The 10 most common problems for businesses – and how the right business software can help
Can your business software really help you overcome the biggest challenges facing small and medium businesses? (Spoiler alert – it’s a big YES from us.)
There are many challenges facing businesses of all sizes these days, from commercial to operational to human resource. We’ve taken a look at the most common problems reported by small and medium businesses in the UK today, and examined how the right software at the heart of your operations can help you address them from the very foundations of your organisation.
Managing cash flow has never been easier
The number one issue facing most small and medium businesses is cash flow. There are loads of different reasons for this, from delayed client payments to urgent or unexpected outgoings, but using a system which gives you a clear, accurate view of your company’s finances and commercial operations is an easy win for you. Not only can you automate invoicing and late payment reminders so there are no hold-ups with admin, your system can highlight consistent defaulters, helping you to spot issues before they arise, and can identify and target trading issues and opportunities to help you act fast to plug the gaps.
2. Indentifying (and retaining) profitable customers
The first step to growing your business is to properly understand where your profits are coming from. Just because one customer orders from you every week, it doesn’t necessarily make them the right customer for you. Using software that can identify profitable, prompt-paying, expanding businesses to work with will help you to focus your efforts in the right directions, and can also help when it comes to identifying what sorts of new customers you want to attract. Equally, being able to have margin protection and automatic credit alerts built in derisks trading for all your staff, and will let your FD sleep better at night. Keeping them is all about offering the best service – so being able to control stock, pricing and availability more easily with seamless service across all branches of your business makes that a whole lot easier.
3. Motivating employees
A motivated workforce is a productive workforce. Using software that is easy to use and understand, that makes targets and goals clear and straightforward, and that actively helps users to do their jobs, is a win-win. Seeing their own performance and how their contribution helps the whole company is extremely motivating, and helps employers to see where there are opportunities for talent development, or to identify training gaps or recruitment possibilities. It also reduces frustration and avoids time wasting, as duplication of effort is reduced and many repetitive, time-consuming tasks can be automated.
4. Being too busy to do business
Time management is a huge issue in any business. Choosing software which is easy to learn and use, which offers loads of automated functions to reduce daily admin time and which actively helps users to identify and follow up trading opportunities is a great way to save significant amounts of time. When analysis and reporting can be automated and simple, when invoicing and profit reports are automatically generated, and when stock taking is just part of the every-day process, imagine how much time you will have to work on the big picture stuff that you never usually have enough time for.
Save time and frustration – and focus on what’s important
5. Not planning for growth
It sounds strange, but many businesses fail to grow because they haven’t put enough thought into how to manage success. Using flexible software that grows with your business, that allows extra users or multiple sites to be added, all with the same integrated, 24/7 access from any smart device, gives you the agility and fluidity to grow at whatever pace your business needs. With simple, user-by-user monthly pricing there is no huge up-front bill to pay, and you get the same trustworthy service to back you up every step of the way.
6. Focusing on quantity over quality
This point goes back to the idea of knowing where profits really come from in your business. There’s no point chasing the contracts that look great for turnover but which eat into profit, or the ones that take up so much time it’s not worth the investment. Software can help you to identify the right focus areas for your business so you can be confident in the decisions you make, and know when it’s the right time to walk away.
7. Too many overheads
Not only can software help you to manage your stock more efficiently, thereby reducing risk and providing better service thanks to greater availability, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune in itself. Software can represent an enormous investment for a business, but with our monthly payments determined by user-numbers, you always know what you’re spending when – and the system can even let you know how many time over it’s paid for itself each month!
8. Staying current
Technology moves fast. Sticking with a rigid, server-based system will eventually present you with the issue of updating, and it will be a bigger and more expensive job when the time comes. Using a cloud-based, online system allows constant updating so you’re always using the most up to date version of software, without risk to your data or any costly downtime. You can also add new modules as they are developed, so your software evolves alongside your business, always meeting the needs that your expanding organisation requires.
9. Sustainability and responsible sourcing of materials
Sustainability is everyone’s responsibility
This is becoming more and more prevalent as a major concern for business, and nowhere more so than in the timber and building materials sectors. Using software that is specifically designed for these sorts of sectors automatically puts you at an advantage, because it can help you to identify, classify and optimise relationships with the right suppliers, who are sourcing, storing and distributing materials in the most responsible and sustainable ways. You can include a range of criteria when selecting suppliers to ensure they’re ones you want to work with, and what’s more the stock management facility of the software is so advanced it will enable much more efficient stocking of materials yourself. You can order more reliably based on past data to take advantage of frequency or volume based discounts with less risk, and keep fewer materials hanging around the yard or warehouse if they’re not selling through.
Regularly cited in the top 10 reasons that businesses fail, leadership is a big issue for some organisations. It may not seem immediately obvious that inventory and order management software can help leaders to flourish, but hear us out. If your business leaders are so bogged down in the day-to-day operations of the business that they can’t spend enough time working on bigger picture strategy, succession planning and people-management, it stands to reason that they’re not going to be fulfilling their optimum potential. Using software that frees up time and resource to allow people to spend their time in the most useful, profitable ways is surely a win for any organisation, and allows leaders to focus on leading, not wasting time on administration and operational detail.
We understand that taking on a new trading system is a big decision. That’s why we have launched an all new, try-before-you-buy demo system so you can see for yourself just how usable and easy UT400 really is. We would love to share it with you. If you’re interested in finding out more or having a play with the system yourself, please just drop us a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call us on 01202 861606. We’d love to hear from you.