7 Simple Strategies to Move Your Business Systems into the 21st Century
Over the past twenty years, I have had the privilege of working with some fantastic businesses. As a supplier or customer, you just know when a business is destined to be great. You can feel the passion from every employee who are on the shared mission to make the business great.
On the other hand, I intuitively know when an organisation is past its use by / sell by date. You can sense that no one cares, or if they did once, they have long since given up.
So what are my seven simple strategies to move your business systems into the 21st century?
1. Stop all manual data entry: Data should flow into your business from sources such as:
- Bank data feeds
- Data feeds from other suppliers
- Website including online forms
There should be no manual data entry. Your marketing and sales processes should be designed so that your prospects and customers happily do the data entry for you.
2. Stop re-keying data: This is where you already have the data – such as name and contact details – but the data is in some systems and not others. Your data should flow seamlessly between your different systems including your:
- Website platform
- Email marketing system
- Marketing automation platform
- Bookkeeping and accounting system
- Point-of-sale system
- eCommerce system
- Inventory system
- Workflow system
- Proposal system
It’s important to make sure your systems “talk” to each other and the information transfers easily between systems. Consider a service like Zapier if your systems do not talk to each other.
3. Use off-site data backups: Having your data in the ‘Cloud” just makes sense. Cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers do more frequent, more reliable and more secure data backups than your business will ever do. Storing data locally on your own servers and laptop/computers is risky. Floods, storms, theft, fires, earthquakes. They happen more often than you think.
4. Stop time-consuming staff training: Do you show staff how to do everything through one-to-one training, or you find yourself re-explaining processes and procedures? Set up a company wiki (internal website), and use videos and screencasts to train your staff. Wikis are easy to create. Try Google Sites, it’s free. Videos and screencasts are easy to record using apps such as Snagit and Screencast-O-Matic.
5. Stop manual invoicing: When people buy from you, the invoicing process should be 100% automated. It is not time efficient to create it, PDF it, email it to the client and then store it in your digital filing system. Your accounting and eCommerce system will have various ways to achieve this automation.
6. Automate your debt collection: Let people know when their payment is due and when it is just past due. These reminders can be automated via email, SMS and voicemail messages. Apps like Debtor Daddy and EzyCollect make this automation possible.
7. Learn how to manage your cash flow: Glancing at your bank statement every now and then is not cash flow management. Unfortunately, this is how many small business owners assess their cash position. Cash flow needs to be managed on a regular basis. You need to take into account known future inflows and known future outflows, such as payroll, rent, supplier payments as well as tax and compliance-related payments.
In these modern days, there is software which makes it much easier to pull in the data you need, enabling you to manage your cashflow efficiently and predict – and then head off – any potential cashflow crunches in the coming months.
While the terms ‘cloud’ and ‘paperless’ and are both quite abstract, there a couple of things that I need to point out about these terms. It’s not about the lack of paper or the IT servers being ‘in the cloud’. That’s just a feature. It’s all about the efficiencies, data flows and knowledge sharing that they provide. Those are the real benefits.
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Do you want to learn how to read you business numbers and get you “financial” act together? Our Top 5 Tips guide will also show you the 5 essential reports every business owner needs to find the hidden profits in your business.
Amanda Dyason, Founder of ProfitSmarts
We help Australian business owners increase profits, accelerate cash flow and master their financial management. We believe life is too short and precious to be stuck in an under performing business delivering mediocre results.
ProfitSmarts gives you more Profits and consistent Cash flow, putting you back in Control. Because when you get business right, the results are simply amazing.