Hanging in There: Getting a Business Valuation During the Pandemic

For as long as I can remember, I have been someone on the move: I never liked sitting still in class, I hated being stuck at home doing homework when I could have been outdoors playing, and I hated being tied to a desk job once I entered the workforce. For me, working a steady but adventure-free job feels a whole lot like taking a swim while wearing a pair of cement shoes—like I’m drowning in paperwork, administrative bureaucracy, and unimaginative thinking. When I combined all of that with the student debt I racked up to go to school to get that unfulfilling job, I wound up being a success on paper, but feeling like I’d failed at realizing my own personal vision for the future. Finally, after what seems like way too many years wasted on a stranger’s vision for my life, I decided to take matters into my own hands, and jump head-first into a new direction: one that led me directly into my passions, and not away from them.

 

I’d spent years in high school and college as a long-distance runner, and although I wasn’t sure how to actualize it, my gut was telling me that I would have a fulfilling career in fitness. I started with small, but significant steps: I went “back to school” and completed a certification for personal training, then started to build up a small stable of clients at my local gym. Simultaneously, I started an online presence and branded my personal vision for an all-inclusive, “everyone welcome” style of boutique training; although I’d often scoff at those “Instagram Models’ who’d spend half their lives monetizing their very existence to make a name for themselves, I begrudgingly adopted many of the same techniques to build my online presence, and to associate my “fast, fun, and fair” fitness routines with my brand.

 

A Different Kind of Gains

Soon enough, I had amassed an online client base that began to clamor for “in-person” training—the kind of clients that could keep doors open at a physical gym—should I decide to procure a space in which to build one. Suddenly, I was seeing myself the way I’d always been happiest at every stage of my life—constantly on the hunt for the next exciting opportunity and adventure. I knew it would be risky, and I was only able to procure a few initial investors to get started, but I knew that I’d be offering a tried and true product to a select base of loyal customers and that my business would grow once the word had gotten out. So, four years ago, riding on the coattails of a new bull market, and the end of the 2008 economic downturn, I went for it—the doors to my elite training gym opened. I was so sure that they always would be,

 

Closing Time

Once the pandemic forced the closure of my physical location, I spent a couple of sleepless nights wondering what I was going to do to keep myself in business, and I won’t lie: there were several moments when I felt that my new business was done for and that I’d be shackled to a desk again in a year or so once a vaccine had been developed. However, I was able to push past that initial heartbreak, and tilt my eyes skyward; the most difficult aspect of working a classic desk job had been the missed opportunities for constant innovation: why would I let the pandemic take that spirit for me now? So, I listed off some ways to keep afloat while waiting for the all-clear to begin in-person classes and training again:

 

  1. One-on-one digital training sessions with premiere clients.
  2. Consistent video updates on the gym’s social platforms, with varied subjects that include: nutrition, at-home workouts, the latest in terms of safety guidelines, and the importance of a lifetime of continued physical fitness. 
  3. Offering price codes and limited offers that can only be redeemed if purchased now, to increase cash flow.
  4. Creating original content that expresses the value of continued membership: now more than ever, a clients’ need to be a valued member of a community is important to not only their physical well-being but their mental health as well. 

 

C’mon Now, Just Give Me One More 

These practices—along with evaluating my business professionally to better predict my next moves—have been essential in the fight to keep above water while riding the pandemic’s wave. The valuation process, although brutally honest and forthcoming, was anything but disheartening. Although professionals do have to take into account the obvious global disruption, and what that means for your business personally, the right evaluators will also take the “soul” of your business into account during their reckoning. I found that, even with the hardships going forward, the evaluation process reassured me that my vision for a fitter future is still on track, no matter the obstacles. Together with my continued loyal online client base, I will be able to expand in the future with capital investors—as long as I hold on to today. 

 

Just one more rep, folks. 

The First Steps to Globalizing Your Small Business

Whether your business is small or quickly growing, it’s important to think toward the future. For many business owners, this means thinking globally. In a world where digital technology has changed how we do business every day, it’s not difficult to see why our business models have changed along with it. The way we communicate is key. The way we integrate technology into our supply chain systems is vital.

 

In the business of distribution and wholesale manufacturing—if your goal is to reach new customers and markets—visibility meeting performance indicators, and meeting company-wide objectives is a necessity. What’s your plan to make that happen?

Streamlining Your Workflow

Streamlining company-wide workflow isn’t a simple task. When we’re talking about reaching a local market, let alone a global one, we’re talking about creating workflows that reduce the overall time for each client from the moment they order to the moment you deliver. For small companies that are outgrowing their old systems, this usually means finding a new way to automate those workflows and utilize a new resource for managing operations. 

 

After all, although communicating globally may be incredibly simple with our various forms of digital communication, the same can’t be said for the systems we use.

The Possible Solution? Integrated ERP.

The growing pains felt in any small business are obvious, but adapting is the name of the game. With the rise of ERP (enterprise resource planning) in business, implementation of a worthy data system may be the thing that makes or breaks your global goals. Sure, there’s no simple way to implement an entire system to work seamlessly both locally and globally, and it’s not as easy as snapping your fingers to make a perfect ERP application appear. Most companies, no matter their size, struggle to create a system that can effectively manage their Supply Chain. An ERP might be the solution, but without a skilled team to help with the struggles of changing an entire system, adaption might not be possible.

 

The key isn’t to pass off the task to your small IT department and place blame on them when an integrated global system doesn’t run smoothly. Instead, either sit down and create an organizational team that’s ready to completely align any ERP for a supply chain, or hire a management team that can take on the task for you. Although you might be spending more upfront, in the long run, you’re saving yourself time and costs later down the road.

Globalization, ERP Solutions, and Small Businesses

If you currently have or are about to expand your organization across the globe you need to organize, strategize, and create data accountability from the ground up. Remember that, although you can make your ERP work on a global scale, there’s a lot of preparation that needs to be done.

 

  • Everyone needs to be on the same page. From the top levels of the company downward, every person needs to be on the same page when it comes to how an integrated system will work. ERP isn’t just about functional system design, but a change in how an organization works. I system can change and adapt, but everyone has to be on board with those system changes to have a successful data workflow. 
  • When thinking globally, you’ll need to take into account how operations will take place over multiple geographies, departments, and various divisions. From supply chains to financials to account management, the task for your company and an ERP seems daunting, however, the benefits often outweigh the initial challenges.
  • When your business is ready, invest in an ERP provider that understands the essentials of globalization. This means working with a team that’s more than able to work with various timezones, variances, currency, and business standards.
  • Build with a larger scope in mind. It’s not enough to integrate an ERP that will only grow with you over several years of change. Make sure that you’re building something that can scale up with your business without considerable effort.

 

For any growing business, smart choices can keep you afloat. That’s why, when you’re taking your first steps to globalization, approach the challenge with an ERP model that can take what you throw at it. Be on the same page as your team, and remember to work with a provider that is able to scale an ERP to work with your business model for the sake of cost and time effectiveness. 

3 Reasons Your Company Needs an ERP

No matter if your business has just started up, or is quickly growing, it’s not usually a matter of if you’ll need to use ERP or enterprise resource software, but when. A growing company in this digitally run world is bound to generate a hefty amount of data. Between data generated to data sources to track, there’s a lot to get sorted.

As a person who deals with consumer data in my daily business, I know first hand the impracticalities that come with trying to manage data over multiple platforms on your own (or with a small team and inefficient software). Let’s face it. Without the right tools and training, tracking the right data isn’t only time consuming, but costly. Mismanagement of data can be detrimental to a business that has just found its foothold in the world.

Although no one can pinpoint the exact moment that a small company is ready to take the leap into more complex data management systems or enterprise resource software, there are a few key things to consider and spot in your own business that might help you recognize when the moment to forge ahead has come. 

#1: Your Current Software is Hindering Your Workflow

A.K.A, you’ve outgrown it. It’s not uncommon for software to work for the first years of your startup and then, suddenly and swiftly, that software becomes a major hindrance. Growing pains are normal, and it’s more common than not for smaller companies to hold onto their familiar software for longer than they need. If you see the signs of outgrowing your software, and it doesn’t serve a purpose anymore, it’s time to move onto something better, like an ERP.

#2:Your Data Workflow Has Become Nonexistent

It’s safe to say that for almost any modern business, big or small, data is the lifeblood. But what if you’re still processing your data though an entry-level or outdated application? If you’re cutting off the source, you’re basically dooming your business to fail. An entry-level software may have been enough to hold onto the volume of data you started with—and it might have saved you substantial money at the start—but there will be a point when you just need more. Don’t be afraid of the price tag that comes with a more robust system. It’ll do more harm than good to shy away from a higher-level application to try and make do with a system that doesn’t suit your needs.

That Sounds Fine & Dandy, but Why an ERP?

Okay, great. So you realize you need a system with quite a bit more horsepower, but you might be wondering, why an ERP? Simply put, and ERP is designed especially to store hefty amounts of data, and not just in one area or another. The fact is, and ERP can handle the data that occurs across the board of your operation. From accounting and manufacturing to HR and beyond. With that, you’re allowing your business and subsequent data management some room to grow.

#3: You’re Unhappy with the Hefty Bill

The biggest issue many small to medium-sized businesses begin to notice once they’ve obtained significant growth is a spike in their system fees. Sure, you might have felt comfortable with the bill before, but now that you’ve outgrown it, you’re spending far more than you to on complicated integrations to streamline your ever-important data. If you’re not currently using an ERP, the chances are high that you’re not being efficient with your data or your finances. Integrating systems across multiple departments takes great effort: from training and labor to operations and licensing fees. If you’re lucky enough for those various integrations to work seamlessly together, you’re still likely to pay much more than you ought to be, yearly.

Where Does the ERP Come in & Why Do You Need It?

Although there are differences between various ERP systems, one thing is certain, ERPs are built to streamline your data across the board. This means lowering general costs, reducing the time spent training, reducing user error, and lowering the energy it takes to maintain multiple systems.

The Benefits of Integrating Your Company’s Inventory Management

As we march steadily on into the digital age, the demand to become more integrated with technology, and to avoid letting that technology become obsolete, grows more essential with each day that passes. Just as the old adage says that your new car loses value the moment you drive it off the lot, business owners can feel a similar sort of exasperation at the thought that despite their best efforts, they may be losing untold amounts of money as a flaw in their operations remains undetected.

Supply Chain Management in the Digital Age
Company’s Inventory Management

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