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Business Management (and its systems) for Dummies
The current business climate has never been more accepting of innovation. Every year, the number of startups in Europe grows by an astonishing 20%. And with a thriving VC industry raising billions of euros every year, there is no short supply of funds for startups who are product-market fit or passionate about disruption enough to inspire great growth potential.
Already, Europe now has an estimated 150 unicorns (startups worth $1Bn and over), after adding 84 last year alone — a significant bump when compared to the only 11 that were added in 2020.
However, the startup ecosystem isn’t just about the fundraising glitz or the glamouring announcements. As startups scale, they increasingly come face to face with the head-scratching realities of running a business including hundreds of employees across multiple offices.
Only by building the right systems ahead can businesses hope for a seamless transition from just 2 or 3 co-founders sweating it out — and crushing it — in a lobby, to a full-on legal entity with multi-branch offices and a real management system complete with HR, benefits and pensions functions.
To a large extent, tools like CRM system can be a force multiplier for such businesses. It is even said that sales productivity can increase by up to 34% thanks to CRM. When used properly, tools like a CRM can help you to manage, maintain and control your business. Here, we explore business management and some of the tools that can be useful in the early stages of building a business management system.
So, what is business management?
Business management is the overall term for all the tools, activities and systems involved in the administration of a formal business entity.
In any tech startup, design and engineering is just one aspect of the business. As has been demonstrated by companies like Airbnb, started and run by non-technical founders, savvy management is equally important in determining the success of a startup.
Then there are...business management systems.
There’s hardly any standard business management system that can run smoothly and efficiently without the help of a tech stack. In practice, the scope of business management systems can vary depending on business size. But overall, there are some essential components. Here are three of them:
Management information system.
Every business has to deal with an astounding volume of information on a daily basis. From the regular everyday operations data to vital data concerning relationships with regulators, suppliers and clients.
A Management information system collects everything in a database, providing business managers with a comprehensive birds-eye view from which they can then analyse to make the decisions that guide business objectives. It is the nucleus of business management and the foundation for all other procedures in the system.
Enterprise resource planning systems.
As earlier mentioned, startups systems are not made up of designers and engineers alone. There’s also procurement, accounting, HR, project management, risk management, compliance and other units.
With enterprise resource planning systems, startups can standardise, harmonise and manage all of these departments on a single database, unifying financial reporting across board. It remains a very vital tool for ensuring efficient allocation of resources.
Customer relationship management systems.
Customer relationship management systems are the software with which businesses can properly manage interactions with their present and potential clients, throughout the customer life cycle, from the start of the sales funnel through to everything after. It is a tool that harmonizes all the points of interaction with clients across all the departments in the business on one platform.
Customers are the entire reason any startup is in business anyway. Even if you’re still in your early stages, running primarily on seed funding, savvy customer management techniques are necessary if there’s to be any hope of attaining profitability. So, it’s even more imperative for growing startups, for whom profitability and sustainability are even bigger objectives.
Your choice of a CRM provider is going to be one of the most important decisions you make in building your startup. CRM software offering basic functionality is hardly enough. You need software that goes the whole nine yards in offering more than enough features to help you reach business excellence. Like the incredible flexibility that efficy CRM offers.
Building a business management system from scratch.
Systems are the structural support of any successful business. It’s like a motor vehicle - product design and all its surrounding hype can be likened to the body structure and paint of the vehicle.
But the mechanical parts — engine, transmission systems and wheels — is the system that actually keeps the car moving. It’s only when these work perfectly that you can concentrate your focus on reaching organisational objectives. Below, we outline a roadmap to building a working business management system from the ground up.
Step 1: Define your mission.
As always, the very first thing to do would be to define what your organization’s mission is — your ‘WHY’. Before you can actually begin to put things together, there has to be a meeting of the minds or an alignment of mission (and vision) between the management and the members of staff about what your short and long-term goal is and what would need to be done to achieve these objectives.
Step 2: Draw out your procedures.
Once everyone fully understands what the organizational objectives and necessary activities are, you want to assign the activities to departments and then, draw out standard operating procedures for them. Operations manuals and staff handbooks come to mind here. A clear description of what is expected of everyone is the first step in building a proper business management system.
Step 3: Establish exhaustive lines and modes of communication.
A business environment is at its most productive when there is a clear hierarchical structure. You also need protocols for communication between employees on different levels, and between the business and its external stakeholders. Especially clients. Make sure your processes are streamlined where possible to avoid delay in communication and feedback and to ensure speedy and efficient service delivery. This is where you introduce and standardise HR and CRM systems.
Step 4: Continually brainstorm possible improvements to the model.
If there’s anything the past two decades have taught us about corporate culture, it’s that the business climate does not take kindly to silos. Hold regular meetings with your staff and other important stakeholders to collect feedback and suggestions. With these contributions, you can then make the necessary updates to your system to keep your iterating improvements running optimally.
efficy: Your all-in-one business management tool.
Business management, especially for a fledgling business in the fast-moving startup market, is like juggling balls — tough, taxing, and with a lot to keep an eye on. But with the right software and systems, you’re able to cater to these considerations from a single source, making your business the well-oiled machine that it is.
We, at efficy, provide top-notch CRM software that’s trusted by several big names in the European industry, from Belfius Bank to The Louvre. You can find a comprehensive list of features of efficy CRM here.
To see how it works, book a demo today at absolutely no cost to you!
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