We’ve all read the stories about the small business that started as a corner cafe on a suburban street, and then it seems, all of a sudden, the same cafe has popped-up everywhere. Explosive growth is something many small businesses can only dream of.
For that cafe, the growth of business is to be celebrated, though it’s also fraught with difficulty.
Even small-to-moderate expansions of businesses require careful forethought and planning. Businesses require more sturdy operative change to cope with the necessary logistical upheavals of growth. An increasingly popular method is through the use of software solutions.
One of the first challenges an expanding business faces is the maintenance, acquisition and letting-go of employees. In corporate environments and very large businesses, managing employee hours and expectations is often the role of entire human resources and payroll departments. These are the people who look after employee leave, manage employee payments, and keep track of entitlements (such as sick leave, annual leave and any superannuation accrual).
A growing business can use business intelligence software to track these details, and to make sure that accurate and accessible records are kept consistently. This software allows a business to automatically generate payslips, manage leave balances and track patterns in employee leave and attendance, thereby ensuring greater compliance management and tracking.
Automated Sales and Cataloging
Another clever feature of many business software packages, is that they allow businesses to control their stock levels in a less labour-intensive fashion than through traditional means. Stocktaking used to mean that a business would close to the public, while employees manually counted each individual item and logged it into a book.
Business intelligence software can automatically track stock from the point of sale and distribution, across multiple locations. What this means for a growing business is that a central system can show where stock is located for any given item, at any moment in time. For example, a clothing store can see that it has 10 of an item in total – with 2 items at each of 5 locations. This type of intelligent tracking allows stores to not only manage their overall levels of stock, but it also allows them to see patterns in sales, and to redirect promotional efforts in order to better grow their sales.
The Streamlining of Internal Communication
Growing businesses can also struggle to stay on-message internally.
This can be because of increased staffing levels, less centralised employment modes (eg; casual staff, freelancers, contractors) and due to geographic separation. In order to counteract this misalignment of message, software solutions offer a central repository of information.
Businesses can automate company-wide announcements, projections and data so that all employees can access the same information at the same time. Many businesses choose to develop their own branded ‘intranet’ – a private website where important information (like contact numbers and internal policy) is displayed as a default homepage, and important announcement and business-wide news is placed in a position which is impossible to miss.
Customer Relationship Management
Businesses are taking advantage of the capability within internet and cloud-based CRM software to deliver self-service based customer care. Benefits of self-service CRM models can include reduced staffing requirements (through the reduction in necessity for manned customer service), and the ability for customers to manage their accounts outside of business hours (through the use of customer portals often available through cloud-based and internet based CRM software).
This means that growing businesses can use their available business hours to better service their expanding customer base. It also means that customer interactions can be tracked; leading to a rich supply of data which can be used to provide better and more personalised customer service.
Invested in Growth
Business intelligence software can help businesses more efficiently manage their growing list of tasks; whether managing a workforce, managing a list of ever-increasing inventory, or trying to centralise a geographically diverse operation. A business which utilises the capabilities of this software to help streamline their own list of ever-expanding responsibilities is ultimately investing in their own well-organised future – and which business wouldn’t want that?