Recently, I had the opportunity to ask the chief marketing officer at Cin7, Doug LaBahn, about his take on tech in small business.
What software is essential for small businesses looking to scale?
If a small business owner is looking to scale their business, a cloud-based solution is the top investment they should make. Cloud-based solutions allow businesses to gain full control over their inventory and orders and visibility into the supply chain and third party partnerships. It also offers a variety of integrated applications that businesses can install or remove based on their needs at any given time. Cloud-native software also stores all data in one system, enabling end-to-end visibility to everything from available products, accounting, warehouse management, in-store point of sale technology and much more. By giving business owners maximum flexibility and the ability to scale seamlessly, this investment will ultimately allow businesses to better serve their customers and get products into the hands of consumers faster.
How can software or remote sourcing options allow businesses to reduce overhead costs?
Software not only simplifies and streamlines business processes, but it also automates many tasks and operations that suck up crucial employee time. This frees them up to focus on more value-added tasks to help grow the business and enable higher job satisfaction. Modern technologies allow you to integrate effortlessly with third-party logistics providers, which can help reduce overhead costs like the burden of renting your own warehouse and hiring employees to staff it, especially amid global labor and warehouse shortages plaguing the industry. Software solutions also use automation to minimize the number of mistakes made with manual processes, saving unnecessary costs that can eat away at a business’s bottom line.
For example, Cin7 customer Peta + Jain implemented software to help scale the business, reduce manual error, and make the best use of the resources available to them. Once they integrated the system, Peta + Jain was able to save hundreds of hours and over $130k per year by utilizing an accounting software integration and online marketplace and shipment applications to help bolster the company’s online presence. Another positive of the technology is that the company gained access to high-quality analytics and reporting, allowing them to instantly place inventory in any of the company’s multiple channels, see sales throughout different regions, and accurately forecast and plan for the future.
How important is program compatibility with mobile devices?
Ensuring that business programs are compatible with mobile devices is extremely important because modern product sellers need to be able to do things on the go. For example, they should be able to make sales, access inventory anywhere in a store or warehouse, fulfill orders at the touch of a finger, and have visibility into the entire business no matter where they’re physically located.
In the past, legacy systems only allowed for software to be accessed on desktop computers, but now the possibilities are endless. Mobile devices can help you offer a better customer experience – whether it be through the speed of which an online order is fulfilled or supporting customers with in-store purchases.
What kind of software metrics should programs provide businesses?
Cloud-native software provides analytic and reporting metrics, allowing businesses to gain visibility into sales by region, channels and time period. You can also have control over things like taxes, compliance-related filings and all accounting record keeping. As a result, businesses can use these reports to plan cash flow with clearer insights into quick- versus slow-moving product, expenses based on historical data, seasonal trends, and more – removing the guesswork from finances and allowing business owners to focus on functions that will help them grow and reach more people.
What is the most important tech upgrade a small business should make?
Implementing an integrated, flexible, and scalable cloud-native software platform should be a top priority for small businesses because the opportunities that come with these technologies are endless. Many small business owners are using or have used disjointed, manual systems for operations such as accounting and inventory management; but these legacy systems often involve a lot of user error, avoidable mistakes, and use up countless hours that could be spent elsewhere. Investing in an end-to-end technology that consolidates and connects all business departments and data will allow you to scale, better serve customers, speed the time it takes to get orders into the hands of consumers, and enhance employee productivity and satisfaction.
Do you prefer desktop or online software applications for your business?
We prefer online software applications because they allow employees to work from anywhere, which is essential in today’s digital world. They also keep all data backed up and automatically stored – ensuring maximum productivity – allowing employees to focus on the work at-hand, rather than troubleshooting tech issues that are often associated with desktop programs.
How does your company focus on being sustainable?
We operate in a flexible work environment that is very supportive to remote working, virtual instead of in-person team meetings, and virtual customer meetings which reduces our carbon footprint and lowers travel times for our team members. In addition, we support and encourage our customers to put a high priority on sustainability and feature positive accolades on our most sustainable customers making them role models for all our customers to follow.