3 ways to make lean planning better for small businesses

There are ways to make lean planning work better for small businesses. Almost by definition, a small business is generally a lean operation. However, if the business owner and top managers are working sixty or seventy hours a week, that isn’t really lean.  It’s just painful.


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3 Ways to Make Lean Planning Better for Small Business

Lean Financials

For many small businesses just closing the books can be chaotic, especially for rapidly expanding businesses who are outgrowing QuickBooks or other basic accounting solutions. Small business owners and managers, often put a lot of extra hours for month-end closings. If you’re a mom-and-pop operation you know that days off are a luxury.  But what if you could have a few more nights and weekends for your personal life?

For that to happen, you have to gain greater control and insight so you can be confident your financial facts and figures are in order.  You will also need to not spend unnecessary stress and time on routine financial procedures and reporting.

Outgrowing QuickBooksUsing the right tools and the right information improves everyone’s performance. While it might not be fun to spend a little more money on software, you have to ask yourself: What’s my time worth?  What does employee time cost?

Obviously you’re not going jump right into a new enterprise level accounting solution, but it is something to start thinking about if you are spending more than a couple hours on month-end closings. Luckily there are many online accounting software options that go beyond QuickBooks and similar applications, and they may be more affordable than you think.

If you decide to choose a new accounting app ask how simple it is to use.  Find out how simple or difficult it is to set up reporting automation, general ledger and workflows for things like billing automation, and collections processing.  Does it offer things like multi-currency and multi-entity accounting to remove manual processes and encourage further expansion without having to grow your accounting or IT staff.

Productive People

Gamification is a proven motivator.  If you don’t know what gamification, it’s pronounced Game-ification.  As in turning something that isn’t a game into game.  Classic examples in business are sales leader-boards or “Injury free for x-amount of days” campaigns.  However there are many ways to apply the principals and use game theory to motivate people across departments and functions.

There are apps out there that you can use to drive gamification programs, however if you are little bit creative you can come up with some simple games.  This article at GetEntrepreneurial.com offers a few good tips on gamification for business.

Beyond gamification, you can also use your existing apps. Keep people on-track and working together with a single source of truth about company priorities, goals and progress on existing accounts and projects. Tighten up your standards of communication and collaboration and and keep everyone on the same page by using social media, email, calendars, file-sharing, and business management software.

Lastly, if you haven’t moved to the cloud yet you should consider its benefits when it comes to productivity. A comprehensive cloud solution allows you to securely connect and share vital data with all the parts of your organization, making sure your employees have the information they need to collaborate and make better decisions whether they’re in-office or working remotely.

Lean Tech

Make technology a business advantage not a business expense.

Using multiple disparate systems to manage your finances, grow sales and increase productivity may come with a low sticker price, but is it really cost-effective.  By choosing a more powerful, cloud-based solution for small-businesses, you can get all of the accounting, planning and sales tools you need in a single integrated system. Whether you are on the market for a new system today or not, just imagine the business benefits freeing up your IT manager’s when they no longer have to maintain accounting and customer relationship management software. You can learn more about integration on this integrated business systems and accounting.

With a system that is maintained by the provider and delivers self-service reporting, simple to use functionality and connects departments, IT managers can spend less time on maintaining software and internal support and more time focused on implementing new solutions and programs like cheap or free gamification software initiatives.

Change doesn’t have to come with a huge amount of additional training and costs or other related business disruptions.  Choose a cloud based business management solution that is fast to deploy, easy to learn and use and offers cost savings over competitive products.

If you are already using Excel and other Microsoft apps, Microsoft makes a simple accounting app online.  You can check it out in  a free trial here.

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