Starting a business can be hard. Growing a business can be even harder. Whether it’s poor customer data, manual and broken processes, minimal operations visibility to make decisions, or keeping up with changing regulations, there is always something getting in the way of growth. There are various barriers to business growth that can impact sales, be costly and create risk.
Business owners spend a lot of time dealing with the minutia of business. Instead of focusing on the most critical elements of growth, many get buried in the necessary guts of keeping the business going like cash flow, monitoring inventory levels, managing shipment processes and dealing with return requests and soon. Hence, often many big dreams get beaten down by small tasks.
There must be a better way to succeed!
To achieve success, we first need to identify the most common barriers that hinder business growth. Following this, we will highlight a couple of and then look at the practical tips to overcome these barriers and flourish.
Barrier #1: Finding Your Next Customer
In today’s landscape, finding the next customer is not as easy as it used to be. What makes matters worse is that current customer data in many businesses provides very little to no visibility into the customers interaction with your brand.
The result – Not only is the business unable to communicate relevant information effectively to potential new customers but the existing customer base is at risk. When data is spread across sales spreadsheets, standalone financial systems and other applications, there is no way to know which data is most current, accurate and reliable. Abandonment figures rise as potential customers find other vendors that can serve them quickly and efficiently.
Acquiring new customers is critical for businesses that want to scale, while retaining customers is key for steady revenue growth. What the sales representatives need is readily available data at their fingertips that gives a snapshot view of key information of current clients and potential customers.
A good cloud ERP can address this. Through a single common data repository, customers can get a 360-degree view of sales, service, transactions and more.
Barrier #2: Increase Profits
Standalone financial systems can only automate a limited set of core accounting functions. As a result, it restrict show companies can run their operations. As businesses grow, they find that it is problematic to upgrade the processes to fit the application. Rather, they should have a system that can scale to accommodate growth.
With business growth and success comes greater transaction volumes, but it’s hard for many financial systems to handle this. To access complete audit trails, information to enable business planning and deliver relevant reports requires adding constant short-term quick fixes in standalone systems. Standalone financial systems also fail to handle stronger controls for more complex financial processes such as recurring billing and invoicing.
Moving to a single, unified cloud-based system provides the best solution. Finance teams save time on finding accurate information and can report much more accurately on business performance when these functions run simultaneously on a single platform.
Native flexibility and agility is required to run a business profitability, without incurring the overheads to maintain an underlying technology layer. This allows companies the tools needed to stay ahead of the competition and to seize new opportunities as they grow.
Barrier #3: Cash Flow Visibility
Most systems were designed at a time when companies had to wait until the end of the month to get the data they needed. Without visibility, decisions were made on information that lacked actual hard facts. It is very different today and up-to the-minute reporting can mean the difference between thriving and barely surviving.
Being unable to drill down into the details and potential variances previously, there was virtually no way to discern how the business was performing. It was almost impossible to compare actual performance to strategic objectives and to alter course by hitting the brakes or rev up the engine. The dashboard revealed very little, or worse—the wrong information.
Access to transparent, real-time performance data to analyze and compare has shown to equip the leadership team with the information needed to assess strategies.
Increasing finance efficiency and accuracy through automation and visibility is the key to cash flow. With real-time access to live financial data, drilling into detail allows for quick reporting and analysis, saving time and money.
Barrier #4: Tackling Regulations
As growing companies scale, business processes and attention to regulations tend to take a backseat—a very risky and detrimental move. Tax laws and compliance, year-end audits, reporting and other government regulations may overburden the finance team, creating frustrations. Struggling to juggle day to day operations and compliance, finance leaders are often compelled to seek out additional systems to help them provide –up to date data.
While this may seem like a reasonable strategy, these standalone applications often lack integration with each other, creating an even bigger mess.
Hence, a single automated cloud-based suite that incorporates the necessary regulations across all functions, is the most suitable solution for tackling regulations. The biggest priority remains a system with good internal controls so management can receive up to date information and data, review monthly procedures, year-end closes and tax and audit preparation. This in turn minimizes errors, wrong statements and fraud.
Running a growing business means one faces many unique and distinct challenges. But there are also some distinct competitive advantages. Speed, flexibility and ability to change are hallmarks of the fastest growth companies.
Leveraging the capabilities offered by a cloud-based ERP system, are key to overcoming these barriers to growth and should serve as an enabler, of business strategy and goals.
If a growing business is experiencing any of these challenges, such as poor customer data, manual and broken processes, minimal operations visibility to make decisions, or keeping up with changing regulations, now is the time to consider switching to a modern, cloud-based business management suite.