What software do you need to grow your business?

Here, we look at how growing businesses can think smarter about the software they employ.

Entering into a period of growth can be an exciting time for any business. After all, it means there’s demand for your product or service, and that you’ve managed to establish a space for yourself within your market.

Yet now is not the time for pats on the back all round. Whether it’s hiring the wrong people (or too many people), losing track of your finances or deviating too far from the essence of what made your business a success – plenty of pitfalls lie ahead.

One way to avoid these is to think smartly about software. Deploy the right programmes at the right time and you’ll increase the likelihood that your growth is successful, smooth and long lasting.

Performance analysis

First of all, you need software that can help you to gain a deeper understanding of your business. You need to know what works well at the moment and what you need to improve. This is about understanding why you’re in a position to grow – and identifying the things that you cannot lose sight of as you get bigger. Business intelligence software can help you drill deep into data sets, analyse your existing operation and model the projected result of any changes.

Keep on top of projects

The bigger you are, the more complicated the projects you handle are likely to be. You might well find yourself in a position in which multiple people – across multiple teams – are working on different aspects of the same project. Some of these might well be contractors and outside agencies too. You need to be able to track each aspect of a project, assessing the time taken and the cost involved in order to stop it spiralling out of control and coming in massively over-budget or after a deadline. Project management software is key to this, enabling you to split tasks and time and pinpoint the people needed to complete specific parts of a larger task.

Need for speed

You cannot afford for your business to grind to a halt as you get bigger. That might mean finding quicker ways to be able to handle tasks on a big scale. You could do this by automating part of your processes or by finding software that helps you to save a lot of time. In the world of logistics, for example, barcode software is used to help you maintain and update a stock inventory in a quick and effective way.

Managing your money

Finally, money is at the heart of everything. Failure to maintain a healthy cash flow could easily put the brakes on your growth – so it’s important that you’re keeping on top of your accounts as you expand. Tapping into an accounting software package that makes it easy for you to keep and update records – on the go if necessary – can ensure that you don’t lose control of your finances.

Of course, it pays not to see software alone as a silver bullet. Focus on the people who use it – and train them up – and make sure that you plan the roll out of any new programme properly to avoid any bumps in the road. If you do, you’ll be able to use these methods to manage your growth effectively.

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk and GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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