It’s not a new thought that the best way to ensure a healthy bottom line is to either increase income, or reduce expenses. Heinrich takes you through 3 compelling points that shows you how run a leaner, meaner SME this winter.
As business owners we all want the same things: healthier profit margins, to see a more efficient use of company resources, and better sales. Right?
The best way I know how to do this – and in fact, I do this in my own business that I’ve run competitively for 20 years – is through Business Operating Systems.
Business Operating Systems (BOS), or ERP’s, or Management Information Systems, depending on who you’re talking to, is often thought of as merely fancy accounting software that you can download or buy off-the-shelf. In fact, enterprise software should offer much more than just accounting functionality, and should handle every aspect of the business in one interface.
Unfortunately, ERPs often get a bad rep for being so expensive that only large corporates can afford to implement them. Which is a pity because they are immensely useful to businesses of all sizes that have complex operations or manufacturing.
Thankfully, the landscape of ERP’s or BOS is changing. Automation and business systems are becoming more attractive in their pricing – especially the local ones – with a focus on being user-friendly while still providing robust functionality.
So now, more than ever, we find that enterprise-class software is a possibility for small to medium-sized businesses. Here are three ways that business operating systems can help you save costs and stay profitable this winter.
3 Ways to save costs and be profitable this winter
1. Automate repetitive admin tasks
Typically the biggest expense in a business is the salary bill. But, therein lies the rub. We are dependent on our staff contingent to produce the product or service that keeps us in business, even though they are the highest cost centre.
Solution? Automate automate automate. Repetitive tasks that are performed on a daily basis that require a large admin contingent can be radically optimised by implementing a system that automates these tasks, and reduces the need for an expensive admin salary bill.
Your BOS should be able to handle in a few minutes what usually takes you hours, or days, to do. Tasks such as:
- Complex estimating;
- Stock checks;
- Invoicing; and
- Monthly reports, to name a few.
How long does it take to issue a new quote? How many estimators do you employ? How big is your admin department? I’m sure your answer is, “It doesn’t matter, because these are all necessary, regardless of how expensive and slow they are.”
Once again, automation saves the day – and your budget. Business operating software handles so much of the estimating process, it reduces the need for a large admin and expensive estimating team.
2. Reduce silos and replication
Most SME’s have apps and programs that are patched together over time as the business grows, and make up the ‘systems’ by which it operates. The problem is, these apps don’t ‘talk’ to each other.
When systems work in isolation, moving data from one system to another often requires several people capturing the same information over and over at various stages along the business cycle. For example, when copying details from an approved quote into a production work order. This takes time and salaried resources, and exposes the business to risk and human error.
Solution? Stop looking at your departments as silos in isolation. Rather run your business as a cohesive entity. Bring your entire business onto one system where all the departments are linked. This will reduce the repetitive manual data capturing, and will immediately save you time and free-up valuable resources who can be allocated elsewhere.
3. Improve sales and CRM
If you cannot reduce costs, then it stands to reason that, in order to remain profitable, one needs to increase income.
To do that, we need sales reps to drive up sales, and marketing to make our prospective clients aware of us.
Solution? The best way to do both is through effective CRM software, which should be built into your BOS. CRM functionality ensures no lead is neglected, no customer request slips through the cracks, and it gives you insight into your sales reps activities and productivity. Your BOS should give you:
- An instantly-updated dashboard of all sales reps’ activity against targets.
- Follow up reminders, personalised notes, and functionality to track reasons why a quote was declined, to improve conversions.
- Bulk email functionality that can handle database segmentation in order to bring key marketing messaging to your target market.
With these in mind, let’s take on this new season with a fresh focus, and embrace technology and systems in order to make this winter a profitable one.