In order to make quick/smart decisions, manage business development, and achieve success, you need good processes for staff to follow and to consistently measure numbers/information surrounding your business.
For this, we have business systems and processes. What they do is keep you informed of failure/progress/success across multiple business elements so that you can ultimately better manage and guide the business.
But not only do you need them in place, you also need to ensure they’re efficient and scalable for growth. Because it is simply impossible to grow quickly if you aren’t able to support that growth.
Every app and tool that you implement into your business should work effectively as you intend it to be used.
Way too often we hear of a system that's been implemented and doesn’t end up delivering any benefit to the business. For this reason, and because not all apps/tools are made for all businesses, it’s crucial that you assess whether the system/process will fit your needs and achieve the outcome you want.
Processes can start out as manual tasks and be drawn up in a word document. Nice and simple. Modern processes include automated systems and apps, online video training, connections to your other systems/processes, and dashboards to manage performance.
For any app implementation or process change, it’s always best to take a project approach. This can be a simple process for basic apps such as dropbox, skitch, and cognito forms. Though it can be far more complex if you’re integrating an entire project management system or replacing multiple existing systems and processes. Here’s how to take a project approach:
A popular and widely-used product of today is ready-made cloud apps. Because they’re already built and tested it’s easy to integrate them into your business quickly. But there’s a catch. As most cloud apps aim to be adaptable to as many businesses as possible, they aren’t likely to support all of your needs. There will be compromise.
However, the cost of cloud apps is much lower than trying to build something from scratch. So if you can choose wisely in order to compromise the least, it can make for a great business management solution.
Additionally, most cloud apps will come with a large user base and ongoing development program for new features that will continue to benefit your business.
Put simply, it’s the connection of cloud-based tools hosted by separate providers. This is known as SaaS (Software as a Service). What it does is allow you to access and use a variety of different tools - all you need is a web browser.
The Cloud Integration part is how we connect all the apps together to suit your individual business process needs. For example, how do we link the time sheets data into the project profitability reporting? How do we link customer data between systems? Where is all your documentation stored? How do we link OPOS into the accounting system?
This is the tricky bit. There's no point in taking on an app if you then have to enter customer data into two different systems, or if it doesn’t feed the correct information into other apps. That would make your business processes inefficient.
Using a cloud integrator or app specialist can save you plenty of time learning what’s available and, of that, what your best options are.
They’re the ones who will tell you what services/features your business would benefit most from and exactly which apps provide that. And what’s more, they’ll tell you exactly what the systems you’re considering don’t do (because the app developers rarely tell you that bit!).
Areas a specialist is knowledgeable/can advise on:
To give you your first recommendation, we strongly advise that small businesses use Xero and cloud-based apps. Why? They’re efficient, keep labour costs down, have accurate data, are continually developing new features, and allow you to run your business with confidence.
As you grow, your systems and processes will need to change too. But how do you know when?
It might be that a manual task is now consuming too much staff time each month. Or that an aspect of your business has grown to an extent that it’s no longer supported entirely by the current system in place. But it’s not only your business that will grow, technology is constantly evolving too.
So to ensure your business is operating smoothly as well as taking advantage of new technological developments, we encourage everyone to review systems and processes annually. This way you can save time and money by integrating new automation tools when necessary.
For further help, we have an app advisory guide that’s complete with our top picks.