What Are The Advantages Of A Custom Software For A Small Business ?
What’s the crucial difference between a family business and a multinational company ? Why did some grow when some stayed the same during so many years ?
There Has Always Been Leaders And Followers.
While the first ones strive to always be the first ones, the others don’t know what to do to become as good as them. Well, let’s first assume the reason for this particular point is not just the willingness to offer an awesome experience to the customers. Everybody wanting his business to strive does this, it’s no secret sauce, just a prerequisite.
We Believe The Very First Answer Is Organization.
It seems pretty simple, right ? Your mom-and-pop’s business is a little messy, whereas the big competitor’s goes as clockwork. So what do you wanna do with that ?
Optimize Your Processes
Let’s first get closer to what “being organised” means for any business. It all goes down to these three activities:
- Measure information
- Communicate information
- Make decisions based on information
These activities are included into all the tasks you have to perform to run your business, be it a travel agency or a retail shop.
To us, these activities can be done effectively when the processes that are tied to it are standardised and optimised. But how can they be standardised and optimised ? What does it means ? Well, this is where custom softwares come into play. We’ve been talking about some abstract, general things you need to do. But what you actually do is very, very specific to the nature of your business. Payments processing ? Production Planning ? Buying and Selling ? The list goes on.
Have Your Processes ACTUALLY Applied
Custom softwares act as facilitators to make you able to standardise your process, but they also help you in optimising them by making them IT-enabled.
Is software the exact answer to your mom-and-pop’s shop’s messiness ? Actually not really, they just make things easier.
If you work towards the goal of having highly effective processes, then the softwares will enable you to make sure they are actually applied. There’s no magic involved in that : if you introduce a software as an obligatory step in your existing process, then your employee’s only choice will be to fill all the boxes to complete their tasks. This is the way softwares, and user experience design, help your processes to be well applied.
Improve Each User’s Experience
Let’s take a hostel as an example, as this is something we know really well. If you run this business the traditional way, when someone wants to book a room whether for one day or two months, the process is quite messy.
First, he needs to call your hostel, hoping there’s a place fitting his requirements. You’d then have to record every information about this person, probably losing time by using the phone, papers and emails.
Then, you’ve booked the room for this guy but you probably don’t have any proof that he’s actually gonna come. Yet, you’ve blocked the room.
Then you need to make sure that this person pays the rent every month, you need to track this manually or in an Excel sheet, to record it for accountability purposes.
This is only a snapshot of the process. But hey, who deserves that ? It would be better with a software. Check out what we did to enhance the User Experience and delight customers at Grandeur Stay.
When the guest wants to book a room he can check the availabilities on the website, fill the form online with his information, directly book online and even better, pay a security deposit online for you to be sure he will actually come.
When he stays in your hostel, the platform also gives him the ability to pay online, and on your side you can easily track his payments by sending him automatic reminders before the deadline.
Make Tech Save Your Time
There are a whole lot of other process improvements that the software brings to this business, but we won’t see the details here.
What we want to emphasize on is that this custom software focuses on improving the old-school process. By leveraging the possibilities offered by online payment, cloud computing, and automation, we can see that lots of time can be saved by the business owner.
On one side, what’s been improved is that there’s nothing much left for improvisation, because the process has been highly standardized: it’s super easy to repeat, which means that the process can move out of your center of attention to help your brain thinking about other important things, like a new innovative project for instance. And on the other side, it’s highly optimized because thanks to the custom software, we can call it an IT-enabled process that is using technology to ease time-consuming tasks.
Run Your Small Business Like An MNC
“An Enterprise Resource Planning system is a packaged business software system that allows a company to:
- Automate and integrate the majority of its business processes
- Share common data and practices across the entire enterprise
- Produce and access information in a real-time environment.” [Deloitte, 1998]
This is basically what separates big guys and small players in every industry. Some still focus on the task they do everyday while some have them organised so that they can think about more important stuff they’ll do in the future : projects that drive growth.
Don’t think you’re left behind though ! Process digitization today is easier than ever, even for the smallest businesses.
With such automation tools, it’ll be easier for you to get the information you need at the moment you need it. What if you knew in real time when your hostel has availabilities and therefore were able to make quick decisions about marketing operations, for instance if you need to fill one of your rooms for next week. What if you always had the information needed for you to make the decisions that actually drive profit ?
Keep in mind that software is just an enabler to shift between a low-level to a high-level perspective about your business. You still need to be embodied by that improvement mindset, to stop spending time doing meaningless tasks, and to focus on strategic thinking.
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