There are three fundamental components that must be well managed to give a small business a chance at being successful. Cash flow, customers and the workforce are like the legs of a three-legged stool. Each one of them needs to be strong to provide the base for your successful business. But if managing a small business takes up all your time, how can you keep that stool from falling over? Fortunately, there are continuing software developments that can ease the load and strengthen your small business.
Managing cash flow
It seems deceptively simple, just get more cash in than you pay out each day and there is no problem. The reality is that to get your business off the ground and keep it running you need to feed it cash, constantly. Sure, customers will be sending you cash but how much and when they send it has a key impact on your bank balance. Small business accounting software is the ideal tool for tracking and managing your cash flow. All of your outgoings should be scheduled and paid out of these packages.
And of course customer invoicing and management of your accounts receivables are integrated within these packages. This allows you to see at a glance what your bank balance will be over time and identify when additional funds are required. You can also model the impact possible delays in customer payments can have on your position. That enables the identification of critical customer payments and lets you manage that customer to get the cash in as required.
Get them and then keep them is the old adage. Prospecting and generating sales leads can be very time consuming but fortunately, software has come to the aid of small businesses everywhere. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions are designed to simplify the process of converting sales prospect into customers and managing all aspects of the customer experience with your business. There are too many features in CRM solutions to cover off, but there is one feature that is worth noting. Having invested time and money in obtaining a customer it’s more profitable to sell more products/services to the existing customer than it is to obtain a new customer.
Knowing when you are about to lose an existing customer and being able to take action to keep that customer from going to your competitor is gold. CRM solutions track customer behaviour and can provide a range of reports that flag, based on lead indicators, which customers are drifting away. If your firm was good enough to win the customer in the first place you should be able to keep them, and thanks to CRM it just requires your attention.
The staff and contractors a firm employs are the arms and legs of the business, delivering all that is necessary to end up with a satisfied customer. As such it’s in the interests of the small business owner to make sure they are empowered to do their best. The best thing managers can do is to automate the routine staff interactions and concentrate on engaging meaningfully with the staff and contractors. Rostering should be via an application that allows your staff to provide their availability and to select their shifts. Training and learning plans can be delivered online so that your staff and contractors can fit learning in with their job activities. Attendance recording/time sheeting can all be online with simple verifications that allow for seamless interaction with the payroll system. The free time that this workplace automation will deliver to the management needs to be directed to speaking with, motivating and listening to the staff. All with the goal of improving the business bottom line.
With these three elements working well, supported by software solutions that suit the business, there is more time to concentrate on making the business even more successful. Implement one or all of these software developments and start scaling your business.