Guest Post: Scaling Up Your Business

p>Whenever I consult startups on business development, the questions I am most often asked is regarding growth. How fast should we be growing? How can we make sure we are scalable? These are important questions that need to be discussed before it's too late.

Today's guest post hits on some of the options you have when considering growth factors. I hope the information is able to help you in the future.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software has been a boon to large businesses, helping them to coordinate tasks across many different departments or divisions within the business, and greatly reducing duplication of effort. The usefulness of ERP for smaller or growing businesses may be overlooked.

The advantage of using ERP for a business of any size is that information can be captured, managed and shared across many platforms or types of software. It saves accountants and human resource executives a great deal of time because they do not have to gather data and ask many questions. For example, if a business contracts with a vendor to have fire extinguishers serviced once or twice a year, the information about the servicing from the contract or service agreement can be entered into the ERP system once. The ERP software will then help all those who need to know about that service agreement. Security personnel will be notified when the contractor is scheduled to visit, the building manager will have documentation of compliance with fire regulations after the contractor makes a visit, and the accountant will have documentation of payments for expenses and tax purposes. Having one system take care of all of these things can greatly reduce administrative costs.

As a business grows, ERP software can adapt as new employees are added or new locations or divisions are established. ERP software can be helpful in reducing growing pains experienced by many businesses by functioning as a repository of accumulated data on lessons learned from mistakes and best practices. New employees may refer to such information when they are assigned new projects. Having ERP software in place also makes it easier to share information with new vendors, customers and clients. If new software is added or upgraded for specialised tasks or purposes, ERP software can be easily configured to read files created from the software and share it as necessary with employees, vendors and customers.

A business that trades via the Internet can see many benefits from using ERP software. The ERP software can be used to capture data provided by customers or potential customers on the business’s website, and then the data can be shared with individuals or departments within an organisation so that it can be analysed for accounting or marketing purposes. Having a system that automatically captures and shares information in such a way can greatly reduce the administrative costs of learning how well an online marketing campaign is working. Such reduction of administrative costs can be crucial for growing businesses. Small businesses that have the potential for growth may actually see more advantages of using ERP software than large businesses. A small business that starts with ERP software and adds features as it grows may pay far less for implementing the ERP software than a large business that may experience resistance by employees who do not wish to change how things are done.