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What is a Small Business Management System (BMS) and Why do You Need One?

Creating a Connected Work Environment

There are a lot of enlightened big corporation definitions of a Business Management System but for us, it’s much simpler. It is:

The combined processes and functions, e.g., Customer Engagement, Sales, Provisioning, Finance, etc., are necessary for a profit-oriented business to run efficiently, effectively, and legally.

The fact is every business has one, it’s really just a question of whether or not the system that is in place is in fact a good thing, a bad thing, or something in between.

In a small business that generally means, at a minimum, are we making money and paying taxes. If you’re reading this, you probably want to add more to that equation. Perhaps growth, efficiency, or more family time.

Our vision is to provide you with a connected workspace that impacts all of those things.

What’s in the way?
Typically, a business has evolved and has a mishmash of tools and processes that require manual entry, double entries, misalignment of information, and lousy communications. At the very least this has created additional complexity if not internal friction.

A good Business Management System is one in which the ownership, employee, and customer experience align creating a seamless and frictionless experience. What that means is an experience where duplication of efforts is eliminated, errors are reduced, communication is fluid and in a means which works best for all stakeholders.

What does a Connected Environment Look Like?

The objective of a connected workspace is, in large part, to create efficiency and accuracy by avoiding duplication of efforts. Secondly is to eliminate friction especially as it revolves around communications.

As an example, in a highly effective environment information is entered once and is automatically recorded in all the systems that need to use that information, and is easily accessible from any appropriate device. When this does not occur, as I frequently the case, you end up with multiple databases that are difficult if not impossible to keep synchronized creating a high risk of errors and omissions.

Why is a Connected Business Management System important to a Small Business?

For exactly the same reasons a large company, efficiency, which means savings of time and money. But there’s more. Here are some fun facts you should know. Small businesses that use technology to create a connected environment earn two times more revenue per employee, experience four times more revenue growth annually, and are nearly three times as likely to add people in any given year.

About our Business Management System

We have created a Business Management System that provides the tools necessary to achieve the goals of a seamless frictionless, connected environment for owners, employees, and customers. Its impact is felt from the start of the business cycle, a customer appointment, through provisioning of your product or service and accounting for it.

We strive to ensure nothing is touched twice. Anything that is entered in one part of the system is also added in the others whether that is the field app, office app, virtual payment terminal, or bookkeeping. Additionally, communications, especially to and from customers, is automated and supports the most desirable formats, SMS text messaging and email.

A major advantage of our BMS is that we marry our software, developed from over 15 years of cloud software experience, with those from our partners to provide the benefits of a single location to access your programs but the flexibility to grow and add as you need to.

At the outset, we integrate core software from Xceleran, Global Payments Integrated (GPI), and Intuit into a cohesive platform that has flexible design options and is very cost-effective starting as low as $39.50 per month.

Together we feature:

  • Customer management
  • Appointment scheduling, by customers or internally.
  • Automated communications in text or email.
  • Field agent software for job management, invoicing, and collections
  • Full bookkeeping system including payroll services
  • Sophisticated payment processing system integrated across all platforms

The result is a frictionless, seamless, connected environment.  To learn more, visit our Business Management System page

How can a Business Management System help you?

Here’s another opinion from Home Business Magazine:

1. Improves Employee Efficiency and Productivity

If you want to be a good business owner, it’s important to provide the right benefits and essential business tools to your employees. In order for your employees to be more efficient and productive, they need quality tools.
Once you streamline your workplace, your employees will work better, harder, and faster. That’s the reason why using business management software can be beneficial. It adds a certain level of accountability to your employees while helping them work better and much easier.

2. Helps You Avoid Errors

When information is transferred from one platform to another, there’s a risk of encountering some errors or losing a part of your data. You may either tolerate such errors or spend plenty of resources and time fixing and checking everything.
With the use of business management software, you don’t need to import the information a few times. The only thing you’ll need is to import your information and your software will do the rest. For instance, if your company uses cloud services, all of your data will be available and secure for all of your team members.

3. Provides Important Communication Tools

When it comes to the business industry, communication is considered paramount as it’s the key to efficiency and success. This is why using business management software may come in handy since it’ll provide you access to the best communication tools you’ll need.
Oftentimes, business management software includes communication tools, such as central message centers, text messaging, and email that everybody on the team may see. Since such apps are cloud-based, such communication tools are accessible on any connected device, regardless of whether your employees are working remotely or not.

4. Helps Your Business Build Trust and Improves Customer Relationships

This may sound a little strange, but the use of business management software may help improve your company’s customer relationships. The software has features that enable you to talk to customers with a better image of your company’s situation.
As useful software for your business, it can also help you provide delivery dates that are more accurate and create a good pricing policy. Business management software may also benefit your company by quickly sharing helpful information with customers. As a result, your customers will enjoy a better customer experience.

Table of Contents

Should You Be Offering Consumer Financing?

What is customer financing? Customer financing breaks down the total cost of expensive goods and services, enabling customers to make smaller loan payments according to a set schedule. Rather than paying the full retail price at the time of purchase, customers make regular payments on a monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly basis. In most cases, customers are charged interest as part of their loan payments. Interest rates vary depending on the terms of the loan, and in some cases, merchants will offer zero-interest financing as an incentive to potential customers. Should you offer consumer financing? Often called By Now Pay Later (BNPL) consumer financing does have some distinct advantages for a business and a consumer but is it right for you? Let’s start with the fact that it is not free to you or your customer.  So, the question is does it meet a need for your business.  For example, are there times when a customer needs your product or service out of the blue and they’re not prepared?  Or, they really want something but the price is just a bit out of reach?  Those are really obvious situations where a consumer financing option would be a win-win as long as the process was easy, and the cost was reasonable. In most cases, customers are charged interest as part of their loan payments. Interest rates vary depending on the terms of the loan, and in some cases, merchants will offer zero-interest financing as an incentive to potential customers. What should you look for in a consumer financing program? For the consumer, look for a program that offers multiple, flexible solutions instantly so a decision can be made right away.  Rates and features should be transparent with no hidden fees.  Approvals need to be swift, usually in less than five (5) minutes. For you, make sure the program is a frictionless and seamless part of your sales and provisioning process.  If there are fees charged to you, you may want to pass them along to the buyer. If so, be sure there is a built-in process to do that.  If you have large ticket items that require installation over time, a pre-approval process might be needed.  Last, make sure you are getting paid quickly and that there’s a strong support team if you or more likely your buyers need it. How we can help you create a financing program for your customers? We have 2 programs which may fit your needs. Delay Pay from GPI and powered by TUA technology. GoKnow from Know Technologies, Inc. GoKnow from Know Technologies, Inc. You can use one or both depending upon the circumstances. To learn more, please contact us through our live chat, appointment scheduler, or call 899-966-6111 for free. Bottom line In today’s economic climate, many customers don’t have the funds necessary to make large purchases. Customer financing gives shoppers the ability to pay off large purchases over time while increasing their sales and transaction values.

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How is Customer Behavior Changing and How do You Adapt?

Much has been made of the changes in our society over the last couple of years.  Some of that is due to the pandemic and some to the changing habits of the buying groups.  Certainly, the Gen X, Y, and Z choose to interact very differently than the Boomers (myself included).  The younger generations are inherently tied to the digital expanse and use it for virtually all their communications, social and otherwise.  Add one more trait of the current customer base, the desire to conduct “business” any time, in any way they desire, and for business that means a digital-first, mobile-driven era has been rapidly thrust upon us. “In the mobile-first economy, users are growing accustomed to a proactive approach to businesses: customers wait for news and deals to be delivered to their gadgets.  It is more than that: to attract the user’s attention messages must be sent at exactly the right moment. …in the competitive landscape, users expect real-time customer experience to satisfy their needs of ‘right here, right now no matter the hours…” (Pushwoosh.com) Build Effective Communications with Customers It is no longer enough to have a telephone and answering machine.  While the phone is still preferred by older customers the younger customers strongly prefer chat and text messaging.  But, any good strategy includes them all and finds ways to reduce “friction” by reducing if not eliminating wait times by providing answers to common questions online. Listen to Your Customers Give voice to them by providing feedback mechanisms like follow-up surveys and social media rating opportunities.  BUT, be sure you also have the means to monitor and respond to those responses in real-time. The customer’s voice Once you’ve determined what sort of consumer you have, you’ll need to listen to their voice. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, including interviewing them, reviewing feedback and complaint forms, and my personal favorite, observing the products or service in action. As a result, one of the most important abilities is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and imagine what it’s like to be the recipient of your product or service. What are their frustrations, issues, and obstacles, and, of course, what makes them happy? The Kano model is a useful tool in this situation. The Kano model, named after its creator professor Noriaki Kano, emeritus professor at Tokyo University, came up with a way of plotting three types of relationships between all the fulfillment and cusp satisfaction. The first category is called expected, and it is implicit and assumed. The second one is called the wanted, these are explicit the wanted are those things that are accustomed to values and are prepared to pay for. The third category is delighted these are those things that a customer didn’t realize they could get as part of the product or service. Add an Automation Strategy Make sure your communications are consistent and timely by adding automation to your buying and fulfillment processes.  This will eliminate internal friction and drag on your resources while appealing to the digital needs of your consumer. Maintain a bright, user-friendly website Not unexpectedly, today’s purchase tendencies are significantly skewed toward the digital arena. Add to it the increasingly popular “contactless, click-and-collect” trend in shopping. In other words, internet shopping, which is currently exploding in popularity, is unquestionably on the increase. As a consequence, the digital purchasing experience should be consistent throughout. Your website should be transparent about products and services, easy to browse (from the home page to “submit order”) and provide relevant fresh information on a regular basis through blog posts, feature articles, white papers, and other means. Customers that prefer to make all of their purchases online will appreciate your website’s ease of use. We can help We’d love to help you with your digital strategy.  Please use our chat or appointment request and we’ll be right there.

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Enterprise Resource Planning – ERP: Is it for you?

The term ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning which, truthfully, really does little to help in defining it at all.  The term has evolved from 1960’s manufacturing systems linking various processes to today where it extends to all business systems.  We call our Small Business Cloud Based ERP Xinator.  It links together a series of cloud-based business software, Xceleran’s, and our partners, integrating business processes and workflows into a cohesive Business Management System (BMS). Why use a Business Management System (BMS/ERP)? Here are some of the key reasons: Data Availability and Accuracy: What is entered in one portion of a workflow is shared in all systems eliminating duplication of effort and assuring the accuracy of information. Since it’s cloud-based technology it’s available for everyone (permitted) from anywhere. Single Management System: All workflows are managed from the same dashboard. (Think Home Entertainment system with many components that are controlled by a single remote bringing them together for simplicity and excellence.) Business Analytics: With all your processes feeding data into the system it’s easy to set KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and monitor them from a dashboard.  No more guesswork, just real data in real time. Cost Savings, Efficiency, and Scalability: All this leads to the ultimate benefit of making it easier to run and grow your business. BMS/ERP Workflow Management Example We specialize in the service industry.  Here’s a basic example of the workflow of a service call and the systems it touches. In this process, there is a need to access, share, collect, and store data from different systems.  The role of your BMS/ERP is to do all that for you through one integrated database and system. In this example, everyone from the person who first engaged with the customer to the bookkeeper that ran the P&L for the month is using the same data.  All that are permitted can see the progress and the results. What are some of the Software Modules in Xceleran’s Xinator/ERP? Here are some of the modules that our Xinator features.  Keep in mind customization, i.e., picking and choosing which modules to use, is a core feature of a good ERP.  Also, remember these are integrated so what is done in one module is captured in the others as appropriate. QuickBooks Online (Required) – QBO is the primary database for our BMS.  This way all customer information is standardized across all of the platforms. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) – This is where basic information on your customer is found including a history of bookings, invoices, and proposals. Booking Manager – The booking manager provides a way to customize your types of appointments, and assign costs, descriptions, and pictures for marketing purposes.  It also provides the means to see current, pending, and completed jobs, adds estimates and invoices, and more. Scheduling – Software that allows customers to request appointments and administrators to set appointments and assign service personnel.  If desired, it also provides for the collection of deposits when bookings are made. Automated Customer Communications – Automatically sends customized communications in email and text messages for booking confirmations and reminders, follow-ups, and ratings/surveys. Field Service App – Android and iOS-based app for a service person to receive job information, create estimates in the field, collect billable items on the service site, and if desired collect payment via credit card reader, manual input, emailed/texted payment link, even Buy Now Pay Later. Intelligent Phone Answering – Automatically and instantaneously, provides details of callers including recent booking history, balances owed, notes from previous calls and text messages, and more. Payment Processing – Allows for collecting payment through five payment options (Credit/Debit Cards, ACH, Customer Payment Links, Point of Sale, and Buy Now Pay Later) and at multiple points during the customer journey, e.g., Balance Due or Deposit in advance of an appointment with a mouse click.  Social Media Monitoring and Management – Automatically collect, track, and respond to social media rating posts on your accounts.  Also, monitor competitors’ posts and other competitive information. QBO Time – Comprehensive time tracker including geo-fencing and GPS for assigning time to specific service requests. QBO Payroll – Automated payroll and tax processing. Recruiting Software – Proactive and automated recruiting management software. Vendor Software Integration (as available) – Integrate your supply side vendors into the system with custom API integrations. Etc. – Have other modules you want to add, like HR?  We can do that. What Makes Xceleran’s BMS Special? Besides the breadth of functionality, the thing that makes our BMS/ERP offerings stand out is that they are specifically designed for small service businesses.  Offerings – Our BMS comes in three flavors: Xinator-Servco for traditional service businesses; Xinator -Charter Business Management for outfitters and guides, e.g., Charter Fishing; and, Xinator-Professional for general services, typically without a field component.  All three provide the ability to EASILY customize everything needed to ensure your customers, employees, and management have a great experience. Ready to Use – The number one complaint of small business owners when evaluating software is the learning curve.  We have remedied that by keeping things to their essentials and through the integrations.  There is virtually no learning to be done to get started and if your particular complexities arise all software has built-in chat as well as access to many YouTube tutorials, embedded help icons, and user guides. Customizable – Not only can you pick and choose modules, but we can also customize solutions just for you and your business needs. Affordable and Risk-Free – Even if you use every available module (which we advise) and the premium versions, you will spend less than $200 per month, with no start-up fees, and no cancellation fees on any modules, i.e., ZERO RISK.   This compares to other systems that start at $10,000 per year.  Conclusion – Should you invest your time in a BMS/ERP? If you really want your business to flourish and you do not want to be a slave to your workflows, then the answer is ABSOLUTELY.  Why would you want to work harder

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