Business survival is difficult, never mind managing business growth! The number of obstacles that you can face in a single day can be monstrous. From people management & hardware issues, right the way up to business processes and regulations, the ability for business leaders to accurately report and manage the health of a business to understand growth can be a challenge.
Many of the obstacles you encounter in your day-to-day growth management are experienced by far more businesses than you probably realise. Where we can't comment on or list every obstacle to business growth, we can shed some light on the 4 barriers that are most likely to be holding you back.
Below we will outline these 4 obstacles, and how you can manage, or even eradicate, these stumbling blocks from your growth plans!
Obstacle #1: Dirty Customer Data
The result of bad customer information is an unhappy customer. When customer information is spread across sales spreadsheets, standalone financial systems and other applications, there is no way to know which data is most current, accurate and reliable. Bills may be sent to the wrong customer address or contact information may be out-of-date.
In turn, customer service fails because agents don’t have up-to-date information. This often happens when information must be retrieved from someone in another department or location. Customers may not file direct complaints, but churn and abandonment figures rise as customers find other vendors that don’t waste their time.
NetSuite has dramatically changed the nature of communication across the organisation and with customers. NetSuite reports on all your business data from a single common data repository. You get a 360-degree view of your customer across sales, service, transactions orders and more, which is unachievable when you have customer data sprawl. It means rather than having to make phone calls, ask for spreadsheets or dig into different systems, all customer information is right at your fingertips. Your sales team can make customer calls with all the information they need about the customer. Your finance team gets the complete customer satisfaction picture when an invoice is late, and your service team gets visibility into the proximity to critical renewal dates.
Obstacle #2: Disparate Back-Office Systems
Standalone financial systems are designed to automate a limited set of core accounting functions. As a result, it limits how companies can run their operations. As businesses grow, they must adapt their processes to fit the application, rather than having the system scale and accommodate growth.
The key to business growth and success is greater transaction volumes and speed, but it’s hard for many financial systems to handle this kind of pressure. Achieving full audit trails, rich business planning and reporting or automated processes requires adding systems and constantly engineering short-term quick fixes. But standalone financial systems simply can’t handle stronger financial controls, better SKU management or support for more complex financial processes, such as recurring billing and invoicing.
Running complex business processes across areas such as financial management, revenue management, fixed assets, procurement, order management, billing, inventory management, services delivery and more is not possible with disparate systems and applications. From a simple General Ledger solution patched together with a web store, warehouse management application and a customer support system, standalone solutions simply will not support a growing company and its business processes. Moving to a single, unified cloud-based system is a better solution.
NetSuite’s native flexibility and agility are all-encompassing, without the overhead of maintaining an underlying technology layer. NetSuite is designed to stay state of the art in business automation, giving companies the tools needed to stay ahead of the competition and to seize new opportunities as they emerge and grow.
Obstacle #3: Government Regulations
As companies continue to expand, regulatory compliance becomes a priority. Tax laws and reporting, audits, cultural nuances, financial reporting, consolidating, and other government regulations overburden the finance team, creating frustrations. Employees will only use technology that responds to their needs efficiently, effectively and easily, and does so in real-time. New accounting standards such as ASC 606 will also need to be on the forefront of planning as companies begin to transition to the new standard. As growing companies try to scale with the rapid expansion, the business processes and attention to regulations tend to take a back seat. This strategy results in companies trying to grow by adding more systems or applications to maintain compliance—which often aren’t integrated with each other—and may revise or attempt to automate certain business processes.
A single cloud-based suite offers all of these capabilities. One of the many advantages is the reduction of many IT risks. Organisations require a system of good internal controls to minimise errors, misstatements and fraud. NetSuite provides the necessary annual
Obstacle #4: Visibility
Most systems were designed for an era when companies could wait until the end of the month to get the data they need. That’s not the case today—consolidated views and up-to-the-minute reporting can mean the difference between thriving and barely surviving.
Unable to drill down into the details and potential variances, there is no way to discern how the business is performing. There is no way to compare actual performance to strategic plans to quickly alter course, hit the brakes or rev up the engine. The dashboard reveals nothing, or worse—the wrong information. For example, public company investors want visibility into both in-quarter activity and performance versus expectations, as well as a view of how that short-term performance aligns with longer-term strategy. Without visibility, there are only generalised guesses that lack actual measurements.
Leadership must have access to transparent, real-time performance data to analyse and compare to strategic plans. They must be able to take the pulse of KPIs and other measurements to accurately and confidently describe how much money the company is making today (or losing) and likely to generate tomorrow. Such descriptions also need to be both comprehensive and specific. Muting the ability to precisely see into the health of the business is what we have identified as the main obstacle in your business’s growth initiatives.
If your growing business is experiencing any of the pains discussed where a standalone financial application may be limiting your business growth, lack of visibility into customer data or your own workforce is unavailable, and you are not able to keep up with new standards, it may be time to consider the cloud-based products and services that 3EN offers. Moving your company to NetSuite allows for more efficient and effective business operations— essential for growing an organisation and enabling employees to react to client and organisational needs in real-time.