place. Relying on outdated manual systems typically results in an overworked HR administration team, increased turnover risk from frustrated employees, and inefficient hiring practices. Here’s how Workday empowers your business to scale effectively without losing sight of what makes it unique:

  • Data-driven hiring: Having the right people in the right roles at the right time is critical, especially when budgets are tight. By getting a holistic view of talent and operations data in Workday, businesses are able to build and execute a hiring plan that optimizes workforce costs without sacrificing employee engagement.
  • Onboarding optimization: Without tailored, well-organized onboarding processes, new hires can often take weeks—and even months—to become properly integrated members of the workforce. Workday enables businesses to create, configure, and automate personalized onboarding and training, helping to promote stronger worker enablement and higher productivity out of the gate.
  • Skills portfolio: Organizations often struggle to get a full picture of the existing skills within their workforce, including potential gaps and opportunities for career progression and mobility. Workday includes a skills platform to consolidate worker skills and surface skills trends, supported by machine learning (ML) algorithms that provide personalized recommendations for employee growth.

“Having the right people in the right roles at the right time is critical, especially when budgets are tight.”

Move Your Business Forward With Workday

At Workday, we care about our customers. That’s why we have a 95%+ customer satisfaction rating—a rating that we’ve surpassed consistently for 10+ years. In that time, we’ve learned how organizations of every size and function work best, and now we can pass that expertise on to you. With our exclusive SMB packaging and pricing, Workday can meet your organization’s HR and finance needs today, while also setting you up for the future with a platform you won’t ever outgrow. To learn more about how Workday supports small businesses, see our dedicated SMB landing page.

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