All over the world, product sellers are worried that a recession is lurking just around the corner. And even without that fear, there’s no denying that times have got harder for many. Inflation is soaring, consumers are cutting back on spending, and supply chain crises continue to rock the globe.
How can you help your clients prepare for this uncertain future, while ensuring that your own business thrives? Ironically, the best way might be by equipping them with the same tools and mindset that you’d offer in more prosperous times.
“We’re living in a very dynamic world right now, where you’ve seen a huge shift from maybe typically retail-based businesses or wholesale-based businesses moving into the online sphere,” says Adam Wakeman, Cin7 Expert and Director of Halkin Business Partners. “And doing that on an old legacy ERP can potentially be a nightmare, but when you’ve got a flexible and agile IMS solution, it helps facilitate that change in quite a quick way. And we’ve seen some of those traditional businesses really benefit from that.”
We want to accelerate you towards your business goals and check every box on your inventory client’s wishlist
We’ve talked to many different Cin7 customers and partners over the years, and one of the best things we’ve heard a customer call our software is a “business system.”
“Cin7 is a business system — it’s how we do business,” says Mindy Chisholm, founder of Australian jewelry brand Zafino. She credits Cin7 with powering an ecosystem that’s enabled their business to grow and thrive across multiple channels, and their Cin7 Expert partner SMB Consultants with implementing their software stack, and making sure that their business system continues to evolve with their needs.
“Businesses are starting to explore what off the shelf turnkey systems can do in terms of providing the same functionality as a legacy ERP, but then don’t have the burden of the big cost commitment and long delivery times to complete bespoke work,” says SMB Consultants founder Jeff Atizado.
This is exactly what Mindy means by a “business system.” Putting the right inventory management software at the core means other components — eCommerce like Shopify or WooCommerce, accounting software like Xero or QuickBooks Online, or fulfilment software like ShipStation — can be added when and if your client requires. “I think the biggest gain for most companies is consolidating their business into a system that can manage all of these different sales channels and fulfillment locations to give them a central point of truth,” Jeff adds.
In uncertain times, having a business system conveys a huge advantage. Systems that are typically used as growth engines also work as time and money-savers. The cost of a business system founded on Cin7 is typically much less than a legacy ERP, and the fact that its components are typically paid by subscription means that if a given component isn’t working, the client can (with your help!) simply turn it off, downgrade, or switch to a better one. This simply isn’t possible with a legacy ERP, which are highly inflexible. If one component is failing your client, they have to look at scrapping the whole thing — a huge waste of time and money.
“Some small businesses might say ‘Oh, it’s a lot of money to be spending on systems,’ but I keep adding more in,” Mindy says. She reckons that a business system with Cin7 at the core is well worth the cost. Typically, Cin7 does the work of several back-office employees. It gives your client choices — they can (as many Cin7 clients have!) give their existing people better-paying, more productive work in sales, marketing, or the like, or they may never have to hire in the first place!
You’re uniquely qualified to help your clients make the right decision for their business by investing in a powerful business system. A powerful way to demonstrate the value of both a business system and the work that you do is to quantify the effect the system will have on your clients. It works for both existing clients and new ones. For new clients, you can work to understand the costs of their existing system — in terms of time and money — and use the experiences of your current clients to make estimates on savings. For existing clients, you can work out how much your services have saved them, or how much growth you’ve enabled since you started working together.
There are multiple ways to approach this quantification, and they all help foster a good working relationship with your clients. While it’s easy to quantify direct savings, such as not spending money on an expensive legacy ERP, other factors can be quantified too. Ask your clients: what would be their target for time saved, with the new system? And how much would that time be worth to them? What would it be worth to know exactly where their product was in the production cycles, or where it was in warehouses, or to know exactly where it was on its way to the customer, or on its way to you from the factory?
“When I was looking for an inventory management solution, I needed a good IT product that suited what we did and was great value for money,” says Cin7 customer Jennifer Xidias, of fashion brand Peta+Jain. “Cin7 is that product. It has seriously saved us about $130,000 this year alone, through not having to employ extra warehouse and admin staff. And when it comes to time, it saves hours every day not having to key in the data manually or create spreadsheets to import.”
When clients understand how much money a business system can (or is!) saving them, it’s a huge demonstration of both Cin7’s value, and yours, and an incredible showcase for how you can help them prepare for the bad times that might be around the corner — and the good times that might be coming right after that.
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