Business Management Systems: A Guide for Small Businesses
As a small business owner, or managing a growing company, the daily challenges and business processes can at times be overwhelming. When you have to keep track of everything from your overall business strategy to the smaller elements such as time management or chasing up payments, time can quickly disappear and before you know it you've got even more on your plate.
For most business owners, it comes down to cost-effective and efficient strategies to keep your entire business process focused and automated.
And this is where we come to the use of all-in-one software tools, known as business management systems.
These systems provide an invaluable opportunity to streamline operations and unleash the full potential of small businesses. However there are many different types of business management systems, some more complex than others.
So what is a business management system, and how can it revolutionize your way of doing business?
What is a Business Management System?
A Business Management System, often referred to as a Company Management System, is a software package that handles the bulk of your business operations.
This can include key features such as:
- Payment processing
- Customer relationship management (aka CRM)
- Staff management systems/employee scheduling
- Appointment scheduling
- Email management systems
- Communication tools
- Business data analysis
- Lead capture and other marketing tools
- Automation of communication and processes
Many business management software products will specialize in specific aspects of business management. This might include a CRM to track clients, or a specific tool to handle project management or workflow automation.
Some tools offer a more comprehensive solution, offering almost all the features listed above in one tool.
In short, a good business management software solution can handle almost all of the administrative functions of a business, letting you focus on the important aspects; such as providing a great service to your customers.
Read more about how to choose a business CRM.
What Business Management Software do I need?
Every business relies on a suite of software solutions. The specific tools for your own business may vary, but in general, most business will need off the shelf software from:
1. Scheduling software
Time is money. A statement as old as the hills, yet indefinitely true. Managing your business schedule is a critical part of operating a successful business.
Scheduling software helps small businesses streamline their activities, appointments, and resources to achieve optimal productivity. Whether an unexpected opportunity, customer booking, or impending project deadline, scheduling software ensures you are always ready and prepared.
2. Payment processing software
Every business needs to make doing business a smooth and pain free experience for customers. After all, our bottom line is the bedrock of business success.
Payment processing software empowers business owners with the ability to accept and process payments electronically - this is crucial to providing customers with a seamless and efficient experience.
And by offering an easy solution to pay automatically via online platforms, you reduce the hassle with manual payment processing or even chasing up invoices.
3. Communication software
It's impossible to overstate communication's significance in the success of any business. Communication software allows businesses to interact with team members, clients, suppliers, or stakeholders effectively and efficiently.
Messages that are delivered clear, timely, and to the right people, can be the difference between mere sanity and ultimate success.
In the modern era, this communication can be done via email, SMS, chatbots or popular communication tools. The best business management software will give you the ability to easily communicate with your customers and staff quickly, and integrate with other communication tools.
4. Automation software
Automation software takes care of mundane and repetitive tasks such as sending invoices, processing payments, or sorting data.
In principle, these tasks would have consumed valuable hours of human effort, draining resources that could be employed on more serious strategic planning responsibilities. Freeing up your team’s time by automating these tasks can fuel creativity, innovation and even improve the quality of your business output.
An ideal business management system is sure to include these software types, operating them in unison to provide the best results.
The Wonders of Automation in Business Management Software
One of the most transformative aspects of a business management system is automation. A wide array of crucial tasks can be made more efficient through this process.
Here are a few examples:
Scheduling can be tricky. But with automation, a client can book appointments, managers can schedule shifts, or plan events without human intervention, based on set availability.
This alleviates the task of searching for empty time slots and enables staff to commit their time to more pressing matters, and stay in tune to their own schedules.
2. Payment Processing
Automated payment processing removes the friction between selling your product or service and receiving payment.
Whether this is customers buying your service online, or signing up for a membership. It could even be sending an invoice with an integrated link to the payment page and sending an automated receipt on payment.
The system will automatically process payments upon invoice receipt, minimizing the delay between billing and cash flow, and ensuring a seamless user experience.
No more chasing down email threads or sifting through chats to find a crucial piece of information. Automated responses help handle simple customer queries or direct them to the right channel.
Predefined rules can also sort incoming communication into appropriate categories for easier follow-up.
Business management software should also offer integration capabilities with communication tools such as Slack or email marketing automation tools such as Zapier.
4. Invoice Generation
A simple task, yet one of the most vital. It's easy to make a typo, miss out on an item, or misplace a decimal. Small mistakes in invoices can result in major financial discrepancies.
Automation not only reduces human error but also saves time by producing and sending invoices after service delivery, at set intervals, or on purchase via a landing page.
5. Follow-ups and Reminders
Automated follow-ups guarantee customers feel valued even after they've made a purchase or used a service. Similarly, reminders for upcoming appointments increase the likelihood of customers showing up, improving customer retention and satisfaction rates.
By integrating these automated processes, the workflow becomes smoother and more efficient, reducing the chances of human error, and allowing staff to focus on more meaningful and creative duties.
How to Integrate a Company Management System into Your Business
Integration of a management system or business software into your existing infrastructure is a pivotal step forward.
While many businesses will ensure they have the best software for business processes and standard business management software in place before they start, some might need to upgrade business management tools.
Whether this is to improve management of business resources or take back control of management tasks or time tracking, here is how you can get setup with the least fuss.
1. Assess Your Needs
First off, evaluate your current business operations and identify areas that could greatly benefit from automation or more efficient process management.
This will help you to choose the best business management software for your business.
2. Choose an All-In-One Solution
While there are many software solutions for different business functions, choosing an integrated suite will make the job much easier.
Tools such as Arbox offer a comprehensive business management software solution for businesses of all sizes. From money management, scheduling and automating communications, to team collaboration or even social media management.
An all in one software solution means less need to chop and change between dashboards, or needing to learn a new user interface.
3. Train Your Team
Once you've chosen your system, you'll need to ensure everyone understands how to use all the features and software. Most software solutions will offer onboarding or comprehensive guides to help you troubleshoot common problems.
Make sure that everyone who needs to know how to use the tool, has access to it and ample time to work out how to use it.
4. Pilot the System
It can be a good idea to run the system while continuing with your established methods. This soft-launch approach allows the team to adapt gradually and deal with any learning curve.
If you're just getting started with your new business management software, you can also make use of free trials or freemium solutions to see if it is a good fit.
With Arbox, you can get started for free and upgrade to your required package whenever you need.
5. Go Live
After a successful pilot, it's time for the big moment - full-fledged integration of the company management system into your everyday business operations.
By sequentially following this guide, integrating a business management system into your business will be an enriching and transformative journey rather than an overwhelming task.
When it comes to managing small business operations, a business management system is a robust and comprehensive solution driving efficiencies, productivity, and profitability. Implementing such a system is a strategic decision that, done right, can result in impressive business growth.
Arbox offers an all-in-one platform to manage and effectively automate your unique business needs.
From efficient time management, project planning, seamless communication and reliable payment processing, to key marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM), Arbox is the full package for businesses of all sizes.
Find out for yourself how Arbox can help automate business processes and improve your resource management and task management; and even offer valuable insights into your business workflows and financial reporting.
Join a live demo to learn how Arbox can help get organized and provide an amazing client experience.