As your business scales, maintaining efficiency and keeping track of everything that’s happening aren’t possible without good systems. Time management, strategic development, and financial oversight can fall apart when a company doesn’t have solid procedures and tools. Leaders of small and medium-sized businesses may want to move full steam ahead. Yet they soon find that existing systems, from tech applications to processes, aren’t sufficient to support growth.
While most expanding companies experience some growing pains, these can be mitigated by reliable and scalable systems that provide tangible benefits. Some of these include more productive and efficient outcomes, consistent decisions and approaches, and improved financial returns. But what tools can help businesses sustain growth while also scaling to it? Let’s look at four of them.
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1. International Payroll Systems
Expansion plans might start small or include bold moves. At some point, you might want to consider hiring a few remote employees who live outside the U.S. Alternatively, your strategies could take your company into global markets with international offices and teams.
Finding ways to ensure everyone gets paid on time and according to local labor laws can get tricky. Unless your business has lawyers and HR staff well-versed in global payroll tax and employment laws, you’ll need help. You don’t want to misclassify international workers as contractors when they’re really employees. Nor does your company want to miscalculate payroll taxes and required employee benefits.
Working with global payroll providers gives your business a system to manage payroll for employees in different countries. Besides distributing paychecks or direct deposits on time, international payroll solutions ensure employers pay the right amount of taxes. Since payroll taxes can vary between nations, they might be challenging to track when employees live in several places. Global payroll systems also ensure each team member gets the correct benefits.
2. Website Analytics and Optimization Solutions
One way for small and midsize businesses to sell to international markets is through an online store. Depending on what companies offer, some can expand market reach without establishing physical offices in new locations right away. Meanwhile, these organizations can still focus on maintaining and growing local markets in the U.S.
The growth in global online retail sales supports this idea. Worldwide e-commerce sales have reached a value of $4.9 trillion and are expected to increase by 50% through 2026. Around 58.4% of online shoppers buy something each week, and more of them are completing their transactions through mobile apps. Companies are also reporting that online sales are nearly equal to brick-and-mortar revenues.
Solutions that help optimize a business’s website for multiple devices, including smartphones and tablets, are becoming must-haves. But beyond catering to mobile users and shoppers, optimization tools reveal patterns and trends. For example, are landing pages converting and drawing enough traffic? Or does there seem to be a mismatch between visitors’ expectations and the actual content? Metrics like high bounce rates and cart abandonments may point to changes you should make to increase customer engagement.
3. Planning or Project Management Applications
You may be familiar with the saying that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” However, a lack of strategic planning often happens in organizations that unknowingly enable reactive cultures. Everyone typically scrambles at the last minute to get things done, or project scopes constantly change without much thought. Any previous work staff members completed is moot, and they are now forced to start from scratch.
Sometimes organizations become reactive because of a lack of processes and tools. Team members rely on spreadsheets, emails, and repetitive meetings to move internal or client deliverables along. Unfortunately, doing this almost guarantees that people won’t be on the same page. Projects often fail because of poor resource planning, goals that aren’t clear, and scopes that become unmanageable.
Planning and management tools that are more dynamic than spreadsheets help address most reasons for project failures. General and specific information about initiatives becomes centralized for everyone to see. Companies can map out every moving piece while divvying up assignments and monitoring progress. Some tools also have built-in resources for real-time and asynchronous collaboration so teams can address questions and roadblocks together.
4. Accounting and Financial Systems
When a business has a handful of customers and employees, it’s relatively easy to manage revenues and expenses. A company might only have one office or facility that contributes to overhead. But as business increases, the waters become a bit murky, and there’s less visibility into what’s driving or dampening profits.
Accounting and financial systems may not inspire excitement like development plans for a new store or international division do. Nonetheless, these solutions are imperative for tracking which clients and revenue streams are profitable or problematic. Accounting and financial software also helps identify potential overspending and the need to tighten budgets. Calculations such as return on assets, debt to assets, and liquidity ratios can uncover improvement opportunities.
Financial systems can also streamline the creation of balance sheets and cash flow and income statements. Even if your company isn’t public yet, getting in the habit of creating these financial statements can help boost ROI. For example, a balance sheet might predict future problems with cash flow if long-term liabilities are too high. Focusing on paying those down or avoiding new long-term debts can maintain financial sustainability.
Systems for Growth
When a business expands, the old ways of accomplishing tasks and meeting objectives may no longer work. Growth often equals the need for more sophisticated processes and systems that can scale with a company. International payroll systems, website optimization solutions, planning applications, and financial systems are some of the most essential tools to have. With these systems at hand, your company’s growth plans — local or global — can go off without a hitch.