business growth

Managing Growth with Business Software

In the business world, being able to grow quickly is a strategic imperative for businesses of all sizes. What small or mid-sized business (SMB) does not dream of eventually becoming an industry giant, with significant pricing power, strong brand awareness in the marketplace and a nearly unlimited supply of new orders? However, all that growth comes with a cost – as in all the extra financial and labor resources needed to manage that growth. That’s why many fast-growing SMBs are now embracing business management software to help them manage their rapid business growth.

Prepare the Foundation for Future Growth

By installing business management software at your company, you can establish a strong foundation for future growth. Many businesses are completely unprepared for rapid sales growth. As a result, when they have a bestselling product, they might find that they have a hard time keeping the product in stock – every time they get in a new shipment, it sells out quickly. Or, they might not be prepared for all the extra resources required to deal with calls, inquiries, and requests. Working overtime now and then might be a necessity, but can your SMB really afford to be living in a perpetual state where employees are working nights, weekends and holidays just to keep up with customer orders?

To handle very rapid growth, business software can have an impact in several different ways. First and most importantly, the process of automating much of your inventory or logistics is going to free up important resources, especially in terms of employee hours. Secondly, you are going to have the ability to change production planning and delivery schedules on a regular basis, and this is going to make your company much more proactive rather than just reactive to changing market conditions.

Scalability

The very best business management software is designed to scale with your business. What this means in practical terms is that you won’t “outgrow” your business software as soon as you install it. As the size and complexity of your business grows, there should be plenty of new features and new options in your business software that can help your business deal with very rapid growth. Too many business software packages are essentially “one-size-fits-all,” without the ability to scale as your business gets more complex.

As an SMB owner, you need a solution that you can use not just 3 months from now, but also 3 years from now. Most likely, your business is going to look very different in the future than it does now, and you want to make sure that you are not constantly installing, uninstalling, and re-installing new business software solutions every time you hit a new growth milestone.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Right now, would your SMB be able to adjust if a supplier suddenly could not meet its obligations? Could you manage the situation if consumer demand for a product suddenly takes off overnight, or if external market factors (such as broader changes taking place in the overall economy of your city or region) suddenly turn for (or against) you?

Most likely, if you are still managing your business with paperwork, spreadsheets, and calculators, you would have a very hard time adjusting to these huge, market-changing factors. The good news is that business management software helps you to respond to these changes. In some cases, this business solution can help you spot new trends in advance – as in the case of suppliers gradually cutting back on the volume of goods they are delivering to you within a certain product category.

And, in many other cases, business software can help you come up with intelligent solutions to common problems. By re-routing deliveries and supplies, for example, you might be able to avoid larger bottlenecks in the marketplace.

Productivity Gains

One often overlooked component of business growth is productivity. And, yet, if you take a look back at the past two decades, one of the biggest drivers of business growth in North America has been the implementation of technology throughout a business. And this trend will only continue in the future, where the pace of technological change is only increasing.

The first step in leveraging these productivity gains is making your own organization more productive, such as by extending a business software solution to more functional units and more departments, and then knitting all these units together with the same business software solution.

Finding the Right Growth Opportunities

Not all growth opportunities are created alike. Some growth opportunities – such as being able to distribute a product via new channels and platforms – might make sense for your current business. Other growth opportunities, however, might actually lead to a lot of problems for your business if you lack the right resources and the ability to allocate them properly.

For that reason, many SMB owners are now turning to business management software to help them spot the highest ROI opportunities. With a little scenario testing, for example, you can stress-test various business strategies and find out which strategy is optimal. Is it better to sell a higher volume of a low-margin product, for example, or a lower volume of a high-margin product? With business management software, you have the data, insights and information to answer these questions in a way that make sense for your business.

Key Growth Considerations to Keep in Mind

If you are preparing for rapid growth and significant changes in volume, you will want an integrated business solution to help you easily include new functions and new departments; deal with sudden or fluctuating demand; and provide transparency into key business processes. And, of course, you will need a business management software solution that provides accurate, real-time data for optimal decision-making.

Reach Your True Growth Potential

At the end of the day, business management software is all about helping your SMB reach its true growth potential. Instead of giving up new opportunities, you can easily scale into future growth. And you can do so in a natural, organic manner that leaves your company plenty of ability to navigate new market twists and turns.

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The Five Best Tips to Grow Your Business

There are five tips for growing your business that will help you get products to market faster, win more customers, boost your margins and deliver a superior experience to every stakeholder. Your competitors won’t know what just happened to them if you follow these five tips to grow your business:

1. Focus on the Customer Experience

As a rule of thumb, it’s seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one, so your business should be laser-focused on offering the best possible customer experience and encouraging your most passionate customers to become advocates and ambassadors for your business.

That means understanding what makes your best customers tick—what are their hopes, interests and expectations? Some businesses even go so far as to create customer personas that help them identify the specific types of people (ex. a single mother who works full-time and only buys premium products for her kids) that are the best customers for their business.

2. Keep an Eye on Your Cash Flow

One of the most important financial reports of any company is the statement of cash flows. It lets you know exactly how your company is converting cash into profits. Ultimately, cash flow is what lets you pay employees and vendors, pay off debts and invest in new equipment. If your business is burning cash too quickly, that could be an early warning sign that there are significant financial problems within your business.

3. Invest in a Reporting Analytics Package

Data matters more than ever in today’s hyper-competitive business landscape. With big data, you’ll be able to help you identify new customer segments, new niches, and new ways to expand. At the very least, it will give you a real-time look at how your business is performing and enable you to perform sophisticated report analysis.

4. Optimize Your Supply Chain

Just-in-time is the buzzword in inventory management and it’s a great strategy to increase efficiency and reduce inventory costs. If you have too much inventory (think of warehouses overflowing with products), you are going to tie up too much cash and impede the growth of your business. If you have too little inventory (think of nearly empty warehouses), you are going to have a very difficult time re-stocking your retail shelves. The solution is just-in-time inventory management, in which products appear exactly when they are needed. To make that a reality, you need to optimize your supply chain, so that products can make their way to your warehouse just in time.

5. Always be Innovating

In business, there’s no time to just stand still. You need to be constantly innovating, constantly pushing the envelope of what’s possible with your business. Think about what new products you can offer customers, what new niches you can explore, and how you can surprise and delight your customers.

By getting every part of your business—sales, marketing, finance, operations—working together seamlessly, you can guarantee the future success of your business, no matter how big or small it is.