Strategy, Legal & Operations

Small talk with Peter Jones: How to overcome business challenges

In our Small Talk series, we delve into how your business can tackle some of the many challenges you face so you can elevate your performance.

Peter Jones, our Sage customer for life, sat down with interviewers Nina and Jed to talk about what you can do to ensure your business can perform at its best.

Plus, there are a few challenges that Peter was set by his intrepid interviewers. Watch the video to see how he got on and below is a transcript, followed by some advice on how to overcome business challenges.

Peter: So you’re the guys that are interviewing me?

Nina and Jed: Yeah.

Peter: Wow.

Nina: Are you nervous?

Peter: I am now.

Nina: How can businesses juggle what they do, and their admin, and their cash flow, and keeping their customers and people happy?

Peter: It’s a hard job. It’s a constant juggling job, trying to keep all of those things in play.

How do you get the right information quick enough? How do you forecast what cash you’re going to need to run the business? Where do you go and buy? How do you buy?

How do you buy at the best rate? Who are you going to sell to? How are you going to manage staff, employ staff? How are you going to send off your VAT return, make sure that it’s in time?

So many things to manage.

There’s some things you can do to make life easier, though, and that comes back to having the right automation and software in place to run your business effectively.

So, you’ve got time to, hopefully, go and make some more money or grow the business.

Jed: So, what’s the real secret to your business success?

Peter: For me, it’s about doing a lot of things quite well, and not doing one thing absolutely brilliantly.

It’s about doing a multitude of different things. So I kind of am a bit of a juggler really.

Because I invest in businesses, across my investment group, I need a software platform or a solution that gives me information on the investments and how they’re doing, and that’s where I’m lucky.

It makes me look like I’m able to do so many things, but in truth, I’ve made my life a lot easier by putting the right software in place.

Nina: Well, before, you said that you were good at juggling, so can you juggle these three balls? This one’s for admin. Cash flow. And this one’s customer service.

Peter: So, what’s that? Is that cash flow or customer service?

Nina: That’s admin.

Peter: I knew I’d get that wrong.

Nina: Cash flow.

Peter: Cash flow. I’ve got cash flow. What’s that one? Admin?

Nina: Admin.

Peter: What was the other one?

Jed: Time.

Nina: Customer service.

Peter: Customer service. Are you giving me time now?

Jed: Yeah.

Peter: Yeah? What’s the next one? What about people?

Jed: Oh, people. Yeah, sure.

Peter: Yeah. What’s the next one? Payroll? Payroll. Right. So I’ve got payroll, people, customer service, admin, cash flow and time. This is what it’s like if you’ve got to juggle it in business.

[Peter throws all of the balls in the air and drops them]

Peter: It’s impossible, you can’t.

[Nina and Jed clap]

Peter: Thank you.

Small talk with Peter Jones: Check out the rest of the series

Three ways to overcome business challenges

1. Stay on top of your admin using technology

Processing paperwork is one of those tasks that can take a lot of time – but if you can get on top of it, you’ll be able to streamline the running of your business. Technology can help you to do that.

Rather than collecting and storing receipts, for example, you could take a picture of them with an app that sends them straight to your accounting software.

And when it comes to payroll, rather than having to deal with paper for your payslips and timesheets – both of which can be an admin headache – make a switch to online payslips and online timesheets.

2. Increase the chance of getting paid on time

Save your business time by using software to create professional invoices that you can send out to your customers.

Having to chase your customers for payment no longer has to be a time-consuming task either, as not only can you automate this process, by adding pay now buttons to your invoices, you’ll give your business the best chance to get paid faster.

3. Keep on top of inventory

Having the right stock levels for your business is important, both for your cash flow and your customers. By automating your inventory processes, you can track the products you’re selling and identify when stock is low or not doing well (and therefore you don’t need to order more stock).

Using automation and the right processes will help your business deliver products to your customers as quickly as possible, giving confidence to your team and those buying from you.

Final thoughts on business challenges

Business challenges can come thick and fast – but they don’t have to dominate how you operate. While it can be a real juggling act to manage cash flow, invoicing, paying staff and more, using technology can make it easier to stay on top of your processes.

And by using the right solutions, not only will you and your team have the ability to tackle your business challenges, you’ll have the space to add more value for your customers and improve the prospects for your business.

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