ERP - Why Your Small Business Needs It Now

06/28/2017 06:39 pm ET

Even if your business is small, you might need the power of ERP to grow it.

Let's talk about your small business for a moment. Where do you want it to go? Are you interested in increasing your revenue? Do you want your business to flourish?

That's what I thought.

I've noticed that small business owners get stuck one that one word: small. They don't invest in valuable assets like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software because they don't think they need it.

Guess again.

Your small business needs an ERP now for these three crucial reasons:

1. You'll need a stable ERP when your small business becomes not-so-small;

2. An ERP will help you control and predict that growth; and

3. ERPs have become significantly more affordable.

Now that you don't have any excuses, let's look at ERP benefits.

Centralize Information

I don't like to open 5+ different software programs on my computer to get information. I'd much rather harness my data in a single place, and I want my employees to see the same things I see.

ERP allows you to do that. From accounting and sales to inventory and distribution, you'll have a single database that stores all your most valuable metrics. Not only does it make logical sense, but it's a big time saver.

Reduce Repetitive Activities

Just like you, I've met bored employees. They sit at their desks, their eyes glazed over as they input numbers on a spreadsheet or verify product codes in a database.

I don't want my employees to be excited to come to work and eager to help me succeed in my vision for the business. ERP reduces repetitive, monotonous activities for your employees. They don't have to input information multiple times, for instance, and reports from different staff members can merge together with the click of a button.

Get a Head's Up on Problems

One of the main selling points of ERP software is that it updates data in real time. You can look at any module in the system to check on its particular state, then act quickly if you notice a problem.

For instance, if the on-hand inventory for the hottest item in your retail store dwindles to zero, you'll want to get on the phone with your distributor immediately and figure out how to get a delivery right away.

Maintain Relationships With Your Customers

I adore my clients. Having them allows me to do what I love and they compensate me for my time and expertise. If I can improve my relationship with them via ERP, why would I say "no"?

You can use ERP software for customer relationship management. Billing and contact information reside in the same place as consumer behavior data, so you can keep an eye on it all at once.

If you made the decision to start investigating ERP software for your business, here a few things to consider

Shopping for ERP Software

Find a Flexible Vendor: All software has primary features, but it’s going to be important to find a vendor who can customize specific functionality for your customer needs. They must be open to ‘tweaking’ the system to work precisely for your business operations.

Get industry references: Reach out to other business owners in your industry to get references for what ERP vendor they may be using.

Inquire about their customer service: Do they offer 24/7 support? Will you have a dedicated customer service rep? Do sales reps often change? Should the company be sold do they have a plan for a seamless transition?

Continually invest in training: Attend the software maker’s annual user conference each year to learn about new enhancements, and get more training for your team especially any new staff.

If you've just opened your doors with one employee and a single shelf of products, you probably don't need ERP. However, if you run a growing small business, try to forget about the "small" part. Think big now so you're prepared when it happens.

Speaking of preparation, did you know that I host #Smallbizchat on Twitter every Wednesday to answer small business questions? Join me and other like-minded entrepreneurs for stimulating virtual conversation. All you have to do is use the hashtag #Smallbizchat to join the conversation.

This article was originally published as Is your small business ready to ERP? on www.succeedasyourownboss.com

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