When it’s time to review your small business, you might entertain hiring new staff, outsourcing tasks or even extending your own hours. These approaches can yield some benefits but they’re not necessarily the most efficient.
Integrating the systems you use to drive your business growth is an alternative way to potentially achieve better results with less time, energy and even cost.
‘Born in the Cloud’, a 2016 report by Frost and Sullivan commissioned by NetSuite, found cloud-enabled small businesses are more likely to grow than those that mostly rely on traditional on-premises solutions. Yet many Australian small businesses are failing to realise the economic and lifestyle advantages that digital tools offer.
With that in mind, here are some examples of different business systems you can adopt to reclaim time for your business, improve customer relationships and optimise your business growth.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
2017 research by Deloitte on the digital opportunities for small businesses says the businesses with a CRM system have, on average, 44 per cent higher revenue than those with no systems or no-frills systems. This suggests any SMB serious about growth would do well to consider a CRM. So, what can a CRM do for your business?
A CRM is essentially a software solution to automate, synchronise and organise your relationships with customers and prospects. You can utilise a CRM platform to automatically prepopulate business documents, store customer and prospect information, identify sales opportunities, record service issues and manage marketing campaigns. The data that your CRM collects can also be shared between staff, which is an asset for collaboration, efficiency and productivity.
Like any business technology, however, CRM technology’s true power only surfaces when you know how to use it. Good practice for CRM adoption includes assessing the value of the data you capture, ensuring you have processes in place to keep your customer data up to date and integrating the data with your other systems.
A further survey by Frost & Sullivan showed that over 67 per cent of organisations across Australia and New Zealand state that they have gained a competitive advantage through cloud solutions, allowing them to forecast stock, manage inventory and ease business pain points such as cash flow.
Thanks to the ubiquity of technologies such as artificial intelligence and mobile devices, SMB’s now have the potential to manage inventory with unprecedented accuracy and efficiency from anywhere at any time.
Inventory management, the process of ordering, storing and supplying stock and parts, can be a precarious endeavour. But a good inventory management system enables you to update your stock levels in real-time (as soon as your products are scanned), receive immediate alerts when your stocks are out and track items that are shipping.
These key benefits amount to better control over your whole inventory lifecycle across locations, cost reductions in areas such as procurement and shipping, better customer satisfaction (tied to punctual deliveries) and increased performance management through real-time dashboards and analytics.
In a 2018 Canstar Blue survey, 87 per cent of small businesses interviewed said financial management software was beneficial to their business operations. 62 per cent said it cut professional accounting costs and 69 per cent credited financial management software for their business growth. You needn’t be an accountant to crunch those numbers and see the benefits the software is delivering for small business.
By becoming one of the many Australian small businesses to migrate to cloud financial management, you can access important financial information about your business – whether it be an outstanding invoice or an overdue payment, from anywhere you have a device and internet connection. You can collaborate more effectively with colleagues/accountant and stay-abreast of real-time updates affecting your business.
Moving your business to an integrated cloud solution delivers a holistic view of your business processes from woah-to-go, allowing you to optimise and unlock its potential for growth.
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