Going Global is Easier Than You Think

This is a guest blog post by Curtis Barranoik, President and Managing Consultant at Cencomp Systems Solutions, located in Edmonton, AB.

There are a lot of reasons businesses decide to enter the global marketplace. It can reduce dependence on your existing markets, extend the sales life of existing products by tapping into new niches, and of course, greatly increase business profitability. The idea of going global can be frightening—it’s a big world out there, with lots of competition. However, there are ways to test your business out in different international markets without having to spend a mass amount of money, time or energy.

Make Your Products and Services Instantly Accessible

The first step to expanding your business internationally is making sure your products and services are accessible. Currency is one of the most important elements that can make customers abroad feel comfortable and confident purchasing from you. It’s a familiar reference point and they don’t need to spend time trying to figure out conversion – which can lead to hesitation and missed opportunities for you, the business owner.

Of course, selling products and services in multiple currencies isn’t straightforward—unless you have the right software for it. A multi-currency tool is the easiest and most cost-effective way to manage new, multiple currencies. It provides a seamless experience for your new customers, and allows you to test out your business in several different markets to gauge performance.

Keep a Close Eye on Profitability

Even if your business is a huge hit in one market, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be profitable in another. Make sure you select a multiple-currency tool that automatically converts sales to your base currency at the time of each transaction. This will track currency gains and losses, and allow you to quickly see what markets are worth pursuing further.

Integration is Key

The easier it is for you to track and manage international sales and customers, the more likely you will be successful abroad. If you don’t have a plan, or have an overly complex plan for going global, things will go wrong—quickly. Make sure you have a clear plan that integrates with your existing business structure. This will ensure you provide a high quality of service to new customers, and minimize time, energy, and stress on your end.

Going global doesn’t have to be scary. So long as you have a plan that integrates with your current business processes, and allows you to collect data that helps you understand your global market better, you have a good chance of success.

5 Tips For Facing the Competition

Every business has its fair share of competitors. Some of these may be entrenched market competitors, some of them may be upstarts, but they’re all looking to take away your customers, profits and market share. So what’s the best way for facing this competition? Here are 5 tips to grow your business in a competitive marketplace:

Stop Trying to Copy the Business Model of Your Rivals

You will only achieve success if you run your business on your own terms, and not fall prey to chasing after rivals in your industry. As soon as you stop following your own path and start copying your competitors, you could find yourself even further behind than when you started. You have your own unique strategies, resources and capabilities so you need to stay true to your business model that optimizes them in the best possible way.

Divide Your Long-Term Goal into Smaller, Manageable Goals

So much of business seems to be focused on the big stretch goals — disrupting an industry, toppling the market leader, or launching a radically innovative product. But guess what? Any big stretch goal can only be achieved if you divide that goal into smaller, manageable steps. You need strategy and tactics to reach your goal. Your strategy should explain how you plan to acquire customers, which markets you plan to penetrate, and how you plan to out-perform competitors. Maybe you’ll grow market share by 10% a quarter. Write it down and then figure out how to achieve it.

Avoid Over-Analyzing Your Competitors

There’s a big difference between doing some basic competitor research and relentlessly stalking your competitors. Yes, you need to know what your competitors are up to, but that doesn’t require tracking your rival on social media, or obsessing about your competitors’ newest product launches. The more you focus on rivals, the more you are getting away from the core mission of your business. Remember, you launched your company for a reason, whether it’s to solve a problem faced by customers or to save the world. So focus on that!

Build a Strong Team

Having a successful small business is about more than just having a cool product and a rock star CEO. It’s about having a solid team of professionals who care intensely about your mission and goals. You need to keep your team motivated. That’s easy when things are going well, but what about when they are not going so well? Think about ways to bring the company together, reward success, bring in the best talent and convince your other top talent to stay!

Make Quality the Focus of Everything You Do

Quality is the key to out-shining your competitors. This does not just mean a higher-quality product, but also a higher-quality customer experience. Think of yourself as offering value to your customers. Only then will you be able to take on competitors.

In short, you always need to know how to benchmark the performance of your small business. Even something like “quality” can have very quantitative goals – maybe it’s something as simple as having 99% 5-star reviews on Yelp. Or 99% of products shipped on time. By quantifying, you can keep your business focused on the big picture, instead of constantly shifting gears to keep up with your competitors.

Can Business Management Software Help Make Your Business More Profitable?

This is a guest blog post by Diane Ferguson, CEO of Micro-Vision, located in Nanaimo, BC.

Business management software can help manage all aspects of your business and improve overall efficiency. An integrated solution that has order management and inventory control systems working seamlessly as one integrated package will save time, instead of requiring you to spend unnecessary hours putting together reports from a variety of software programs.

Producing detailed and accurate reports will provide insight into your business operations and help you make better decisions to grow your business.

Here’s how an integrated business management solution can help make your business more profitable:

Reducing Costs

Reducing your costs is one method to increase profitability. For a distribution business, inventory costs can be quite high and a fully integrated business management software can definitely help optimize inventory levels to keep costs down. Without software to keep track of your inventory, you will not know when you need to reorder. Too much inventory can result in increased costs, particularly if it’s not being moved fast enough.

Take Advantage of Volume Discounts

Most suppliers will offer a price break when placing a large order to replenish your inventory. However, it’s important to know what to order, and having detailed inventory reports can help you make this decision.

Inventory Data Analysis

Business management software for retail businesses will allow you to make adjustments in your inventory on a regular basis. Your software will allow you to analyze higher-performing inventory, and keep track of trends. You should be able to track how quickly your vendors ship to you through seasonal variants. Some items may sell better at a certain time of year. Your inventory reports will tell you which inventory is underperforming, and give you the insight to keep your higher-performing inventory on store shelves.

Decision Making Will Become Easier

Make better decisions by analyzing sales figures and trends to understand how your business is financially performing. With accurate financial data, making decisions become easier and will deliver results that will positively impact the growth of your business.

Finding the right business management solution can help make your business more profitable. Take advantage of all the benefits of your business management software to better serve your customers, reduce costs and gain visibility to your business operations.