by Alan Simpson
     Executive Chairman

Get back wasted time: Executive strategies to grow your business

As a business executive, time is incredibly valuable and making time can sometimes be a challenge. If you can’t manage your time efficiently, both yourself and your business are likely to fall behind and the goal of remaining competitive could become an issue.

Following the release of Sage’s latest IDG report, we look at the top tips business executives in SME’s should consider, as well as the key factors that hold businesses back.

Identifying the problem

Your objective is to become smarter, more productive and spend your time more efficiently. Therefore, one of the first steps to complete is to identify the problem areas. Most business executives face the challenge of growing their business and without the right tools in place, this will be extremely hard to achieve. Embracing collaboration and technology advancements is crucial in order to grow as a business and acquire new opportunities.

The research in this report highlighted that many businesses found legacy solutions and processes slowed them down the most, with data being difficult to retrieve. As a result, many SME’s require transformation in order to change their legacy IT systems. 46% of respondents stated that limited resources played a pivotal role in revenue growth, whereas 18% said that not having enough time played a key role in not being able to identify the problem quickly. With customer needs and demands increasing, businesses are required to respond rapidly and not waste time.

Business Priorities

Continual growth is really important for organisations and they subsequently rely on that revenue growth to exist. Therefore, sourcing the right priorities to drive efficiency is essential for decision makers.

The report found that 74% of respondents saw reducing customer churn was the highest-ranked activity and 68% said that improving sales performance was a key objective for them.

Another priority for SME’s is to improve operational agility and flexibility by modernising processes. Research suggested that this is slightly less of a priority than revenue growth and surprisingly found that reducing costs was the lowest priority. There are many ways businesses are able to improve on operational agility, and it mostly involves technology. 58% of respondents found that improving collaboration was the most important factor to improving operational agility and flexibility. Where as only 50% said that managing data security and risk was of importance too.

Technology is evolving at breakneck speed and IT systems are becoming more modern and sophisticated. Large numbers of businesses have adopted cloud based applications due to the realisation that legacy processes and technologies are slowing their strategies down. Forward-thinking leaders have the opportunity to really make a difference if they appropriately implement these technologies and systems.

Gain back time

Automating manual processes will assist businesses in saving time. 32% felt that financial reporting was the process most in need of automation, followed by data entry and administration at 30% and sales and purchase orders at 30%. Additionally, accounts payable, invoices, customer service management and inventory tracking were all additional factors that decision makers wanted to automate. By implementing this into their organisations, time can be saved resulting in employees becoming more productive and an increase in accuracy.

Alongside this, predictive analytics have seen a rise in popularity in an effort to save time. On average, 56% of businesses said they are looking into adopting predictive data analytic tools within their financial software, with 72% stating that access to real-time financial information is crucial. This is becoming a necessary function for modern businesses.

Security is one factor that may not allow SME’s to gain back time, but it is a fundamental necessity with 50% agreeing with this. Cloud computing technologies can make a huge difference in a company, although 58% of surveyed leaders say that security is a major concern when implementing it. With this being said, in reality, today cloud service providers are required to follow strict data protection and regulatory standards.

How Sage Business Cloud can help business leaders

Working with trusted partners is vital in order to obtain the right skills and solutions that can ultimately save time. By working with Sage, for example, you are investing in the knowledge and skills they have acquired over 30+ years within the industry. A quarter of the survey respondents said that they use cloud-based financial management software solutions that are hosted in the cloud, with 36% using on-premise systems and 38% favouring a combination of both for their finance and accounting software. Sage Business Cloud can save you time and increase your capabilities as a result.


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