To own and operate a small business has historically often meant scrambling to cover one need after another. Confined to relatively small stockpiles of capital, small business owners have often had to be the most resourceful business leaders of all. Although there is no doubt that the world of small business still rewards those with initiative, courage, and energy, things are becoming easier in certain important respects.

One of these is with regard to the challenge of managing customer relationships. For decades now, larger companies have been able to rely on sophisticated, centralized systems, like those provided by PeopleSoft and others, that store and allow the analysis of customer and prospect details and data points. These powerful systems make it possible for enterprise-level companies to understand how best to derive value from their customers and how to draw in new ones.

Small companies, on the other hand, have traditionally not been able to rely on such assistance. In most cases, company owners and leaders have felt compelled to take things as they came, hoping that their intuitions would guide them to success. Because enterprise-scale CRM systems often came with starting price tags of a hundred thousand dollars or more, they rarely made sense for small operations.

That is much less the case today, though. Recognizing how under-served this crucial segment of the business world has been, ambitious software makers have attacked the problem head on. A flurry of activity in recent years has produced solutions like the InTouchCRM product that aim squarely at serving small companies.

That means, to begin with, that these products are affordable. Although pricing varies depending on a number of factors, acquiring something like InTouch can be just as cost-effective as taking on a new invoicing system or the like. That means that systems and capabilities that had been entirely out of reach are now often very much a realistic option.

Even if these small business crm setups only aimed at improving efficiency, then, they might regularly be attractive. Instead, though, they target all the power that enterprise-class systems do, and many of them are said to deliver.

A case study at intouchcrm.com, for example, shows how a small business might bolster its revenues merely by adding on a CRM-enabled direct marketing campaign. Without requiring anything in the way of more payroll expenditure, then, such a system could easily pay for itself. That is good news for those who want to make the most of a small business.