This is an excellent time to be a small business. Cloud computing and the development of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model have leveled the playing field, and today small businesses have access to the same software applications that in the past only the big companies could afford. With this new power to compete, one of the areas small businesses should consider is knowledge management.
Today’s economy is based on knowledge—not just information, but what we can do with that information. Developing a knowledge management strategy and investing in knowledge management system software can help small businesses stay competitive in today’s business environment. Here’s how.
Ensure knowledge is distributed across departments and employees
In large companies with many employees, people tend to have specialized roles. But in small businesses, employees are often generalists, thus requiring access to information from different parts of the organization. Knowledge management system software can help small businesses organize their information so that all employees have access to the knowledge they need.
Compensate for employee turnover
In the United States, people change jobs between 10 and 15 times, averaging only four years in a position. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to loss from employee turnover because a large amount of an organization’s knowledge may be stored in each individual employee. Knowledge management can help small businesses retain their organizational knowledge even in the face of high employee turnover.
Make the most of human capital
Small businesses don’t have the same access to financial or technological capital as large corporations, so they must make the most of their human capital. Capturing, storing, and distributing information via knowledge management system software is one way small businesses can access and utilize the human resources that they depend on so heavily.
Benefit from existing culture of sharing
Small businesses often already have a culture of sharing knowledge and resources among employees—in fact, they depend on it. Knowledge management can be seen as a way of formalizing the practices that already exist informally within the company.
Decrease training time and resources
Training new employees takes time and money, resources that small businesses cannot always afford. Proper knowledge management can keep companies from having to reinvent the wheel every time training is needed—new hires can be referred to the appropriate place in the organization’s knowledgebase or training materials can be developed from the information collected over the years.
Reduce customer service tickets
Excellent customer service is one area where small businesses can really distinguish themselves. Knowledge management system software incorporates not only a method for storing an organization’s collective knowledge, but also a forum for customers to find answers to their questions quickly and easily. This reduces the number of calls service reps need to handle as well as provides customers with fast and efficient solutions to their problems. In this way, knowledge management can help small businesses adopt a more customer-centric focus.
Increase brand awareness
Knowledge management can raise brand awareness and increase customer interaction with the brand. Hosting an external knowledgebase increases a company’s online presence and also provides a vehicle for customers to interact with the business and with one another by asking questions and leaving feedback.
Position for future growth
Finally, one of the most important reasons for small businesses to engage in knowledge management is so they can position themselves to expand and compete well into the future. Capturing and organizing information using knowledge management system software can ensure that when the time for growth comes, the necessary information will be available to support that growth.
Today’s small businesses have everything to gain from implementing knowledge management. The easiest way to do this is by using knowledge management system software such as ProProfs Knowledgebase, which is a cloud-based SaaS application available via subscription. Give your business a boost by adopting a knowledge management strategy today.
About the Author
Sameer Bhatia is founder & CEO of ProProfs.com which is a leading provider of online learning tools for building, testing, and applying knowledge. Through its Knowledge base Software, ProProfs offers marketers and trainers powerful-but-simple features without requiring them to download or learn expensive software. Sameer has a background is in technology with a Masters in Computer Science from USC (University Of Southern California) and is an ed-tech industry veteran. You can find Sameer on Google+ and Twitter.