With the emergence of the recent COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent business shutdowns, some landscape company owners and managers are facing significant, unexpected challenges this year. In fact, many are looking for ways to “tighten their belts” to lessen the impact of the current situation on their businesses. In uncertain times like the present, it’s natural—and smart—to look for ways to cut unnecessary expenses. But identifying potential areas where your business can save money is never as simple as you’d hope.
That’s why, now more than ever, technology—and more specifically, an industry-specific business management system—can prove to be one of your company's most valuable assets, particularly when you’re needing to make the decisions necessary to weather difficult times.
How exactly does business management software help owners and managers in uncertain times like the present? Let’s take a look.
Informed decision making
During tough times, having accurate information—and the ability to access it quickly—is imperative to protecting your business financially. One strategy suggested by veteran industry consultant Kevin Kehoe is shifting to a very detailed 30-day cash budget. But taking a step like this is nearly impossible without the insight and agility to make well-informed decisions in a timely manner.
Without business management software, business owners and general managers must maintain multiple spreadsheets and manually complete complex calculations. And there’s no guarantee that, after all that work, the information is correct.
The reality is errors are inevitable. It’s all too easy to transpose numbers and inadvertently skew calculations when entering figures multiple times—and even if everything is entered correctly, miscalculations can still occur. Without reliable and accurate insight, owners and general managers don’t have a solid foundation on which to base important business decisions.
Landscape management software provides a centralized platform where information from all functional areas of your business is input once and made accessible organization wide. The best solutions feature robust reporting tools that allow you to query your organizational data in any way for deeper insight into the overall health of your company. With full visibility into every aspect your business, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions that can help your business stay on track.
Maximizing cash flow
Another key strategy in difficult times is maximizing your business’s cash flow. While there are many approaches to increasing cash flow, one of the best ways to boost your “income” is through efficient invoicing.
For many organizations, however, one of the most challenging aspects of billing is ensuring that invoices go out on time and that they’re accurate. Unfortunately, billing is a task that frequently takes a back seat to more urgent matters and often gets delayed or even overlooked.
With a robust industry-specific management solution in place, information is input once—at the estimate level—and flows seamlessly through the system, from estimating to purchasing to job ticket to invoicing. Built-in tools like real-time job costing help ensure your estimates are correct, so you can trust the accuracy of your invoices every time.
Even better, the leading systems feature an invoicing assistant where completed jobs stay visible in the bookkeeping staff’s dashboard to encourage regular invoicing (daily, if you prefer) and make sure that billing activities are never forgotten.
Lowering fixed expenses
Reducing overhead expenses is yet another way business owners and managers can maximize cash flow. While it’s not typically possible to suspend rent, insurance premiums, debt service, and utility expenditures, you can control certain other fixed expenses.
When times are good, it’s easy to overlook non-essential or hidden costs and other inefficiencies. Although the situation at hand is certainly not ideal, it does present a unique opportunity to optimize spending, reinforce expense management, and emerge a better—and more productive—organization. However, without access to accurate and reliable data, identifying and improving these areas is not an easy task.
Landscape management platforms allow business owners and managers like you to access and analyze all their organizational information within one system. With full visibility into your business, determining where changes are needed becomes much simpler. And, in the unfortunate event your company needs to reduce staff, business management software provides insight into performance that can also help influence those decisions.
When you’re trying to control or reduce overhead expenses, adding staff is probably not a likely option. For business owners and managers who need to maximize the efforts of their current staff—or for those who’ve had to make staffing cuts—landscape management software becomes an extremely valuable resource.
An integrated landscape management system provides users across your business with integrated, specialized toolsets that can not only simplify their daily tasks but also streamline their processes. Information from one department is immediately accessible by others within the company, eliminating the margin for error as well as the need to chase down information.
With improved data accessibility and less busy work, your staff can work more effectively to accomplish more with their available time. And ultimately as productivity increases across your entire organization, it becomes possible to achieve more with the resources at hand.
In times like the present, gaining full visibility into business expenses, activities, and performance is crucial for owners and managers. That’s why having a tool in place—like business management software—that provides the insight and informs decision making can make the difference between a healthy outcome for your business or a poor one.
To hear Kevin Kehoe's thoughts on how you should think about your business while dealing with COVID-19, click here.
Visit our COVID-19 Resources page for additional resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you enjoyed this blog post, you might also want to read,
5 Reasons Why Technology Matters for Your Landscaping Business.