Small businesses have some advantages over their larger competitors. They can sense and respond to new customer demands quickly. They can turn on a dime when market drivers suddenly change. They’re not held back by bureaucracy, outmoded ways of doing business, or fear of new business models.
But when it comes to technology, large enterprises often gain the upper hand. They can afford the most sophisticated hardware and software. They can implement the latest and greatest features. They benefit from economies of scale. And they can field large application development teams to design any software functionality they can’t buy off the shelf.
Yet there’s one technology that levels the playing field for small businesses: no-code application development. A no-code app builder can give even the smallest startup the same capacity as an industry juggernaut to create customized capabilities that improve processes and serve customers better.
No-code: Big Trend for Small Business
A no-code application development tool enables non-technical team members to create sophisticated applications quickly and easily. Business users build applications simply by dragging and dropping reusable software elements onto a digital canvas. Behind the scenes, the tool assembles a functional, stable and secure application.
No-code is being embraced by small and midsize businesses (SMBs). In fact, 56% of SMBs have plans to increase their use of no-code and low-code tools compared to other enterprise software, according to Accenture. And for good reason. Here are five ways small companies can improve their business with no-code:
1. Avoid complex application development.
Application development is challenging, costly and time-consuming, for many reasons. First, it can be tough for small businesses to attract and retain experienced coders. Plus, those coders command high salaries. Then there’s the development process itself, which can require months of coding, reviews and testing before even the simplest software is ready for use.
No-code does away with all that. With no-code, “citizen developers” – virtually any business users in your company – follow a simple, proven process to quickly assemble secure and stable software. There’s no need for extensive training, technical expertise, or lengthy development cycles. It’s no surprise Accenture says 20% of SMBs are pursuing no-code and low-code because of the scarcity of technical staff.
2. Empower workers.
Your employees understand the workflows they manage every day. They also know the kinds of improvements that will eliminate redundant process steps and increase productivity. No-code empowers your employees by letting them apply their intimate knowledge of your business to continually improve it.
No-code-optimized webforms and workflows can make employees happier and more productive in their work. And the ability to take control of their workflows can make employees more engaged. That in itself can make your teams more efficient, as productivity for highly engaged teams is 14% higher than for teams with low engagement, according to Gallup.
3. Enable remote work.
The Covid-19 pandemic forced many small businesses to pivot to remote work where possible. Now that employees are working remotely, many want to keep it that way.
No-code can help. No-code apps are an effective way to enable remote workers and optimize remote work. No-code tools deliver robust interfaces that make business applications easier to use. They provide secure forms for fast data capture, data sharing and reporting. And they assemble sophisticated workflows that automate and accelerate both internal and customer-facing processes.
4. Optimize workflows.
No-code is an effective way to create workflow apps – software that partially or fully automates the steps to complete a task.
Workflow apps typically route information along a defined path, from data entry to reviews and approvals. The apps automatically guide each step along the way, triggering actions and issuing alerts. They can also measure workflow performance, so you can monitor how well workflows are functioning.
SMBs are using no-code and low-code for a variety of workflow-related purposes. According to the aforementioned Accenture research, those purposes include establishing new business rules and process controls (49% of respondents), building new process flows to complement other software (44%), creating new user experiences (41%), developing new business apps (37%), and offering new customer-facing apps (37%).
5. Drive faster growth.
Most small businesses want to grow – fast. No-code can help in three essential ways.
First, you can automate processes for greater efficiency. You can create applications that streamline repetitive but business-critical processes. Results include fewer errors, smoother operations, and more time for customer-facing activities.
Second, you can rapidly respond to changing needs. Because no-code tools are so easy to use, team members can quickly tweak forms and workflows to reflect new ways of doing business or even to meet a specific customer’s needs.
Last, you can drive continual business improvement. The more forms you digitize and workflows you automate, the faster you can complete repetitive tasks. And as team members become advocates for no-code development, they can foster a culture of innovation that encourages everyone in your organization to make digital improvements.
In fact, Accenture’s research shows that SMBs are gaining a wide range of benefits from no-code and low-code, including greater business agility (79% of respondents), faster speed to market (56%) and higher productivity (53%).
Ultimately, no-code app builders can help you enhance customer experiences. You can improve internal operations to focus on customer service, and you can find new ways to digitize how you serve customers. That’s powerful. After all, for businesses large and small alike, winning customers is the key to success.