Image credit: Tool kit from Shutterstock
by Lewis Robinson
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), a whopping 627,000 businesses launch annually. But an estimated 595,000 businesses also go out of business each year. Perhaps most pertinently, only about half of new startups will make it for five full years and just 30 percent will make it an additional five years.
Clearly, any solopreneur or small business owner who launches a business into this climate will have their work cut out for them! Happily, these four crucial tools can turn the tide in your new business’s favor, getting you through the first three years and then some.
Tool #1: Get started with BPMS (Business Process Management Software).
BPMS is an essential automation tool that can free up more of your time to run and grow your business. This software is built around the core concepts of Business Process Management (BPM), a daily activity that can help business owners identify what is working and what is not and make adjustments before small problems become big problems.
Software designed around BPM’s core values of design, modeling, execution, monitoring, optimization and re-engineering. BPMS offers four modules to assist with daily BPM-centric business operations: content management, process engine platform, collaboration-friendly tools and analytics.
Tool #2: Combine your use of BPMS with Customer Relations Management (CRM) software.
By launching your business with the two twin pillars of BPMS and CRM, you will be able to streamline and automate both your underlying core infrastructure and the human relationships you must maintain with clients, vendors and the local community.
Here, even if your business has a staff of one, you have built-in metrics from day one that you can use to track your progress, analyze marketing campaign and sales push results, monitor cash flow and receivables/payables and more. If your business takes on addition staff beyond yourself, having both software systems in place makes training and evaluating employees much easier as well.
Tool #3: Simplify your distribution and shipping functions.
The less you spend on distribution and shipping costs, the more you have left over to feed back into your bottom line at year-end. As an advocate for automating and simplifying your distribution and shipping processes, there is none better than extra profit just waiting to be had.
By using checkweighers and online stamp services, you can seamlessly weigh and meter your outgoing packages. If you have an online e-commerce store, there are also a variety of third-party online software apps that can help you automate the entire process from order placement to order arrival.
Tool #4: Keep your business plan current and stick to it.
Perhaps the number one reason why new startups fail – some in the very first year – is having no business plan or an incomplete business plan. Starting a new business can be heady stuff indeed, and it can become all too easy to forget that cash may not start rolling in the moment you open your doors. For most businesses, it takes time to develop that traction, connect with new customers, build loyalty and repeat business and then establish word-of-mouth new referral business.
So be aware at all times of what you can do to keep the cash coming in and where you can go if you need a little financial push in a hurry.
By implementing these four crucial tools into your business plan and into your work processes from day one, your business will already have a better-than-average chance of keeping its doors open for three years and then some!
Lewis Robinson is a business consultant specializing in social media marketing, CRM, and sales. He’s begun multiple corporations and currently freelances as a writer and business consultant.