It’s generally agreed that the best way to ensure a healthier bottom line is to either increase income, or reduce expenses.
Let’s jump right in, shall we? We all want the same things: Healthier profit margins, to see a more efficient use of company resources, and better sales. Right? The best way I know how to do this - and in fact, I do this in my own business - is through Business Operating Systems.
Business Operating Systems (BOS), or ERP’s, or Management Information Systems, depending on who you’re talking to, are often accused with being so expensive that only large corporates can afford to implement them. They have worked hard to earn that reputation, often coming with such a hefty price tag, high monthly consultant fees and license renewals, not to mention software that is so complicated, it is left to a select few to operate.
Not the case anymore
The landscape of ERP’s or BOS is changing; automation and business systems are becoming more attractive in their pricing, with a focus on being user-friendly while still providing robust functionality. Now, more than ever, enterprise-class software is a possibility for small to medium-sized businesses. Here are five ways that business operating systems can help you save costs and stay profitable this winter.
Related: Top tips on how to efficiently manage your remote team
5 Ways to save costs and stay profitable this winter
1. Automate repetitive admin tasks
Typically, the biggest expense in a business is the salary bill. However, the quandary we face is the desperate dependency on this staff contingent to produce the product or service that keeps us in business. So, what to do?
Tasks that are performed on a daily basis that require a large admin contingent can be radically optimised by implementing a system that automates these tasks, and reduces the need for an expensive admin salary bill.
2. Reduce silos and replication
Most organisations have patchwork apps and programs lashed together over time to make up the ‘systems’ by which it operates. The problem is, these apps very seldom ‘talk’ to each other. With systems that work in isolation, moving data from one system to another - for example, when copying details from a quote into a production work order - often requires several people capturing the same information again and again at various stages along the business cycle.
This baton-style of passing information between departments means that, at some point, someone’s going to drop the baton. Solution? Reduce silos and the need for manual data capturing, and you save time and resources immediately. How to do so? Ensure that your business has systems that talk to each other and are integrated.
3. Reduce human error
Error exposes your business to risk. It’s not hard to imagine how a quote sent incorrectly could cost you that deal, or how a production order with an incorrect Bill of Materials could mean the difference between compliance or not.
I don’t have to mention the ramifications of sending an incorrect invoice or worse, not remembering to send an invoice at all. Human error happens in every business, but many of these risks are significantly reduced when your business operating system has built-in error-checking, reminders, reports and instant access to real-time data.
Related: How to keep your business afloat despite the current economic landscape
4. Reduce or optimise your salary bill
How long does it take to issue a new quote? How many estimators do you employ? How big is your admin department? I’m sure your answer is, “It doesn’t matter, because these are all necessary, regardless of how expensive and slow they are.”
Once again, automation saves the day - and your budget. Business operating software handles so much of the estimating process, it reduces the need for a large admin and estimating team. You could even use a less-expensive resource to do estimating, as the system does most of the calculations for you. Coupled with an updated approach to business resource management, the salary bill should be reduced, or in the very least, optimised.
5. Improve sales and CRM
If you cannot reduce costs, then it stands to reason that, in order to remain profitable, one needs to increase income. The best way to do this is through effective CRM software that ensures no customer request slips through the cracks, granting insight into your sales reps’ activities and productivity.
Every business with a sales team needs immediate access to a dashboard of all sales reps’ activity against targets in order to track the pipeline. Follow up reminders, personalised notes, and functionality to track reasons why a quote was declined, work in your favour to improve conversions, and your bottom line.
With these in mind, let’s take on this wintery season with focus and make it a profitable one.
If you’re looking to open up a business bank account, Standard Bank provides a Business Current Account that is simple to manage and allows you to transact in the way that works best for you.