SMEs: Think you're too small for ERP? Think Again!
Small to medium-size businesses (SMEs) face tough decisions from the very beginning. In the very early stages you have big dreams, but limited capital. Any capital you do have must be invested in an operational foundation that will directly build the business. Back office solutions such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) may seem like a luxury you simply can't afford. "Management by walking around" is common. So are manual processes and spreadsheets. Decision-making is driven more by gut feel than data and hard facts. And that works... for a little while. But then you have a bit of success and you start to find yourself stumbling a bit.
You start off thinking, "All we need is..." At first your list might be quite small. Your sales team can't live without a tool to manage contacts, opportunities and pipeline. So maybe you find some inexpensive (or even free!) software. Accounting needs to balance the books and turns to Quicken or Quickbooks. Operations needs some rudimentary inventory control. Another inexpensive or free piece of software fills that gap. And you're still managing orders in spreadsheets. None of these talk to each other, and before you know it, your "back office solution" is held together with the equivalent of baling wire and duct tape.
These same solutions that were intended to solve problems and save time are now costing you in terms of efficiency, productivity and may even be limiting you in terms of scaling your business. In other words, they are holding you back. If you don't have a solution that is helping more than it is hindering your business, if it is not giving you a distinct competitive advantage in today's digital world, if it is not a complete solution that is easy to use, then you are definitely operating at a disadvantage. While you might think you are saving money by not investing, instead you are more likely to be leaving money on the table. It's time to make a move.