From XU Magazine, 
Issue 32

App automation provides the recipe for success at Big E Nutrition

Big E Nutrition relies on app technology to operate and automate their business. The proof is in the protein powder.

This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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Success, according to Elias Abboud, founder of Big E Nutrition, is having the right people in your corner; identifying where change is needed, supporting your growth and being willing to challenge the status quo.  “In my case, it was Management Accountant Lielette Calleja from All that Counts and Rhys Roberts from Cloudsolve. They both changed the way Big E operated, and it was all for the better” he said. 

Elias was painfully aware of the some of the issues and challenges that his new business, established just before the pandemic in 2020, was facing when he met Lielette. “I’m an engineer by trade and haven’t worked in retail or sold anything online before. I just loved working out at the gym and fuelling my body with clean healthy products. It was difficult to find the products I liked in Australia so I started importing them from overseas for myself.  Then I started selling them to friends who were also motivated by healthy gains at the gym. Things started to grow organically and when a major retailer wanted to stock my products on their shelves, I had to move to a more formal business model: I needed help.” 

After initially engaging a top end of town accounting firm, Elias realised he needed a more hands on approach from someone experienced with product-based businesses. In came Lielette Calleja to review the accounting processes. She moved them to Xero as a first step – whilst Xero is a great app it has some limitations when it comes to managing inventory business. All it really does is track line items —  it doesn’t provide any data driven insights from sales or margins. 

 She identified Big E Nutrition needed to better track landed costs and have more insights into the sales and product margins. Lielette say’s “They were losing way too much money along the way and it was taking us twice as long as it should to identify their position from month to month, by which time it’s old news. You want to have the ability to identify and fix any problems as they occur, not keep making it worse as time goes on. They needed access to more granular information about their business.” 

“The profitability on the range of supplements that they sell varies from profitable to loss leaders, and often with widely differing margins on the same product based on the customer (online retail vs wholesale): there’s no way of knowing what’s what just using Xero. When you have clarity over which what products are making money and those that aren’t, and how that varies by channel, you can directly impact the results before they get out of control. They needed an inventory system to give them more detail and clarity on a day-to-day basis,” Lielette adds. 

That’s where Cloudsolve came in. “We were then engaged to provide an integrated app solution that would help provide better data and also automate much of the sales and order/tracking process for both B2B and B2C, customers” said Rhys Roberts, Founder of Cloudsolve.  

“Cloudsolve was founded to support accountants, bookkeepers and customers to implement cloud-based app integrations for clients with product based, inventory and manufacturing businesses. We work in partnership with accountants like Lielette to get the best results for their clients. This almost always has the direct effect of not only improving the efficiency and bottom line of the end client but also increasing the advisory capacity and revenue for the accountant,” explains Rhys. 

Elias stated that “The best part was that Lielette and Rhys worked together behind the scenes to make everything so seamless for us. Big E nutrition really is my side hustle (I have a full-time job as an engineer!) so I needed solutions that enabled quick and easy access to information and a lot of automation. Rhys recommended Unleashed to manage our stock, A2X to manage our integration from Shopify to Xero, StarShippit to integrate orders to our couriers (who are notified every step of the way) and get the goods out the door. It was a game changer,” says Elias. 

Big E nutrition uses both Unleashed B2C and B2B portals to manage the process of ordering. From the moment a customer places an order on the website everything is synced into Unleashed, then sent to Starshipit for distribution.  The A2X connection between Shopify and Xero delivers significant savings in back-office admin – an elated Elias reports: “I don’t have to do anything. I don’t have to even think about it. The money comes into my account and the order is closed off in Unleashed and it can be reconciled in Xero.”  

Elias freely admits that, “From where I was to where I am now, I can’t live without Unleashed. We now have access to data we can use to identify the margin on our stock, whether we can offer discounts on certain products and manage the variations in expenses like freight, fuel and shipping that can vary from week to week.  The intel is invaluable.” 

He also adds, “What you can take to the bank is that if I wanted to sell my business a year ago, I had nothing. I had a bunch of products on shelves and the knowledge of all aspects of the business was in my head. Now, I have a complete platform. Now, I have an inventory management system that is self-sufficient. Orders are placed, orders are processed, orders are sent, tracked and traced. Everything is done automatically. It’s incredible.” 

Working with Cloudsolve to source the right app ‘ingredients’ helped Big E Nutrition achieve the success they have now. Elias explains, “Using a third-party integrator like Cloudsolve isn’t compulsory. Let’s face it you only use consulting services if they demonstrate they add value, that they deliver more value than they’re going to charge you, and Cloudsolve have delivered that to us in spades.” 

Cloudsolve work with both you, the accountants and bookkeepers, and your clients to implement bespoke cloud-based app solutions. No two businesses are the same and we take the time to get to know every business in detail and provide bespoke solutions.  

On working with Cloudsolve we asked Lielette why she returns to use our services for her other clients. She says, “It’s a genuine partnership working with Cloudsolve. Rhys’s industry knowledge is extensive and he takes the time to understand every business. He genuinely cares about every client and works with us, not against us.”

Why leave it there?

To find out more about Cloudsolve

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