Until recently, gathering any kind of data about your business was just plain difficult, let alone being able to use it to do things better. But over the last decade, as technology has become more advanced, you can get access to more data than you ever imagined possible. In fact, there’s so much data now available to us, it can be hard to know where to begin using it to help your business.
The first thing to understand is that data shouldn’t be feared – it can seem like a minefield at first, but don’t be nervous. Once you start to embrace what data can do for you and for your business, you’ll quickly start to see the benefits, and understand how data can help make running your business less stressful and more enjoyable. There’s a reason why other businesses – your competitors – have adopted new systems using newly available technology. Because it makes doing business easier.
Why do I need data?
Whether you know it or not, data is the lifeblood of your business. But, as businesses grow, so do their data problems. Your business adds new data every day – customer details, quotes, inventories, invoices, sales opportunities, product information, discontinued lines, even new employee details.
All that valuable information and customer intel should not only be captured, it needs to be managed, stored and easily available through a system that is simple to use, in a format that is easy to understand. Because we’re tradespeople, not IT experts, and no-one has time to learn something complicated on top of everything else we do.
Why bother, you’re fine as you are, right? Let’s be honest – how long have you been burying your head in the sand pretending that technology isn’t leaving you behind? As technology (in particular; business technology) becomes commonplace, and your customers become more tech-savvy, you need to keep up with these advances in order to stay in the game. If you don’t adapt your practices, your ability to convert potential customers into paying clients, retain existing clients, and grow your business, will be affected.
Your customer and workforce are changing
It’s not just you and your business that rely on the data your business generates – it’s your customers too. The people that make up both your consumers and your workforce are changing. Your new employees and customers are soon to be Millennials, aka ‘Gen Y’… that’s those born between the early 1980s and 2000.
Millennials already account for roughly 30% of the population - that’s between 80 and 95 million people - and right now, they are starting to come into their prime spending years. By 2020, Millennials will make up roughly half of the global workforce, rising to 75% by 2030. But it’s not just your workforce that will be affected – it’s also your customers.
Millennials already control as much as $31 trillion of the economy. More educated, connected and digitally savvy than any generation before them, they will be the most powerful consumer group in history. And they are your new customers. They look at and provide reviews online, price compare, and make informed, well-researched purchasing decisions. And what drives those decisions? Data.
So, what should I look for?
A good plumbing system:
- Collects – and provides - data whilst you and your team go about their daily business; you don’t have to do anything extra to keep track of the quotes being issued, or the profit of each task in your quotes.
- Allows you to view and manage that data in an easily understood format: who’s got time to figure out something complex?!
- Gives you any time, anywhere access and visibility to every job, customer and supplier interaction – because how many quotes do you provide from the office these days?
- Stores that data safely and securely, so nothing is lost, destroyed or forgotten - much better than writing it on the back of a sandwich bag.
- Lets you capture reviews and receive feedback directly from the client, helping you understand what your business is great at, and where it needs to improve. And it helps tell the rest of the world about you too – and in today’s world, that matters.
Where do I even start?
Through FlatRateNOW, you have access to more data then you can poke a stick at. From your profit per job, to where you install the most hot water systems, what discounts were provided on each job, and who completed the job… whatever you need to know is right there, just a mouse click or finger-tap away. We are essentially an all-in-one quoting, invoicing, customer relationship management and data management system mashed into a simple trade app.
The unique structure of FlatRateNOW’s catalogue of tasks means it can provide you with a wealth of information, all aimed at building a better business. The voice of the customer is becoming more important, and your new generation of clients are looking online to see what people really think of you. FlatRateNOW integrates with review site Trustpilot to add a customer satisfaction layer to your data.
So, you can see at a glance if the new quote request you just received comes from a customer who has been loyal to your business for 10 years and always writes glowing reviews about your service online. That’s the kind of thing you just can’t get from a spreadsheet or simple job management tool. Easy, digestible data for less than $3 a day. What’s not to love?