Small business systems: the secret to steady growth

A small business has it tough. Resources are restricted, competitors are cutthroat, and it is essential they build up a steady stream of sales and customers. Fortunately, a company can thrive – and not just survive – with the right approach. That approach can benefit greatly from a certain type of element: small business systems.

A small business system is any process that is built around accomplishing a specific result. It applies set procedures and principles, all with the intention of improving performance, reducing the workload, enhancing customer service, and more. Various business systems can be incorporated by an organization, ranging from those in inventory management to human resources.

While there are multiple benefits, they all combine to help in one significant way: to effectively grow operations.                   

Are you wondering about which small business systems to use? Perhaps you want further details about their benefits and which systems to select. Let’s get to it!

Types of small business systems.

Gears representing small business systems.

As mentioned, there are numerous small business systems available that can help improve operations. Below we have highlighted the main types that can help your company.

1. Accounting Systems

When it comes to business systems, one of the first places a small outlet will turn to is accounting. Keeping track of finances is not easy, particularly for a business where receipts and expenditures are flying in and out regularly. It is also fair to say that balancing the books is a time-consuming affair.

An accounting system helps to eliminate those issues.

With an accounting system in place, you can easily – and automatically – track your income and expenditures. It provides valuable insights into the financial side of your business. You improve accuracy and eliminate human error from the equation. Tax calculations can be made to remove some of the stress from this part of your business.

The list of positives goes on and on. This is why so many startups and small companies incorporate an accounting system as their first form of business system.

2. Inventory Management Systems

A business dealing with physical products and items in any form inevitably has inventory. This could be everything from a restaurant’s ingredients selection to products ready for shipping to customers. However, trying to manage this inventory can be a challenge – particularly if stock numbers are vast and liable to bounce around on a day-to-day basis.

As a result, small businesses that deal with substantial stock will inevitably benefit from utilizing an inventory management system.

This system allows you to automate the entire process of managing your inventory. This means real-time inventory levels are tracked with unparalleled accuracy, which significantly cuts down on the time required to do this task manually.

Furthermore, you can be more efficient in identifying when stock levels are low, ensuring you know what items to purchase more of when necessary.

3. Customer Relationship Management Systems

The customer is king. This has not changed since the dawn of businesses, but it is more important than ever to focus on this aspect.

Customers these days will often not simply find a product and buy it without any fuss. A company has to build relationships with its customers. Along with developing trust and generating sales, it is key to retain customers and achieving repeat business.

The problem is crafting these fruitful relationships.

This is where a customer relationship management (CRM) system can offer a large helping hand. As the name suggests, a CRM is a useful method for fostering healthy customer relationships as you can best manage – and store – their information.

You can better understand their purchase habits and interests, track all interactions, simply keep up-to-date contact details, and more. All of this helps boost relationships and also the customer lifetime value (CLV).

Related: 6 Ways to Gain Customer Insight For Your Business

4. Human Resources Systems

Unless you are operating as a sole trader, you will have employees working across different areas of your small business. They are a great help, obviously, but managing your staff comes with plenty of headaches.

You have to ensure they are happy and healthy, provided with career progression opportunities, and recruited the right way. You also have to remain compliant with the likes of labor regulations and tax rules – both of which are ever-changing.

Trying to do all of this is tough, even with a fully-fledged human resources department. Yet, for a small business, an entire department for human resources is not viable. That is where a human resources system can help fill the gap effectively.

Specialist software can go a long way in managing employee data, automating processes, and assisting the wellbeing and performance levels of your workers.

5. Sales and Marketing Systems

Sales are the lifeblood of your business. Marketing plays a major role in getting those sales. Both elements work hand-in-hand, and that is the same when using sales and marketing systems.

The systems are built to support your employees and, ultimately, generate those all-important transactions. An all-encompassing sales and marketing system helps to identify the marketing tactics that work best, how to maximize your expenditure on promotional tactics, track sales funnel performance, and a lot more.

Related: Marketing Sales Strategy 101

Benefits of having a small business system in place.

Line graph indicating how the future of a business with small business systems in place is a positive one.

As you may gather from the above information, a general small business system is beneficial for your company. In fact, there are numerous advantages gained from incorporating systems into your strategy. Here are the key benefits to keep in mind:

1. Improved Efficiency

A small business does not have any time to spare. Even with a team of employees onboard, resources are spread thin across all departments. As a result, it is imperative you search for ways to improve efficiency whenever possible.

One of the biggest ways is with small business systems. Naturally, these systems are designed to enhance productivity and efficiency. They automate a range of processes, stopping you or your employees from having to deal with them and saving time for more important areas of your company.

For example, say you do not have an inventory management system in place. Instead, you decide to take a stock count each night to learn about current inventory numbers. That is not maximizing your work hours.

Even if you are only dealing with a small number of sales on a daily basis, this task can eat up time, and this is certainly the case if human error creeps in. A system automates the process in real time, ensuring information is always accurate while taking this task off your plate.

2. Better Organization

It is easy to think that a small business can handle everything and remain organized without much trouble. After all, they do not have hundreds of employees or have to fulfill loads of orders each day. However, disorganization can quickly creep in, and that is not good.

A disorganized business is bad across the board. Do you see all the benefits in this section? Well, you can wave goodbye to them – and more – if there is disorder within your company.

Small business systems stop this potential issue from popping up. Data, including any developments, are tracked automatically. Tasks are performed on schedule. Schedules are created. So much is done to guarantee that everything remains organized and confusion avoids setting in.

Say you run a marketing campaign. Without a small business system, you could be making more misses than hits. You might start throwing your money into the wrong areas or going in too many different directions with your promotional tactics. With the system, however, performance is tracked, campaigns are managed, and everything remains on track and organized.

3. Increased Profitability

If there is any benefit that is going to convince you to opt for small business systems, it is this one. Every business is searching to boost its profitability in any possible way. With that in mind, it is not understating just how effective utilizing the right systems can be to enhance the money in your business bank account.

When you factor in the other benefits listed above and below, the positive knock-on effect is improved profitability. Greater efficiency, organization, customer satisfaction, and decision-making all equal one thing – better sales numbers. 

4. Improved Customer Satisfaction

A happy customer is one more willing to open up their wallet. That is no secret. Yet trying to achieve this goal is not an easy stroll in the park. Even if you have a fantastic product at an unbeatable price, that is not enough to get the approval of customers. The service you supply is just as essential.

Think about if a customer’s delivery is delayed by a significant period of time. Perhaps they may have gone to purchase something that is actually out of stock.

Maybe communication is lacking, or they receive marketing materials that are not targeted to them specifically. There are many scenarios where customer satisfaction can plummet, along with the likelihood of them making repeat purchases in the future.

Business systems assist with keeping customers happy. They allow you to stay on track with orders and to ship out deliveries fast. In addition, you are always aware of your inventory (reflected in the stock numbers). This all means that you have a full understanding of customer relationships and ensure the right messages are delivered at the appropriate time.

Read More: 5 Voice of Customer Examples

5. Better Decision-Making

A business thrives or dies based on the decisions it makes. Although you can never be 100% sure a decision you make is the correct one, there are ways to drastically improve the chances of it paying off. One of the biggest ways is to be informed as much as possible about all aspects of your company.

Business systems can deliver a lot of valuable data and information. This can range from information about your customers to marketing data performance figures. All of this can notably enhance your decision-making capabilities.

For instance, say you run a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign. The campaign, however, failed to produce the results you expected. With the information you gathered through your marketing system, there are two routes you have identified: drop PPC advertising from your plan or make the necessary tweaks to improve performance next time around.

Either way, what you have learned improves the possibility you will make the right decision.

Choosing the right small business system.

Woman smiling at a computer

There are different business system types. There are also many systems that fall under each category. The result: picking the appropriate small business systems can be a confusing, challenging assignment. However, there are a few tactics that support decision-making.

One essential aspect is to first look inwards and think about your business. Consider its size and the industry you operate in. If your business is modest with only a couple of employees, for instance, you will not need systems that are built for large-scale operations.

This extends into our next point – an assessment of your current business needs. Which areas do you require the most assistance with from systems? By considering this point, you can prioritize which systems to go with for your company.

Another vital point is to look at reviews and testimonials. Customers will typically avoid making a purchase without analyzing reviews these days, so you must do the same.

To pull out the key details and points located in these reviews, make sure to use GapScout. Our tool not only saves you time, but also helps to avoid making costly mistakes with your business system purchases.

Business systems are important for organizations of all sizes.

The reality is that business systems help small businesses to save time, make operations more efficient and productive, and ultimately boost profit numbers.

If you are not utilizing any systems now, we highly recommend you start doing so as soon as possible. The sooner you start using business systems in your daily operations, the quicker your business can grow.

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Justin Ferriman
Justin Ferriman
Justin is the founder of GapScout, the easiest way for solopreneurs and small businesses to find profitable gaps in their market. Follow Justin on Twitter→

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