Your business is not static. It grows over time and goes through key structural and operational changes in order to meet the needs of customers. But what about your systems? How do you ensure that solutions such as cloud-based ERP software for small business continue to support you through this change and growth?
Successful navigation of change and growth
Change and growth are not random processes. They follow logical progressions and should be mapped with a degree of accuracy and reliability. You should know what to expect at each stage so that you can ensure full support from your systems, from start to finish.
Strategic planning is an important step in this process. Your key decision-makers and stakeholders need to plan their objectives for the process of change and growth, along with realistic timelines for reaching each of these objectives. Your systems are supporting your business currently — but will they still be able to handle the increased capacity as you reach each milestone? As you set objectives for growth and change, how will your systems respond to this?
While planning is critical, no plan is perfect. You need to leave room for flexibility and agility so that you can react to unexpected occurrences without delay. Cloud-based ERP software and other small business systems can help you with this, as they will be able to track real-world progress against your metric milestones and assess whether or not changes need to be made.
This is a reactive process, but that doesn't mean you can't act quickly and with purpose. With the right systems in place, you will be able to swiftly identify what needs to be changed, ahead of execution.
Knowledge of operational needs
How do your systems currently support your operations? What operational changes do you envisage in the future, and how will your systems scale or change to accommodate them? System agility is crucial to the change process, and you will need to achieve this flexibility if you are to navigate this path successfully.
For example, will your stock management software be able to handle the increased inventory in your warehouse? Consult your business's strategic plan for change management and identify how your operational needs will alter as your business grows or undergoes structural changes.
3 key capabilities for your systems
Analysing key trends
Modern business is not simply about sticking with the tried and the tested — it's about understanding the tidal forces of consumer opinion and customer motivation, then putting this to good use within your organisation. Of course, this relies upon the quality of the data you are working with, as well as on how you are using this data.
Perhaps you have had a product that has been selling well for quite some time. This product is contributing solid profits to your business, but then, there's a change. Sales begin to dwindle, and it appears that customers are looking for something else. But what is this 'something else'?
Guesswork is simply not going to cut it. You need systems that can draw upon vast amounts of data, storing this data and then translating it into actionable insight. This, in turn, will enable you to diversify your product range, staying ahead of the curve as you deliver to your customers precisely what they need. With the right system capabilities, you can also use this data to craft accurate buyer personas, which you can use to understand customer motivations and to inform your research and development strategies going forward.
Payment solution integration
Your systems are already tracking your profit and loss, analysing where the money is coming from and where it is being spent. This is crucial information and it certainly helps you to get a handle on the performance of your business. However, this information in isolation can be disingenuous, and you may still find that your business struggles for vital cash flow when required.
When you are undergoing structural changes — or when your business is scaling up — the need for positive cash flow becomes even more acute. You need systems that integrate directly with your business payment solutions and with bank accounts, providing you with more control over incomings and outgoings and offering a more accurate picture of your finances.
This way, the system tells you precisely what you are capable of — for example, what acquisitions you can make and which investments should be left for a more suitable time — rather than giving you a theoretical indication. With bank account mapping and payment solution integration, you can make sure that your actions are both decisive and informed by the latest data from your accounts.
Engagement with customers is something you need to remain aware of as your company grows and changes. Statistics show that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a great quality experience, placing experience at the very heart of modern consumer motivation. Your systems must be able to support this.
For example, while you might be focusing on attracting and onboarding new customers as part of your marketing and growth initiatives, you also need to be considering the experience you are providing to existing customers, preventing churn while also bringing in new sources of revenue. Customer relationship management systems help you to monitor engagement and to keep customers happy at all stages of their journey.
Automation is also important here. Let's say that your systems have flagged a client who is late with their payments. Your systems can be programmed to offer an early settlement discount or a payment plan that could resolve the struggles they are facing. In a single stroke, the customer is more engaged and open to dialogue with your business, and your business has secured a more reliable stream of revenue.
Cloud-based ERP software for small business
Reach out to the team here at Key Business Solutions to discover more about cloud-based ERP software for small business and about other solutions that will help your business to scale, change and grow.