Most small business owners have the same top complaint….. I don’t have any time!
It’s easy to fill your time with non-value added tasks. Such as aimlessly tweeting, counting your inventory three times a week, manually keying invoices and using an old fashioned cash register instead of a point of sale system.
The problem is that you can’t just easily jump into running more efficient systems until you really understand your business and how it works. You need to understand the business of your business. You need to understand how data flows, who your customers are and what your overall objectives are.
Depending on your business model and objectives, some small business owners may find that the systems they build from the beginning are actually their competitive advantage because it makes them get things done quicker than their competition.
Typically, you should at least consider and plan for improvements to your business systems before you even open your business. Your business plan should include a section on how you intend to operate your business and that should include any technology, tools, processes or resources that can help give you a competitive advantage.
The reality of the situation is that most business owners that are just starting out are not going to have the capital to invest in higher end systems. They also won’t have the volume of sales or transactions to justify the cost until they ramp up their business. Keeping in mind that you will eventually have the sales, ability and need to justify these systems, try to keep your initial systems as simple and straightforward as possible. I highly recommend tracking as much as possible either in Excel spreadsheets or in a free tool that allows you to export all your data to .csv. This will ensure that you are easily able to convert your data to a more sophisticated system once the time comes.
What are some signs that you could greatly benefit from improved processes or business systems?
Most business owners will just know when the right time is. No one knows your business better than you. Five key indicators that can show you should consider improving your operations:
1. Your business is in growth mode. Things are going well, you have some extra money to invest back into the business. You want to keep growing and know that in order to do so, you’ll need to be able to better analyze your data to make decisions. This means you need a better way to track it and report on it.
2. Your staff (or yourself) are maxed out and can’t keep up with the demand of your customers. Improving your processes can free up more time, build employee moral and streamline operations.
3. You aren’t using any technology to track any of your data! Eeek!
4. Your staff is growing and you aren’t able to track and report on their details to maintain government compliance. Any company with more than 10 employees can easily benefit from having an HR and Payroll system to manage their employees. There are also some very affordable solutions out there, or I can help you create your own depending on your needs.
5. You are using technology, but not efficiently and you aren’t doing any backups! I can help you determine what you need and work with my IT Partners to ensure your infrastructure supports efficient data management from end to end.