Personal Small Business Enterprise

Matching Technology With Your Business Growth: Scaling Up

Posted March 7, 2014 in Business, Small Business Tips by 0

After experiencing bootstrapping first hand, many entrepreneurs are relieved when they finally reach the point of profitability. However, scaling a business up without sacrificing a personal life is often the biggest challenge many business owners face during growth. Thankfully, there are scalable technology solutions available to help you automate operational processes so you can concentrate on providing fantastic services to your customers to keep them coming back.

Let’s look at a couple of scalable technology solutions and procedures that could help you during the growth stage of your business:

E-commerce software
According to a recent study by the Canadian House of Commons on ecommerce in Canada, 74% of Canadians use the internet to either research information on goods and services or make purchases online, but only 27% of Canadian small businesses were able to accept online payments. Getting an ecommerce site up and running is the first step towards cashing in on this untapped revenue opportunity. Using online software and services to automate online transactions provides greater efficiency and reliability when fulfilling orders and processing financial transactions. With ecommerce automation, businesses can accept online payments, create inventory lists, maintain logs, print shipping labels and document sales. This automation reduces the time you spend on manual tasks, creating more time to serve your customers.

As you scale up your ecommerce business, ensure you are ready to seamlessly fulfill current and future orders with an online shopping cart solution that offers real-time notification. Many businesses have slow order turnaround time because they aren’t quickly notified of new orders, which can be solved with real-time notification to ensure no time is wasted during the order fulfillment process.

Customer relationship management systems
As your customer base increases during the early stages of growth, it’s important to incorporate a customer relationship management (CRM) system to capture and document all customer-related activities and information. This can include things like your customers’ purchase history, contact info, birthday, email address and social media profile addresses. In the early days of a startup this information is often either not documented or it’s spread across multiple spreadsheets. By graduating to a CRM system and consolidating all of your information in one database, you can better understand and serve your customer, which increases your chances of obtaining repeat business.

However, it’s important to remember that a CRM system is only as good as the data that’s entered into it. Using the information to provide successful and personalized customer service is only possible if customer data is meticulously maintained and updated. To increase the adoption of CRM systems by your staff, get it set up during early growth before employees get used to doing things in a certain way. Early CRM adoption that’s supported by training programs for new and existing employees is a great way to create a culture centred on the importance of customer service.

The bottom line
Being able to scale a business requires leveraging the right systems, technology and people to reach efficiencies during early growth. When it comes to scaling, timing is everything. Scale too soon and you might find yourself in cash flow difficulties. Scale too late and your competition beats you to the punch and takes away your customers.

Scaling an ecommerce option to your customers is the best way to be as accessible as possible while keeping the workload to a minimum. By automating many processes, you have more time to document customer-related information with your CRM system.  Let technology do the heavy lifting to sell your products and track your customer data so your staff can concentrate on providing fantastic service that will keep them coming back for more.

Tell us about your experiences with starting and scaling up your business. How have you used technology to automate procedures and better serve your customers?

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