As business owners, it’s necessary to continue to make incremental changes to better serve your customers. According to research from the Cranfield University School of Management, small businesses who actively adjust their plan based on market need, grow 30% faster. Proactive planning followed by execution is the difference between industry leaders and laggards.
If you are expanding a business in today’s environment, you can attest to the fact that change is rapid. New platforms, processes, and workflows continue to redefine the way we engage with the marketplace.
Here are three ways that you can leverage technology to scale your business.
It is critical for every small business to have an accounting system.
More importantly, the system should allow key personnel to share data, in real time, with accountants, investors, and lenders. A cloud based solution can ensure that they system can accommodate your business growth. There isn’t any cumbersome software to download and the information is securely secured offsite. This gives decision makers access to the data across any device, at any time.
A cloud based solution, like QuickBooks Online, Xero, or Wave will help you control costs and streamline your bookkeeping. If you decide to hire an accountant or outsource, the platform makes it easier for you to reduce your administrative burden.
Business is all about relationships.
One of the most important relationships that you have is with your employees. However, human resources, or HR, can encompass a wide range of activities. Screening, interviewing and hiring applicants requires a different skillset than onboarding and managing employees.
I worked with a business owner who wanted to hire a SHRM certified HR professional. After realizing that a full-time employee was not in the budget, we were able to select a cloud based solution. This saved the owner money and most importantly, time.
Working with an integrated HR and benefits partner can provide you with the expertise to attract and retain qualified employees.
Platforms such as Gusto and Zenefits can manage your payroll, compliance, and employee benefits for your firm while you focus on serving your customers.
Data drives business.
And it is imperative that you know who your customers are, what they want, and how to reach them. That’s not all. Oftentimes, you will have to take your prospective customers though a sales process, or funnel. This consists of several points of contact that take place from the initial contact through closing the sale. These touches can consist of calls, emails, or meetings.
You want to make sure that you capture every interaction. This data is going to give you vital demographic information, if you are selling to consumers. If you are in B2B, or business to business, this data may consist of your prospect or customer’s revenue, number or employees, and industry.
Incorporating a CRM, or customer relationship management system, into your sales and service process is necessary. It allows you and your team to better understand who you are helping and how to enhance the experience. This intelligence can lead to the development of new products or services.
I’ve worked with a client, who used their CRM data, to develop a loyalty program which led to a 20% increase in sales from existing customers. Partnering with a vendor like Thryv, Keap, or Salesforce can help you reach prospect and customers faster with their integrated CRM and email marketing solutions.
As technologies continue to transform the business landscape, it’s important for entrepreneurs to stay ahead of the curve. There are many challenges but there are also many opportunities. Cost effective methods of building out your infrastructure will play an integral role in how you decide to expand your business.
To gain some clarity, consider working with a business advisor who can act as an extension of your business. They can help guide you through some of the new ways that small businesses are thriving in today’s environment.
(Levar Haffoney is a 2016 Network Journal 40 Under Forty honoree. He is a principal with Fayohne Advisors LLC. You can connect with him at www. fayohne. com, LinkedIn and Facebook.)