How to Choose the Best Business Systems & Processes

Was that project profitable? Am I making money in that area of my business? These questions are important, but only answerable with effective systems/processes in place.

How to Choose the Best Business Systems & Processes

Why You Need Systems and Processes

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.

Choosing What Works for You

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.

How to Integrate Systems and Processes

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:

Start with the project scope

  1. Describe the project.
  2. Define the project outcomes/goals.
  3. Clarify the business case (financial, compliance, etc.).
  4. Find out who is involved.
  5. Note down all of the project inputs (existing documentation, existing systems etc) and outputs (new reports, improved profitability, trained staff etc)
  6. Ask what risks and assumptions need to be mitigated.

Map your Business Processes

  1. Identify all your business processes - Proposals/Quotes, Project/Job management, Invoicing, Payables and Expenses, Monthly Reporting
  2. Note all the inputs and outputs
  3. Define the steps and decision/review points
  4. Highlight areas for improvement/automation/better reporting etc

App/System Selection

  1. Look at all the options.
  2. Evaluate against your criteria. E.g. volume of features that support your needs, cost of the app, availability of support and training, compatibility with your other systems, etc.
  3. Select your preferred option.

Trial and Test the New System/Process

  1. Trial the app/system. If you have a previous/existing system to compare it to, run the new system parallel to it or use a subset of data.
  2. Get the users to try it out.
  3. Confirm it will meet your needs.

Implement the New System/Process

  1. Document the new system/process.
  2. Train staff.
  3. Perform data migration into the new system/process.
  4. Implement.
  5. Review the outcomes for ongoing learning.
  6. Ensure you have support to help with any problems.

Why Choose a Cloud App?

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.

Four major advantages of cloud apps:

  1. You don’t need servers or equipment to run in-house.
  2. The app is accessible from anywhere on supported devices.
  3. Your data security and backup is handled by the provider.
  4. The app will continuously be developed which brings extra benefits to your business.

What is Cloud Integration?

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.

Consider Using a Specialist

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:

  • The reputation and support of the app developer.
  • Where the developer is based.
  • What their customer support is like.
  • Whether or not they’re developing new features.
  • The size of their customer base.
  • The state of their customer reviews.


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.

Don’t Forget to Review Annually

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.

Aspects to Consider Based on Industry

Hospitality

  • Point of Sale (POS)
  • Online bookings
  • Employee scheduling
  • Vouchers/giveaways
  • Wages to headcount
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for marketing
  • Contact tracing
  • Loyalty

E-Commerce

  • Inventory management (basic to multi-channel)
  • Payments
  • Shipping integration
  • Marketing analytics

Construction

  • Project profitability (tracking expenses/purchases/time)
  • Capturing photo evidence and linking to job
  • Variation management and billing
  • Health & Safety (H&S)
  • Managing retentions

Trade Services

  • Job management
  • Onsite billing and payment
  • Expense and time recording
  • Knowledge database

Professional Services

  • Project management
  • Proposal automation into project management
  • CRM
  • Marketing analytics


For further help, we have an app advisory guide that’s complete with our top picks.

More Articles

How to Set Up Your Business Compliance
Business Development

How to Set Up Your Business Compliance

It’s simple. In order to maintain a smooth-running and healthy business, your business must be correctly set up for compliance. Here’s how it’s done.

Read Article→
How to Develop a Marketing & Sales Plan
Business Development

How to Develop a Marketing & Sales Plan

How you market and plan for sales will always be unique to your business. Here’s how to create a plan that’s effective and tailored to your business needs.

Read Article→
The Importance of Company Culture & Values
Business Development

The Importance of Company Culture & Values

Everyone talks about business culture and values, but what are they and why do they matter?

Read Article→