Map Business Online Blog

Read about business mapping and how it can help your business succeed.

Business Mapping Software for Small Businesses

Small businesses require their employees to wear many hats. Many hat syndrome is both part of the fun and part of the pain of running a small business. A small business is not likely to have excess money on hand to cover the costs of big mistakes. Start-ups and small businesses run lean and mean to survive and grow. They must be cost conscious and wary of over-reach. Many small businesses contact Map Business Online to explore the power of location enabled views of their business data.

Business Mapping is Affordable
One simple reason for this interest is that business mapping software is extremely affordable.  A single subscriber can access customer visualization or market analysis tools for less than $300 and begin to supplement operational work flows with mapping software while planning sales and marketing campaigns based on location analysis.

A small business, highly dependent on local customers, stands to benefit greatly from local market analysis based on zip codes, counties or even Census tracts.  These smaller geographic districts provide segmented views of sales and marketing results adding location-based analysis results to strategic planning. Zip code maps and Census tract maps easily correlate your business data with population or house hold income statistics. For instance, a small home care agency might overlay its existing patient census along with the local population of 65 year-olds and older on top of your operating zip codes.  Such correlation can help define market potential, perhaps even map out-patient census growth over a three years period. Now they can answer the question: are these key population groups rising or falling in our market area? Do we need more staff or less for 2016? Demographic maps add new dimensions to your small business analysis.

Because small businesses have limited budgets, ERP and CRM systems may be planned future investment while immediate customer tracking is maintained in Microsoft Excel or some other low-cost database management tool. Business mapping tools are a great supplement for basic business tracking systems. A simple address database exported to a digital map software turns an Excel customer list into an array of points viewed against a map, color coded by customer type.  Monthly sales by customer can be aggregated map-side into quarterly results by sales territory. Such business maps easily provide shared views on how sales efforts are progressing, while suggesting new prospecting areas for potential sales in the next quarter and beyond.  You know what question this helps to answer: How are we going to double sales in twelve months? Every sales manager’s favorite question.

Business Mapping is Easy
That small biz multi-hat requirement leaves little time for in-depth market analysis. By exporting your address enabled business data to an accurate business map your usual business analysis and strategic plans can quickly take shape on the fly. A revenue dollars by location spreadsheet, in a few easy steps, becomes a regional heat map view of sales that immediately shows your team where and how things are happening.

Business maps add credibility to a small or large business manager’s sales plan. It’s one thing to purchase a list of names and direct the sales team to start dialing for dollars.  [Idea for future blog title: Cold Calling: Dead or Alive?] But it’s an entirely more credible approach to initiate a prospecting campaign based on demographic analysis of an unassigned market area that happens to coincide with an up-tick in inquiries your team has reported. This is sales leadership. It’s the difference between a room full of hourly employees dutifully dialing a call-list while watching the clock, and a motivated sales team exploring a hot list of leads based on pertinent field data they helped uncover. Which team would you rather be on?

Some companies use business mapping software to analyze daily or weekly operational results. This could apply to shipping results, sales call results, or product output. All your data requires to be an effective source to location-based analysis are locations – addresses, zip codes, lat-lons – whatever works.  Display the manufacturing location. Show ship-to addresses and your ship-from locations.  You can add all the additional data you want. It should only enhance your business map’s effectiveness.

Import Your Location Based Business Data
One of the greatest challenges a small business faces is defining its primary reason for being.  I’m not suggesting business mapping software can solve this challenge, but it can be a part of the solution. Sometimes a business knows exactly what its primary purpose is. For example, a business that produces and sells Maine made whoopee pies is focused on just that product.  Managers for Maine Whoopee Pies LLC might simply concentrate on producing more efficiently and selling to more stores and restaurants.
Tenant Locations
Maine’s Best Bakery (MBB) on the other hand might not be so clear on purpose.  This company offers a broader selection of baked goods. They cater to a half-dozen niche markets, each demanding a unique product.  At some point the diversification begins to drive up raw material costs and create inefficiencies in production.  Time for a strategic review of sales history to determine the most profitable products and markets.  A business mapping tool can quickly establish basic facts that can inform strategic MBB’s business analysis:

  • Import a dataset showing where MBB products are sold and color code  the data to display net revenue, and profit margin by location for 2015. Make note of the three most profitable sales locations.
  • Develop cost of delivery estimates for each sale based on a standard cost per mile calculation
  • Add demographic data to your map view, including population and median income by zip code, for five-mile radii surrounding each sales location
  • Import an additional data layer showing MBB’s known baking competitors in all of the business’ operating areas and beyond

It’s important to understand your business’ operating area by profitability, costs of goods sold, and competitor presence.  Adding  a demographic layer to your map extends your operating area potential; it let’s you view similar demographic areas where you may not currently play. Perhaps sharing a similar business map slides of your company’s operating areas might inspire some interesting strategic discussion amongst your key people?

Wearing many hats may include a white chef’s hat, a hair net, or a strategic planner’s green visor cap. It’s all part of the thrill of life in a small business.  No matter what your hat says think business mapping software to afford-ably supplement your business processes and add that certain ‘je ne c’est quoi’ to your whoopee pie.

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into MapBusinessOnline.com

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

MapPoint users – please consider www.MapBusinessOnline.com as your MapPoint Replacement.

Please read customer reviews or review us at Capterra, or g2crowd

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