In recent years, we’ve had the privilege of speaking to hundreds of small to medium business (SMB) owners about their goals for the future, and their strategies for reaching these goals. These conversations inevitably include a discussion of the issues that are keeping them up at night.

Something we noticed from these conversations was how many SMBs were struggling with the same issues. As DocuSign is designed to make things easier for businesses, we wanted to highlight the big issues that SMBs face – but also how they can solve them.

1. New ways to reduce costs

Across the board, businesses continue to look for ways to reduce costs. Since the dawn of capitalism, this has been an enduring business issue – after all, lower costs equal higher margins. What changes is the way that cost reductions are achieved.

These days, there are new technologies designed to automate business tasks, streamline admin and save time. So, ditch the manual and time-consuming processes – which involve printing, posting and filing paper-based agreement documents – and embrace digital solutions.

2. The increased speed of transactions

In today’s fast-paced world, having to wait weeks, days or even hours for a contract or agreement to be signed is no longer acceptable. Businesses are feeling the pressure from time-poor customers and suppliers, who are becoming impatient with those that don’t deliver in an instant. Delays in the delivery of signed documents can increase the risk of opportunity lost. Time delays can also make it harder to meet end-of-month or end-of-quarter targets – SMBs welcome strategies to speed up the process of revenue-raising.

3. Friction-free experiences

Along with the increased need for speed is the expectation from customers that things are going to be easy. Customers don’t want to jump through multiple hoops to get to their destination – they expect the service provider to have systems talk to each other. For example, it’s no longer acceptable to collect customer information multiple times. Once their information is entered in one system, it should be automatically updated or accessed across all business platforms.

4. Real-time visibility

Digitally savvy staff are sick of having to shuffle through piles of paperwork to find the answers they need. With the wide range of tools available today, it’s simply not necessary. Businesses can gain visibility into transactions in real-time and extract powerful insights for business decision-making.

Real-time visibility also enhances the customer experience, enabling faster response to customer queries.

5. Tightening the rules on compliance

As privacy laws and compliance regulations tighten, businesses are keenly aware of the importance of maintaining highly secure, transparent systems that meet specific regulations. Not only do they need the ability to trace transactions, but also with collecting consent for data – thanks to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), introduced in May 2018.  The smarter businesses are using eSignature solutions to collect customer consent in a simple, and completely compliant way.

Solving these issues

For many businesses, the good news is that these issues are easily solvable with fast, simple and cost-effective digital solutions. To learn more, read our eBook on the Top 10 ways SMBs are creating value with eSignatures.