Use innovation to save cash, just like this Smart50 winner
Wednesday, November 30, 2016/
Many companies, particularly small businesses, find themselves struggling with cash flow. While some of this can be attributed to revenue issues, some of the financial burden is simply caused by ineffective processes.
“Small businesses are always looking for solutions that can reduce expenses and accelerate cash flow,” says Chandra Sinnathamby, Head of Document Cloud Solutions – APAC at Adobe.
Digitising your workforce and removing paper from your processes can increase your productivity, he says.
“When you have processes that are paper-based, work tends to be error-prone and slow, particularly if you have to send and then wait for a scanned copy to come back, or have to manually re-enter info from customer details into your CRM system.”
For Roby Sharon-Zipser, CEO and co-founder of trade and services app hipages.com.au – crowned Top Digital Innovator at this year’s Smart50 Awards – it is essential that most of the company’s technology infrastructure lives in the cloud.
“Whether for our CRM, our business suite, or our website, we use the cloud. It allows us great flexibility in terms of adapting to the growth of the business and managing costs closer to our variable needs,” he says.
The team also benefits from the latest technologies without cash-flow heavy investments in acquiring infrastructure that would become obsolete relatively fast, says Sharon-Zipser.
Sinnathamby believes that tech plays a large part in a company’s ability to be flexible.
“The cost is negligible, if none, because you spent the money on the technology, so the incremental costs would be the time taken to train someone.”
Digitise your workflow
To accelerate your workflow, research appropriate tech and software that can remove the need for paper entirely.
“Our Adobe Document Cloud solution, for example, has a desktop application and mobile application to remove any paper-based processes and offers e-signatures if you have a sales contract that you need signed,” says Sinnathamby.
“Documents will come back faster and error-free. You send a digital version to a customer and can guide them through the signing process.”
Take steps to reduce your sales cycle and get paid on time
If you’ve implemented paperless technology but are still struggling, review how you can reduce the length of your sales cycle.
“A lot of the time small businesses struggle with the paperwork side of chasing payments, getting bogged down in admin like invoicing or sending out a sales contract. But the sooner you have someone sign your contract, the sooner you can invoice and collect payment,” says Sinnathamby
- Review your systems: Look at any manual processes where you need to re-enter information from one system into another and research other solutions.
- Look at cloud solutions typically sold as a service: The upfront cost is minimal. You could either buy a piece of software historically for $400, or pay $150 a year for it.
- Implement the best CRM system you can afford: This allows you to prioritise your opportunities and develop workflows, according to hipages, and supports a business that is scaling and is also a powerful customer support tool.
Remote working doesn’t need to be expensive
If you want your business to remain competitive it’s becoming ever more important to look at flexible work to support your employees needing to work out of office.
Sharon-Zipser says employees are increasingly wanting to integrate work with their lives, and work remotely, ranging from part-time employees to the executive level. The Chief People Officer of hipages works four days a week, one of those remotely.
For hipages, collaboration technology and investing in video conferencing hardware for all meeting rooms, along with remote access, has helped accommodate the flexibility needs of all their team members.
Written by: Thea Christie