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Unprepared Ep 3 - Use This Time To Understand Your Processes with Alex Zachman

Timestamps:

  • [00:00] - Intro
  • [01:57] - Utilizing NetSuite and why you need it
  • [04:01] - What should small businesses focus on?
  • [07:26] - Tips for businesses

Resources:

Key Points:

  • Old North Collective is a service marketing agency that handles web development, marketing, automation, content marketing, omnichannel advertising, and more. 
  • OId North Collective became solutions partners for NetSuite. 
  • Old North Collective has started to pivot their focus into the business side of helping companies. 
  • ERP stands for “Enterprise Resource Management”. It is the consolidated process of gathering and organizing business data through an integrated software suite.
  • NetSuite is an integrated cloud business software suite, including business accounting, ERP, CRM, manufacturing management, inventory management, etc. Basically, it's a software that runs your business. 
  • ERP helps you understand what's actually happening in your business from a data flow perspective. 
  • Having the ERP makes you more efficient as you get larger so you're able to automate business processes and maximize employee hour usage.
  • Putting metrics on things, measuring processes, and automation helps you save more money
  • If small businesses manage their accounts receivable and account payable, their books are keeping themselves and the overall costs go down a little bit. 
  • Around 60% of ERP implementations fail because most people don't put through change management, risk mitigation, business process mapping, or even executive alignment.
  • Understand business process mapping whether you have an ERP, QuickBooks, other processes for inventory management. Know how data moves inside your organization.
  • Know why you're doing things then make the software fit how everything's moving internally.
  • Learn who your target market is, who are the common business, who are the common personas that buy your product.
  • If you write content to your target audience, your engagement rates and revenue end up going up because you're writing content that people want to engage with.


Transcript

Alex Zachman

I can joke and say that the title of Unprepared is very fitting. My running joke is that this slowdown has been like a roller coaster well on an acid trip because the highs have been, "Yay!". And then the bottom is like, "Oh my God, why is everything burning?"

Chase Clymer

Yeah, it's very weird. Especially we are mostly doing Ecommerce and it is all over the place right now.

Alex Zachman

Yes. So Old North Collective. We're kind of in the midst of a pivot. We were pivoting before this happened and this accelerated the pivot. Historically, we've been a full-service marketing agency. Everything from web development, marketing, automation, content marketing, omnichannel advertising, etc. 

Beginning of the year, we ended up becoming solutions partners for NetSuite and we started making a pivot into the business side of helping companies. So one of the things that we found when doing marketing help is that we've just seen a lot of consistent business process issues, to where we wanted to build out the expertise and the ability to help with those issues. And, you know, in a way, it also kind of makes us a little bit more sticky, and more likely to survive a recession. Little did I know, the recession was around the corner, and it was a full stop and it hit a brick wall.

Chase Clymer

Yeah, we would joke about it internally at the agency. I'm not gonna lie we're like, "Oh the recessions come and we got to get prepared". And then the recessions here. I don't know if you guys noticed it, the world's at a pause.

Alex Zachman

It was like Jeremy Clarkson drove a semi-truck through a brick wall. And everybody's like, "What the heck just happened?".

Chase Clymer

Awesome. So for those that don't know what is NetSuite or what is NetSuite or any of the products that are like it, how do you utilize that in your business and why do you need it?

Alex Zachman

Yeah, so it basically stands for ERP. Typically mid-market and enterprise companies use ERPs. Although NetSuite is actually affordable for small businesses. Most of NetSuite clients are actually small business and mid-market, not actually enterprise. It is gonna be all of your financials, it's your CRM, it is your inventory management, it is your manufacturing management. If you get suite commerce, it's your Ecommerce CMS [that] is directly vertically integrated into your inventory manager. It is your payroll management, it is your project management. It's basically the software that runs your business.

Chase Clymer

Yeah, absolutely. And I do have some of our clients are actually using NetSuite and they're probably more in the million-plus range. [It] is when you're going to start really looking into having something like this. It probably doesn't make much sense below that, in my opinion, but I don't know. Anytime someone talks about ERPs, I'm like, that's not our space.

Alex Zachman

(Laughs) So I would say that the average NetSuite sale is actually rather small. It's about 40k a year. So if you were a half-million-dollar organization that could run more efficiently and could handle you know, a 40k a year expense, it's justifiable.

If you're running all right and you think you can scale on current processes, stay on current processes scale a little bit more. Really having the ERP makes you more efficient as you get larger. So you're able to automate business processes and maximize employee hour usage.

Chase Clymer

Absolutely. Now during this time, what do you think is something that small businesses should probably focus on? Since they probably have a lot more free time right now than normal. 

Alex Zachman

Yeah. 

Chase Clymer

What would you say? Where would you spend the time? Where would you gain knowledge?

Alex Zachman

I think, where our conversations have been during this time is marketing automation in ERPs. The reality is that for some companies, you have [an] arterial blood spurt, and you have to figure out how to make the bleeding stop. At least get down to a slow bleed. But having a slow bleed for a very long time, you're going to bleed out. 

So the ERP helps you understand from a data flow perspective, what's actually happening in your business. And if you can put metrics on things, measure processes, and automate things, you end up building more capacity. So if you currently are having two people running your books and your inventory manager, by going to something like an ERP, you're able to bring that down to one individual, part of the time a month. You're able then to use those payroll hours to go elsewhere. 

So one of the things that is amazing to me about, the small business NetSuite instance, is that if you manage your accounts receivable and accounts payable, your general ledger does its own thing. You don't actually have to keep the general ledger.

As long as you set it up correctly, your books are keeping themselves. So if you don't regularly have to engage somebody, for your general ledger, your overall costs go down a little bit. And you just have to spend you know, maybe one day a month making sure that they're good. And then you engage your CPA like once a quarter. So if you set it up right, it runs itself.

Chase Clymer

Yeah, and I think just even taking it a step back from there. And it's like just making sure you have the processes to begin with and understanding what these programs can help you automate.

I think that's something that people screw up is that here have [an] awesome program that's going to do this cool thing for them. But then they don't do the work to make it work for them.

Alex Zachman

So that's actually a real point. Something like 60% of ERP implementations actually fails. Because most people don't put through the change management, risk mitigation, business process mapping, or even executive alignment.

Does everybody in the organization want to get the same things out of it? How is this actually going to change my job? Are we going to actually plan for that? What are the potential risks that go to this? So if we're going with the new inventory manager, are we ready for this to go live? Are we thinking through all the worst-case scenarios so that we can mitigate them while we implement? Do we understand business processes enough that we can actually set things up?

Type tailing that into marketing automation, those are the same reasons why email fails. If you don't understand who you're writing to, how are you going to expect them to actually open the mail or not hit go to spam? 

Chase Clymer

Awesome. I'm trying to keep these short and sweet. So is there anything that I didn't ask you about today that you think's worthwhile to leave on?

Alex Zachman

Yeah, so I think from a business process perspective and email perspective. Understand business process mapping regardless of whether you have an ERP or you're running, you know, QuickBooks, and some other processes for inventory management, things like that. But understand how data moves inside your organization.

Understand why you're doing things regardless of software, and then make the software fit how everything's moving internally. And what you'll find is that you will make blood flow stop. And then you can start to recover from inefficient processes or money just hemorrhaging out because processes are wrong. 

Second thing from a marketing automation perspective. Understand who your target market is, who are the common business, or who are the common personas that buy your product.

If you can understand who your target market is, and who six to eight people like generic people what they look like. If you write content to them, your engagement rates and revenue end up going up because you're writing content that people want to engage with.

Chase Clymer

Awesome, thank you so much.

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A few weeks ago the world changed forever. Every business, every entrepreneur, every single person was unprepared for the sudden change we'd all experience. I'm going to use this time to create content focused on what you can do right now to help your business grow. We're all in this together, we're all unprepared.