7 best tools for solving business problems from a business consultant generalist
“Taking good advice means expanding your capabilities.”
Business, as you know, never goes to the bottom for no reason, the collapse is always preceded by a part that once passed by the head. The same applies to the prosperity of the company - it is only at first glance “lucky”, “a good combination of circumstances”, in fact, the whole set of reasons is the components of success. The bottom line is that every little thing should be thought out, all departments of the company must work harmoniously and at full speed, and therefore, as efficiently as possible.
If something went wrong - whether it was a drop in sales, an increase in overhead costs or just a steady, rather than development, business movement - this is a clear alarm. To prevent the situation from worsening and not to waste their own time in vain, many managers seek specialized business advice.
Specialists of this kind are not needed for a long period of time, they are the "first aid" of the business, and after everything returns to normal, the need for a professional consultant disappears by itself. Although I have been working with my clients for years, the main phase of a project usually lasts no more than a year and a half. Management consultants are divided into two groups: specialists and generalists. In fact, these are two extreme conditions that describe a set of skills and knowledge of a person. A specialist is a narrow professional who knows “everything about one”, while a generalist covers the company's position in a global sense, sees its current state, development prospects and opportunities for improving the situation.
As a generalist, I pay attention to all the problems that are inherent in the company at the moment and determine the fastest and safest methods for solving them. My main principle corresponds to the medical one: “Do no harm”. Even from the most critical and hopeless situation, the company can be pulled out and made to grow rapidly, but at the same time, you can bankrupt it if you try to save too impudently and illiterate, as beginners usually do without much practical experience.
In the profession of generalist, both positive and negative experiences are equally important. Therefore, I analyze not only how and why companies succeed, but I pay even more attention to the causes of failures. This allows me to have a clear idea of what needs to be done and what is by no means impossible.
Over 10 years of work, I have developed certain tools that I recommend to most clients as the best option for solving their business problems. The use of modern technologies is an important component of success, but in a blind pursuit of innovations, the main thing is lost, namely the ease of use and integration of services. Using the examples of many innovations, we can confidently say that the new is far from always the best. If the goal is to solve the problem, to provide convenience and efficiency, then the tools set forth below fully justify themselves.
My main toolkit for solving business problems.
. Mailing list . It is imperative that the newsletter is beautiful and timely. For these purposes I use Mailchimp, a tool for sending emails in droves. Why did I choose it:
- The most detailed documentation - absolutely everything that relates to the service, can be found without contacting technical support;
- The highest quality and most extensive statistics among all mailing list services;
- The presence of a simple and beautiful designer letters;
- Minimized the likelihood of your message getting into spam;
- Reasonable rates;
- Convenient API (a means of integrating products with each other);
- Return a list of invalid addresses;
- Integration with 1C, due to which you can start using the service instantly. In 1C, there is also a newsletter, but it is an order of magnitude worse.
SMS Newsletter. This is the most effective channel among all existing. Information is personified, you can be sure that it will be received by a person, not a machine. I use the Littlesms service . Because it provides:
- Very competent technical support;
- Convenient interface of your personal account;
- Integration with 1C;
- Convenient API;
- The ability to send SMS with technical information (on the arrival of the goods, reminders of the timely payment, etc.).
Now they do not register new clients, but I entered them into my list anyway, as I and my clients used this service to send SMS.
Phone calls. Of course, direct communication with the client is extremely important. I chose the ZOHO CRM system in conjunction with Asterisk and Freepbx . The system is ideally suited for recording incoming and outgoing calls, automatic linking to a contact (displaying full information about the user who is calling). Its advantages:
- Detailed documentation. It may not be entirely relevant visually (this is a problem for all such systems), but only if the user’s convenience does not suffer from this;
- Service is fixed precisely on contact with the client;
- Responsive technical support, very quickly and efficiently solve problems (note: knowledge of English is necessary);
- The presence of the Russian interface, high-quality translation;
- Convenient integration.
Internet commerce An
Internet platform for building sites. There are many options on the network, the best, in my opinion, is Drupal 7 and Commerce. Causes:
- High-quality localization (translation into the language of your country);
- Open source makes it easy to edit the site of an online store;
- The presence of a huge number of plugins;
- The site is convenient to administer;
- The service is absolutely free.
- The Drupal commerce application further expands the functionality of the online store.
Platforms for wholesalers. Wholesale is significantly different from retail. LTo accept bulk orders, I use and recommend the Profishop service . Its advantages:
- The service is completely Russian-language;
- Convenient API;
- Narrow focus, sharpening specifically for wholesale;
- Adapts to tablets and smartphones.
- Good tech support
records. Accounting. It's no secret that the ideal tool for accounting is. This service is used in almost any enterprise, because:
- It fully complies with the legislation of the Russian Federation;
- It has an affordable price;
- Provides the ability to submit reports via the Internet;
- It is not difficult to find a specialist to solve the problems of finalizing this configuration.
- Integrates out of the box with warehouse program
Inventory control. The best, in my opinion, are the 1C Trade Management systems in edition 11. Reasons:
- Extensive functionality (however, this is also a minus of this service: many functions at most enterprises are simply not needed, and only confuse the user);
- The ability to refine the functionality;
- Work with all kinds of commercial equipment;
- Flexible system configuration.
- It is not difficult to find a specialist to solve the problem of this configuration.
- Integrates out of the box with accounting system
As you may have noticed, almost all of these technologies are cloud based. You do not need to have your own resources - simple registration is enough to start using most of the services. Each of these services (except for 1s) has a free trial tariff, which minimizes investment and leaves the choice.
However, advice on the use of these particular systems is nothing more than a general recommendation. It all depends on the current situation of the company, its goals and problems, and a business consultant is needed to assess the situation and choose what is right for you. I hope my recommendations were useful for you, in the following articles I will try to dwell on these points in more detail.