Elevating Big Music: A Symphony with SMB Consultants and Cin7
From the birth of Big Music in 2009, founders and brothers Richard and David Berkman envisioned a music haven — a place where passion and commerce intertwined. Their unique idea: a single hub for purchasing instruments, learning to play them, performing, and recording. Richard recalls
“My brother was a passionate musician, and we had this idea to create a one-stop-shop where you could buy an instrument, learn to play it, perform, even record, all under the one roof."
While they ventured into a realm not many had dared to explore, their audacity paid off. Today, Big Music stands strong even amidst challenges, serving over 800 students and operating a flourishing online and physical music product business.
Adapting to the Changing Tunes: Pandemic & eCommerce
The turn of the decade witnessed the world grappling with a global pandemic, with businesses feeling the shockwave. However, Big Music, like many others, found solace in eCommerce. Richard elaborates, “Prior to Covid, our eCommerce business was around 25 percent of total sales... I think it’ll end up being more like 35 to 40 percent.”
Balancing the spectrum of online sales, from guitar picks to high-end Fender Stratocasters, was no easy feat. As Richard points out, the company's sales approach had to be multifaceted, sometimes catering to spur-of-the-moment buys and sometimes to more considered high-value purchases.
Outgrowing the Old: The Need for Evolution
Having relied on an inventory management system called Lightspeed and MYOB for their accounting, the growth of their eCommerce operations highlighted the limitations of their current set up. The search for a robust, modern solution led them back to their trusted allies: SMB Consultants, who had helped them to implement Lightspeed in the first place. Prior to engaging SMB Consultants, Richard had done his own research and realised the future was in the cloud and with systems that talked to each other and shared data.
“You now have this modular approach, where you take the best apps and put them together to give you a customized solution,” Richard says. “And Jeff and his team had worked that out a long time before a lot of other people did. They’ve now helped hundreds of businesses navigate down that particular pathway, and that’s a profound change from 10 or 12 years ago where you chose one system that would do everything.”
However transitioning from systems that were deeply entrenched in the business posed its own risks. Jeff Atizado, the CEO of SMB Consultants, understood, stating “as a business owner myself, there’s got to be careful consideration going through the process, understanding the workflows, understanding the options, and making informed decisions as you go.”
Richard agreed but was confident in the process and the expertise of SMb Consultants. “They’re big projects, and an awful lot can go wrong. That’s why working with a mob like SMB was so critical — as soon as they were engaged, my confidence level that we could do a good job improved dramatically.”
Cloud-Powered Transition: Cin7 Takes Center Stage
Charting their cloud transition, Big Music, under the guidance of SMB Consultants, chose Cin7 and also migrated from MYOB to Xero. Richard captures the transition's essence, remarking, “The integration between Cin7 and Xero has been a significant enabler of a whole bunch of improvements...”
No longer needing to maintain a server room was a relief in itself however it is the cloud capabilities of Cin7 that have been the biggest stand out for the team. Big Music is now reliably up to date with operating systems and security patches and the instant access to data has increased his oversight of the business at anytime from anywhere.
“With Cin7, I love the fact I can login from home on a Saturday or Sunday evening, and see how the store’s been trading during the day,” he says. “Having the real-time information available from anywhere is great for me.”
Hitting the Right Notes with Stock Management
One of the major pain points in retail, stock-taking, underwent a transformation for Big Music with Cin7. Richard contrasts the past with the present, saying, “It used to drive me insane because the Lightspeed stock-take module was buggy, and not transparent. By contrast, going through the stock-take process in Cin7 is much easier to manage, because you can break it down into components, and execute a section or a brand or a range of things at a time.”
Moreover, Cin7 streamlined the order-to-purchase process, especially for products not in Big Music's inventory. The system effortlessly manages even complex drop-shipping orders.
The Perfect Ensemble: SMB Consultants, Cin7, and Big Music
Richard’s confidence in SMB Consultants shines through, as he emphasizes their pivotal role in the transition. He concludes, “Don’t try and do it yourself. I think that SMB have got a unique set of skills and a deep understanding, and we needed it.”
With Cin7 as its backbone, Big Music now looks to a future where every operation harmonizes perfectly with their vision, echoing Richard’s sentiment, “It works... It connects well with other apps, and you’re future-proofing your business by taking this kind of modular ecosystem approach.”