Nick Spooner, is CEO & Co Founder of Salesorder.com an ERP (enterprise resource planning) service that competes head to head with NetSuite, SAP, QuickBooks, InfusionSoft and other tools that are designed to help you manage your entire business.
In an interview Nick said that Michael Gerber (E-Myth) cautions all business owners to work on the business as opposed to in it. This means you have to design and plan to succeed. Good businesses design their processes and then look for a system to operate these in the most cost efficient way. The only way to achieve this is with a single system. This is why SAP is so successful.
The challenge for growing businesses is that there are so many options to choose from knowing which one is best for YOUR business is hard to decide. However, in the interview below, Nick gives us some great ideas and insight.
How to choose an ERP platform:
In summary look at your budget, ensure the right fit with your company, ensure you can migrate your data, trust the people you are buying from, and ensure the system is secure (backup and as hacker proof as possible).
We’re all price sensitive, so set yourself a monthly cost per user and avoid anything with a 12 month agreement. Always look at support and upgrade costs. Check the vendors agreement for any hidden costs. Be realistic. The price ranges of on demand multi-user services in the small business software space average at between $22 and $40 per user. Anything lower price should be scrutinized as these vendors will not survive, keep up in the long term (when they go your data goes with them) or provide you with attentive and knowledgeable support.
Always begin with writing out your core business processes. For example the work flow from customer lead to cash. Use a tool such as MS Visio, Mindjet, Mindmeister all have free trials. Don’t over think this. Quickly sketch out the events in the ‘chain’. Now go back and make notes on every event to record the nuances of what must be recorded/done at each stage. Identify the problem areas and tasks. Write out and prioritize your issue list. Try and keep it to ten items. Now you have a picture of what you want from your target system. Get a trial and see how easy it is to model your work flows in the system. The time it takes you to do your top 5 will quickly tell you if the system you are exploring is a a possible. Record any issues. If it ‘feels’ right continue until you get to 8. If you have an 80% fit…engage with the vendor share with them your list, how far you have got with their system and the issues you ave encountered. A good vendor will be honest with you. None of us really want a square peg in a round hole. They are a pain to support and everyone eventually loses. Beware of the vendor salespeople – commission driven animals have no scruples.
Look hard at how easy and how much it is to migrate your data from where you are to the target system and of course out again.
The biggest mistake you can make is choosing a vendor with people you can’t trust or work with. When you try out their stuff, try out their service. Remember you are going to be living with them for years.
Secure, Reliable, Backed up?
What makes Salesorder any different than many competitors on the market.
We are focused on small businesses up to 100 people – that’s it – always have been, always will be.
Service – every one on our team has created, run or worked in a small business AND they built salesorder.com. You can’t work here if you don’t have this background. There are no sales people and if a customer decides to leave us, we will help them find and migrate to a new solution. Of course . We are boutique, every prospect gets treated the same as a paying customer and every customer is different and we make absolutely sure we never fit a square peg in a round hole and we’re not interested in high volumes of transient customers. We rather have small group of rabid fan customers and a waiting line.So we deliberately screen every customer and limit the number of customers we take on every month.
Value for money – we never charge for upgrades or new versions. Our biggest cost after or people is our servers. We have reduced the price per user by 30% in the last six months as we are now saving money thanks to better ‘cloud’ hosting. We provide more than free support – we offer free training on the basics – such as Managing Cash flow, Reading and following the numbers (P&L and Balance Sheet), Business planning and anything else we recognize as a common problem.
Ease of use and deployment – Everything in salesorder,com works the same way and it takes 8 minutes to learn and days to deploy. The underlying benefit of the ‘convention’ is we can easily add new functionality with no extra training required. You don’t need expensive consultants, we provide coaching (a lot of which is free) and will always go the extra mile to help people self implement.
Speed – salesorder.com is built for speed. It’s arguably as fast as on premise solutions and generally faster than other SaaS systems.
Reliable – Every customer has their own instance of salesorder.com with their own database.
Features – We will never bloat our system and screens with features people just don’t need. every new release of the service is driven by customer input.