Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Nate M. Vickery is a business consultant and Editor-in-Chief at Bizzmarkblog.
In business, focus is a vital factor which can make or break a company. As an entrepreneur, you should be objectively aware of your strengths and find a way to utilize your weak spots. However, only after you start building your business model, and developing your strategy, you will realize how many aspects can be perceived as a potentially problematic area for your company.
Believe it or not, 17% of Startups fail due to lack of the actual business model.
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Many businesses start without any strategy whatsoever as well. A total of 42% of 101 companies surveyed, reported that their business failed because they’ve tried to enter the market without previously checking the actual need on the market for a particular product or service. When we are discussing strategy, analysis and business management in general, one term seems to presents itself as a unifying force of the entire process – metrics.
When you are measuring your ROI, your revenue stream, your entire cost structure in general, that fluctuation of resources starts painting a very simple picture. With every report that you receive, you are able to determine the possible issue in your business, or at least narrow the focus on the department in particular. You are able to find your weak spot.
So, which tools are you using regularly? Monitoring the right metrics, and staying on top of your every fluctuation, is the only reliable way of conducting a scalable business. Actual, real-time insight is what makes a successful business. But if you are one of the entrepreneurs who started their business with no previous planning, then you are probably not even aware of the many aspects that your company should cover in order to become a sustainable SME.
So let’s see what are the vital tools you’ll need for building and developing your business.
Every project requires transparent records. Not just for the sake of legal questions, but because automation of the process and standard operating procedures can utilize project development to a significant extent. Tracking progress, alterations and overall communications should be your primary task. Especially for a startup company where one person usually performs multiple tasks. A great majority of these SaaS systems have a very
Tracking progress, alterations and overall communications should be your primary task. Especially for a startup company where one person usually performs multiple tasks. A great majority of these SaaS systems have a very unattractive pricing strategies, but then again it is not that hard to sell them since there is an evident need on the market. For a startup, a free version of Asana is definitely a quick and a reliable SaaS that will help you in monitoring project success.
Probably the most non-transparent ROI report that you ever encounter will be the one coming from your marketing department.
For example, measuring social media marketing has always been a grey zone of ROI. But it is crucial for you to realize which parts of your marketing funnel should be optimized for conversions, and those metrics are clearly defined, but vary depending on the type of marketing. Hubspot is definitely the first stop of many content marketers, but basic tools like Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools are, of course, free.
Other tools you may want to consider are:
If you need some inspiration to boost your content marketing strategy and increase your conversions, you can find some of the previous entries on that topic here: 6 Startups Who Have Nailed Down Content Marketing
Accounting systems will help you automate your checks, keep track of the receipts, and overall keep your business clean.
Modern cloud-based accounting software can also keep track of your online banking transactions, your credit card reports, and even upload a receipt as a photo from your smartphone. Some tools, like Zoho books, even have a collaborative platform included. In that way, you are able to address every transaction and discuss it with your business associates. Of course, more complex version of this tool, like
In that way, you are able to address every transaction and discuss it with your business associates. Of course, more complex version of this tool, like Netsuite, come with a CRM and ERP systems as a part of an application. And in this case, you probably know which metrics should be measured.
CRM & ERP Tools
Customer Relationship Management and Enterprise Resource Planning are two absolutely different types of tools, but users often get confused over the differences. The difference is – while CRM is strictly focused on clients, and overall communication between the company and prospects, ERP tools are more focused on cost reduction and overall efficiency of business.
Of course, advanced and premium tools, such as Salesforce, are able to utilize both of these tools into one platform. At the very beginning, you can use SaaS such as Insightly, which is free. But when your company starts growing and becoming an SME, we recommend at least using Nimble. Software of this type makes every communication and deal progress transparent, and ERP services will determine which aspect of your company could use an improvement.
Using cloud-based tools can be affordable, which makes it very popular among small businesses and entrepreneurs. If you’re tech savvy, then you should look into integrations and find out which software can be connected to the other one and how.
PAYMILL for example, is not just offering an alternative solution for your payments (which can significantly influence your conversion rate), but it also utilizes API integrations and mobile integrations. Through an application programming interface, plugins and extensions, it provides you with real-time data and interconnectivity between different tools. Not to mention that it is easy to set up for accepting online payments and allow you customize your checkout. With that sort of real-time insight, accessibility and the ability to tailor your own custom solution for your particular website, you will have your startup on a road of becoming an SME in no time.
About the author
Nate M. Vickery is a business consultant and Editor-in-Chief at Bizzmarkblog. His passion is helping businesses reach their highest potential through smart management and marketing planning.