By Rieva Lesonsky, CEO, President & Founder of Grow Biz Media
I’ve witnessed a lot of revolutionary and evolutionary change in the many years I’ve covered small businesses. But technology was the most disruptive (and I mean that in a good way). The technological revolution that erupted in the 1990s, making tech more accessible, affordable, and understandable for small business owners, happened while women and minorities were exploring and embracing entrepreneurship.
Technology fueled what turned out to be a concurrent entrepreneurial revolution. It made starting and growing a small business easier and less costly for the millions who took advantage of it.
And while today, all businesses depend on technology, it has its challenges. Many business owners tell me that finding the software that best fits their needs can be overwhelming, confusing and exhausting. They worry about buying the best products or services for them—the ones that will save them time and money, be easiest to learn (and use) and help make their businesses more efficient and productive. And many often end up with too many software solutions that don’t communicate with one another. So instead of streamlining operations, they’ve actually made things worse.
Instead of juggling disparate programs and applications to manage your people and projects and meet your goals, small business owners need to adopt tools that help streamline operations and not complicate them.
Choosing a Solution That Best Meets Your Needs
When it comes to software for your growing business, it's important to assess your specific needs first. What are the critical areas where you need improvement? Do you need to integrate your various systems and apps better? Do you require customizable reports or the ability to delegate tasks more efficiently?
You may need to develop templates or enhance team collaboration. You may want to increase productivity, manage your budget, onboard new hires, schedule and plan, or share files. Whatever your needs, identifying them upfront will help you choose the best solution for your business.
Once you identify your top needs, here are a few other things to consider:
- How easy is the software to set up and use? The more intuitive the software, the easier it will be for your staff to use it.
- Is the system customizable so it can be tailored to your specific workflows?
- Will it seamlessly integrate with your existing systems and tools?
- Are there compliance regulations you must adhere to, including meeting your security standards?
- Is it scalable? Growing businesses shouldn’t buy based on current needs but on what you’ll need to help you expand.
- What kind of customer support is provided? Ensure that training and support is built into the customer experience.
Then, do your homework – be sure you check software review sites to see what other businesses are saying about their experiences.
Why Small Businesses Should Consider Project-Based ERP
Small businesses need solutions that help drive cross-business insights and fosters profitability. That help manage your projects, responsibilities and team while ensuring everything stays on track—like project-based ERP software. I know the term ERP (enterprise resource planning) scares some small business owners who think it's too complex, too advanced and expensive. The truth is some generic ERPs might be that, but if you look for an ERP designed with your small business in mind, you won’t be disappointed.
As indicated by its name, project-based software helps you better manage projects. It helps project managers create and manage tasks, assign them to the appropriate employees, establish deadlines and track progress. This type of software makes it easier for small businesses to keep track of multiple projects, delegate tasks efficiently, and ensure that everything is completed on time. This is true of all types of businesses. Whether you’re for-profit or nonprofit, work in the field, in an office, at home, or both—project-based software can help you do it better, quicker and more efficiently.
Small businesses often need access to all the resources they need to work on multiple projects. So, using project-based software is an excellent way to streamline and manage your resources so you can allocate them efficiently, ensuring that each team gets the resources it needs when it needs them. It also allows you to see which team members are working on what specific tasks and who is free to be moved to the new project.
It can be daunting and time-consuming when it comes to generating reports, whether for internal or external use. Project-based ERP software helps you and your project managers create reports that track progress, see if your resources are correctly allocated, and if your teams are operating at peak performance. This makes it easier to immediately spot any areas needing improvement, such as adding staff or other resources. It also gives you a head’s up if you’re in danger of missing critical deadlines.
How Your Small Business Can Benefit
A project-based ERP system enables you to integrate your business systems, including customer relationship management, finance and billing, project and resource scheduling, reporting and analytics, talent and HR and time and expenses. Essentially, the right project-based software can manage most of (if not all) your business processes for your respective industry.
Simply put, project-based ERP software can be an excellent solution for small businesses trying to streamline operations because it allows you to manage projects, tasks, and your team more efficiently. Too many small business owners think their companies don’t need something as “sophisticated” as project-based ERP software. Hopefully, you are not thinking that small.
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About the Author
Rieva Lesonsky is a small business and entrepreneurship thought leader, advocate and journalist. She is a best-selling author and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship.
Her company, GrowBiz Media is a custom content creation company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, that creates content for small business websites and major marketers wanting to connect to entrepreneurs. She also manages a small business blog, Small Business Currents, dedicated to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs start and grow their business.
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