5 Signs Your Business is Ready to Grow

Posted by Ashley Lemus on Tue, Jan 24, 2017 @ 04:38 PM

Like many business owners you probably have a goal of growing your business in the new year.

 5 Signs Your Business is Ready to Grow.jpg

 

But do you know which signs actually point towards growth? 

 

Here are a few signs you're starting to outgrow your current software:

1. Everything takes too much time.

2. Everyone has poor visibility into the business.

  • The right metrics aren't tracked.
  • Data provided can't be trusted.
  • Forecasting isn't available, so it's harder to plan for the future.

3. Everyone has a different version of the truth.

  • Data can't be shared or accessed by the right people.
  • Collaboration doesn't exist or is more difficult than it should be.
  • Everyone takes longer to make decisions because they have different data.

4. No one has enough time to grow the business.

  • It's more difficult to attract and retain talent.
  • Time is spent on basic things instead of improvements and upgrades.
  • Everyone has a workaround instead of focusing on streamlining the business.

5. The business is poorly equipped for business expansion.

  • It's difficult to consolidate financial information, especially for more than one site.
  • Setting up new products and services is cumbersome.

 

 

So, what you can do?

1. Understand your organizations core needs.

  • Identify the metrics you need.
  • Think which systems you need to connect--accounting, inventory, HR and payroll, sales, marketing, and payments.
  • Get a business partner you can trust.

2. Stop doing business as usual.

  • Eliminate unnecessary tasks. If the data from reports aren't valuable, don't do the reports.
  • Delegate so you can make time to grow the business.
  • Set up incentives for quality to help your team reduce errors.

3. Don't tackle everything at once.

  • Do what's within your budget. Ideas to save money: subscriptions and software with add-on capability.
  • Prioritize. Handle your biggest challenge and then move onto the next priority.

 

 

Notice a couple signs that show you're ready to grow your small business? 

We would love to speak with you about how Klear Systems can benefit your organization.

Give us a call at (949) 681-8135,
email us at info@klearsystems.com
or complete the form below and we’ll reach out to you.

I Want to Learn More!

 

Tags: Small Business, Helpful Tips

Five 2017 Goals for Your SMB to Start This January

Posted by Ashley Lemus on Fri, Jan 06, 2017 @ 05:00 PM

So, it's the start of a new year and you probably made a couple of New Year's Resolutions for yourself.  

 KS - 2017 Business Goals.jpg
 
 

But did you think of any goals you could set to help your small business thrive in 2017?

 
Here are 5 things you can start now to benefit your organization:
 
 
1. Start thinking long-term
 
Ever spend so much time thinking about and preparing for what has to be done tomorrow that you forget to stop and reflect on the wins and losses your business might have just experienced?
 
This year be sure to take some time to reflect your past year in order to make long-term plans for the year ahead.
 

2. Record and revisit short-term goals often

Short-term goals are just as important as long-term goals.  They allow you to break down your long-term goals, not only making them feel much more achievable but also helping you to focus on the most important goals you want to achieve and get everything else out of the way.

Try drawing out three columns (one month, three month, and six month goals) on the top half of the page.  On the bottom half of the page, write down what actions need to happen in order to achieve each goal as well as who is going to take responsibility for that action and by what date.

 

3. Budget, budget, budget

Do you know how much your SMB is spending on overhead? What about your profit margin? Do you sell goods that are subject to sales tax? Tools like Avalara and other BI software will help you effectively manage your organizations budget, which is key to the long-term health of your business.

 

4. Embrace being a life-long learner

Do you read business books to help develop yourself into a better leader? Do you spend more time asking questions rather than spewing out answers?  If not then you should highly consider it.  The most effective entrepreneurs have a coach who helps guide them through the good and the bad. So spend some time this year making a reading list and asking questions. You won't regret it.

 

5. Consider how you would like your business to impact the community

Legacy is something we all think about but spend little time considering how to create it.  Sure you want your business to be successful but have you thought about how you can improve your organization in order to better serve your clients, not just by services or products offered? Whether it’s your office, your home, your street, your community, or the world, what are you doing to leave it better than when you found it?  

Sage has developed a division known as Sage Foundation, which is focused on creating social and economic opportunity in the communities they operate within around the world.  So, research charities, social enterprises, and non-profit organizations your organization can partner with to help build a better future and in your local community.

 

These are 5 things are just some of the few every leader should do to have their best year yet. What other goals should be added for 2017 greatness?

  

We would love to speak with you about how Klear Systems can benefit your organization.

Give us a call at (949) 681-8135,
email us at info@klearsystems.com
or complete the form below and we’ll reach out to you.

I Want to Learn More!

 

Tags: Small Business, Helpful Tips, Business Management, Business Goals

5 Successful Holiday eCommerce Promotions

Posted by Ashley Lemus on Mon, Nov 14, 2016 @ 04:09 PM

This Thursday Avalara is partnering with Ecommerce expert Nexternal: A Highjump Company to help you take a break from this busy time of year.  

 Brunch & Learn.jpg

 

Enjoy a delicious brunch while these companies inspire you to push through the holiday season!

 

Avalara, an industry leader is Sales Tax preparation, and Nexternal will share their tricks of the trade that will cover five successful holiday promotions to help boost sales and improve efficiency, bringing you creative ideas to get you fully inspired as you head back to work and conquer the day.

 

 

Date and Time

November 17, 2016

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

 

Location

Hotel Irvine

17900 Jamboree Road

Irvine, CA 92614

 

 

However, space is limited, so be sure to register and reserve your spot.  And don't forget to bring your teammates!

 

Tags: Avalara, Helpful Tips, Business Management

Is It Time For A New BI/Analytics System?

Posted by Ashley Lemus on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 @ 04:37 PM

 

Is your organization in desperate need of replacing old, manual Business Intelligence (BI) tools?  Maybe it is and you just don't know it yet. 

 

business-intelligence-solutions.jpg

 

BI translates to technology-driven processes for analyzing data and presenting information that will help companies improve the decision making processes at all levels of management.  An outdated BI system will show several warning signs such as wasting time, harming decision-making, and keeping organizations from taking advantage of their data.

 

While your SMB may be an expert at collecting data, a powerful BI will help you to analyze the data you've collected into actionable information, allowing the decision makers the opportunity to identify trends and issues in order to fine-tune operations to meet business goals.

 

Here are 4 signs it's time to update your BI/Analytics system:

 

1) You're still using spreadsheets

If your enterprise is growing rapidly and still relying on spreadsheets, it's time to consider updating your BI system.  In a growing business, you will need a system that enables real-time data sharing and updating.  

 

2) You rely on reporting and planning tools for decision making

A key component of BI analytics: the tools. Depending on what your organization needs, basic tools such as reporting, planning, dashboards, and data warehousing can make all the difference. Reporting tools are vital to remaining competitive in your industry, making smart decisions while building the business and the brand, while financial reporting is such an important process that you should see what the best option is for your organization as well as what fits into your BI strategy.

 

3) You have Independent Software Vendors to streamline your processes

Data integration options, platform choices, and ease of use are things to consider when investing in a BI tool. Planning tools include budgeting and forecasting, and are offered by Independent Software Vendors (ISV) to streamline you organization’s planning processes and accelerate budgeting and forecasting.

 

4) You love dashboards

Dashboards are top proprieties in terms of software that executives are seeking. Why? Dashboards make consolidating information into digestible bits easy. With dashboards, you have access to graphs, charts, and scorecards that illustrate trajectories, victories, and challenges through key performance indicators (KPIs) and your information to effectively keep a project or the entire company on track.

 

Some software, such as the BI360 suite, offer a complete Excel and web-based suite, comprised of reporting and budgeting, and dashboards. These signs above may help you make a decision on whether or not you will be needing a new BI/analytics system. 

 

 

We would love to speak with you about how Klear Systems can benefit your organization.

Give us a call at (949) 681-8135,
email us at info@klearsystems.com
or complete the form below and we’ll reach out to you.

I Want to Learn More!

 

 

Tags: Small Business, Business Intelligence, Helpful Tips

3 Signs You Should Call In An ERP Consultant

Posted by Ashley Lemus on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 @ 04:51 PM

 When it comes to ERP platforms, useful signs of impending doom are typically fraught with subjectivity.

cmmi-consulting2.gif

The formatting of a list of inventory valuation reports may be off.  Or maybe you simply don't like the position of a function button within a particular platform's UI.

 

These types of teeth-grinding experiences regularly occur with any enterprise ERP workforce. However, just because a single operator or manager fails to appreciate the way a platform behaves, those events rarely call for a platoon of ERP consultants.

With that being said, there are many more finite markers that senior managers, managers and operators should pay attention to.

That's why we're providing three signs that say it’s time to find an ERP consultant:

 

1. At the C-level: lost enterprise management vision

In the senior suite, effective reporting typically serves as the backbone for critical decision triggers; whether those considerations are driven by daily, monthly, quarterly or annual business requirements. Therefore, malformed information output can cause error; ranging from simple issues like time/cost due to internal production mis-understandings, to complete enterprise project failures caused by inaccurate capital requirements.

While these impacts are bad enough, the weaknesses typically emerge in parallel with senior managers who have lost visibility on a company’s practical goals and process needs. In this case, the only sure way to get back on track would be to engage one or more consultants who can take a look at what needs to be fixed quickly.

 

2. At the departmental level: reduced throughput speeds

The practical value of ERP-derived information can either be a boon or a curse, depending on how responsive a particular platform performs. However, small irregularities in daily operational processing tend to build up and create larger problems over time. 

This is where ERP consultants can serve a useful purpose; since you can task these systems ‘mechanics’ with as many fixes as necessary.

 

3. At the operational level: difficult process executions

Difficulties in executions tend to appear more often in customizations; although concerns associated with compiled code can also be identified from time to time. In the former case, time is the killer here, and fixing problematic issues in real-time can cause real headaches.

 

 

We would love to speak with you about how Klear Systems can benefit your organization.

Give us a call at (949) 681-8135,
email us at info@klearsystems.com
or complete the form below and we’ll reach out to you.

I Want to Learn More!

 

Tags: Enterprise Resource Planning, Small Business, Helpful Tips

Four Things To Look For In A Technology Partner

Posted by Ashley Lemus on Wed, Oct 05, 2016 @ 12:09 PM

Which technology partner and software is right for your small business?

 

Selecting a software for your small to medium enterprise is a major decision.

And while it's important to have an IT strategy to assure you don’t end up with a mishmash of software that won’t work well together it's equally as important to consider, in any software purchase, whether you are selecting the right technology partner.

In other words, who is the company behind the software.

  

 

Of course, there are many factors to consider, as well as questions to ask when evaluating a software provider.  That's why we're providing four things to keep an eye our for:

 

1) Experience: How long has the company been providing software? Or better yet, how long have they been providing software to your specific industry? This will help you identify if the vendor understands your special business needs? Also, look for a company that has a history of guiding their customers though technology changes and knows where the software industry is heading next.

2) Software adoption: Many software vendors claim to be partnered with the “number one” software. So, how do you know which one is best for you? One of the best ways to cut through the hype is to ask for references. There's nothing wrong with talking to other industry professionals to ask how the software is working for them.

3) Credibility: It also doesn’t hurt to get other third-party opinions. Has the software provider won awards? What do independent surveys say about the company’s products?

4) Proven support: Ask about the support services you will receive as a customer and any metrics that show the level of service. For example: How quickly are customer questions resolved? And what is the company’s current customer satisfaction ratings for their support services?
 

Picking a technology partner is a lot like adding a new member to your management team—you want someone you trust will help make your business successful.

 

We would love to speak with you about how Klear Systems can benefit your organization.

Give us a call at (949) 681-8135,
email us at info@klearsystems.com
or complete the form below and we’ll reach out to you.

I Want to Learn More!

 

Tags: Customer Relationship Management, Enterprise Resource Planning, Small Business, Helpful Tips

3 Ways to Use CRM to Target Millennials

Posted by Ashley Lemus on Fri, Sep 30, 2016 @ 04:51 PM

 Struggling to hit the target when it comes to marketing to Millennials?

Hit your target when marketing to millenials

 

Millennials -- males and females aged between 18 and 34 -- are making up the bulk of mobile users with almost a quarter browsing the mobile web for at least four hours every weekday. These statistics speak for themselves: millennials consume tech more than any other generation.

 

But how can brands target this profitable demographic with CRM software?


1. Collect Prospect Details Using Social Media

Brands that want to target their services and products to millenials can no longer rely soley on phone number and email addresses.  Adapting you SMB's communication methods to social media is proving to be much more lucrative.

That's where your customer relationship management software comes in handy!  With an effective CRM marketers can collect Facebook addresses and Instagram handles from prospects to engage with their customers. Especially since more than half of social media users search for product information and communicate with brands on social networks.


2. Gain Behavioral Insights In Real-Time

Real-Time monitoring tools allow in-depth insights into the purhcasing behaviors and habits of consumers. With the wide variety of tech devices available a millennial might experience a number of communication points where information can be exchanged. Over time, these interactions build a very informative consumer profile. 


3. Improve Customer Service


CRM allows you to improve the customer experience by tracking interactions between your consumers and customer representatives. This software compiles previous communications -- by phone, email, mail, SMS or social media -- so staff can manage correspondence and promptly resolve complaints.

This is extremely beneficial since millennials are sticklers for good customer service!  Not only are they quick to leave a company after a bad experience, but they're also very loyal to a brand that will treat them well.

 

 

We understand with the numberous forms of communication available it can easily become overwhelming.  However, with a CRM that stores all social media details in one place, facilitating effective communication is a breeze. Marketers can gain insights into the purchasing behaviors and habits of this generation with real-time monitoring tools. A customer relationship management software is a must-have when trying to grow your business, especially when communicating with a generation that places great importance on customer service.

 

 

We would love to speak with you about how a CRM can benefit your organization.

Give us a call at (949) 681-8135,
email us at info@klearsystems.com
or complete the form below and we’ll reach out to you.

I Want to Learn More!

Tags: Customer Relationship Management, Small Business, Helpful Tips

Four Questions You Should Be Asking Your ERP Provider

Posted by Ashley Lemus on Thu, Sep 15, 2016 @ 01:17 PM

So, you're considering an ERP solution to better manage your small to medium-sized business.  

But do you really know which solution will work best with your organization?  And how do you know if the ERP vendor you're in contact with can be trusted?  

Sage 100 ERP Consultant Collaboration

 

Here, we've laid out 4 questions you should be asking your potential retail ERP vendors:

 

1. “What can we do better?”

Chances are you're not the only client your Enterprise Resource Planning vendor has ever worked with.  And it's more likely than not that some of their other clients are along the same line of work.  Take advantage of that knowledge and experience.  Consider asking them if there are any ways you could adapt your business that you might not be aware of.  Since this suggestion would be coming from a potential retail ERP vendor it will likely be ERP-related, and a completely different process than what you would normally think up. 

2. “What other retail customers do you have that we can talk to?”

There's nothing wrong with doing your research and a good and respectable business partner should absolutely agree.  Ask those references how long it took to complete the implementation?  How much longer still to begin realizing benefits? What expectations did you have that remain unfulfilled? What did you do right during the implementation process? What would you do differently? Did you get what you wanted from the vendor? What else would you have wished for from the vendor? Continue asking and researching for retail customers who were not on the reference list and contact them too. They could have gained some negative experiences that will help in your decision.

3. “What integration can I expect from this ERP system?”

“Our supply needs need almost daily updating. Can we link point of sale data to our suppliers and distribution centers?”

Big international retailers do this and gain an advantage. Of course, your answer is ‘yes’...but consider how much will it cost and how long will it take. Think about the practicalities of integrating other software with your retail Enterprise Resource Planning operation and consider various options before making a decision.

4. “How will this ERP help us make more money?”

So maybe you should ask this exact question BUT there are much more specific questions that will follow along the same line.  The answers, of course, will depend on who’s asking as each company’s circumstances will be different.

Similar questions to ask may include:

  • What costs will the retail ERP help me reduce or defer?

  • What process improvements will become practical when we have your powerful tool to help us?

  • How can we serve our customers better to increase their satisfaction and possibly buy more or be willing to pay a higher price?

  • What module and what do I have to do to actually use the data so it becomes valuable information? Beyond the implementation phase, how will you be available to help us make more money?

Every business will have their own list of questions and there are many guides to selection and implementation available online. But it's important to remember that the retail ERP you select is a tool you will hopefully use to change your business for the better.  So go beyond these general guidelines and ask potential vendors for some concrete facts.  It'll only build a stronger and more healthy relationship in the end.

 

We would love to speak with you about how Klear Systems can benefit your organization.

Give us a call at (949) 681-8135,
email us at info@klearsystems.com
or complete the form below and we’ll reach out to you.

 

I Want to Learn More!

Tags: Enterprise Resource Planning, Small Business, Helpful Tips

5 Tips to Reap The Full Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted by Ashley Lemus on Tue, Aug 30, 2016 @ 03:31 PM

As the popularity of corporate social responsibility (CRS) increases, so does the demand.  Not only does investors look for it, but now top talent often expects it of prospective employers.  

 
This is because CSR initiatives help strengthen corporate culture, as well as contribute to an enjoyable employeed atmosphere.  
 
 
The importance of corporate social responsibility

 

However, these aren't the only reasons for the increasing popularity corporate social responsibility has been experiencing, as CSR is often used for philanthropy, recruiting, and retention.

There are a number of tangible and intangible benefits that come with CSR such as increased community standing and customer loyalty but attaining these benefits takes time and work.

 

That's why we're providing a couple of helpful tips so that your SMB can reap the full benefits of your corporate social responsibility plan:

 

1. Rather than one time efforts, consider forming partnerships.
  • Strategic partners can have complementary goals leading to mutually beneficial situations.
  • Flexibility from both sides is key. Often, the full benefits of a partnership take time to discover. Critical thinking and creativity play important roles when evaluating joint resources. Usually, both sides adjust operations to maximize mutual benefits
2. Start planning a long-term strategy. 
  • A plan with intermediate results, a road map to implementation, and details about company resources will go a long way towards selling your idea.
3. Focus on the core competencies of your company, and build your strategy around them.
  • When it comes to your organization, try making your corporate social responsibility unique to the niche your business fills.
4. Your managers will be your best source of insight.
  • They know the pulse of your organization and of the people you can involve.  Ask them for suggestions on how they would like to socially influence their local community.
5. Your employees can be your greatest asset.
  • You can involve individuals at any level in your company. Leading them with conviction is up to you.

 

Maintaining a positive social presence for your small to medium-sized organization is equally as important and utilizing a effective business management solution.  Not only will it increase employee enthusiasm within the office but it will also allow the public to connect with your organization in a positive manner.

 

We would love to speak with you about how Klear Systems can benefit your organization.

Give us a call at (949) 681-8135,
email us at info@klearsystems.com
or complete the form below and we’ll reach out to you.

 

I Want to Learn More!

Tags: Helpful Tips, Business Management

Buying a Business? Here’s How to Make Sure ‘Pre-loved’ Equals Profits

Posted by Ashley Lemus on Mon, Aug 15, 2016 @ 10:54 AM

Building a business from the ground up can be quite daunting as it's a huge (and often costly) undertaking with many challenges. 

So, a much more attractive option would be to reduce start up costs by purchasing an existing business with an already existing customer base, right?

Important things to look for when you're thinking of buying a business.

 

While, buying an already established business might sound like the perfect way to jump into small business ownership, there’s always the possibility of it being a complete disaster. If you don’t do your homework, that is. Make it your mission to get the real scoop on the business before you even think about shaking hands on the deal, and you’re much more likely to succeed.

 

 

Here are three of the most important things to look for when considering purchasing a business:

 

Why is it up for sale?

There are a ton of reasons for selling a business, thriving or not.  Could be a relocation thing. Or even retirement. Or maybe the owner is just ready to bail.

However, even if it is for sale because profits have nosedived, you might have just what it needs to turn it around (though you’d better be sure of it if you’re planning on taking that chance). A more profitable business will have a higher purchase price, so consider how much of a risk you’re willing to take.

 

Crunch the numbers

It's important to be confident about the financial health of the business, but how do you see through the smoke and mirrors to get to the true value? Enlisting the help of an accountant is a good place to start. Your accountant will be able to spot any hint of ‘creativity’ included on the balance sheet.

Obvious things to look for include assets being exaggerated, aged debt, and negative cash flow. Get audited financial statements and tax returns from a CPA, not just the business owner’s assessment, and don’t be afraid to question anything you or your accountant aren’t crystal clear about.

 

Understand your potential customers

Never underestimate the value of knowing your current and potential customers. The fact that the business comes with an existing customer base is a positive, but will they continue to buy from a new owner? What can you tell from the business’ overall customer history? Has it dwindled over recent years? Or is it growing at a steady pace? Do a handful of customers make up the business income, or is the customer base wide enough to support losing some in the takeover? A little analysis will go a long way in helping you decide if it’s the right investment.

And, of course, always remember to trust your gut!  If at any point something seems off during your due diligence trust that the right business opportunity will come along.  Believing in yourself and trusting your instincts will save you both time and money in the long run.

 

We would love to speak with you about how Klear Systems can benefit your organization.

Give us a call at (949) 681-8135,
email us at info@klearsystems.com
or complete the form below and we’ll reach out to you.

I Want to Learn More!

Tags: Small Business, Helpful Tips