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5 Effective Strategies for General Contractors to Cut Costs

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article | 5 Effective Strategies for General Contractors to Cut CostsContractors need to devise ways to cut costs in order to remain profitable. With increased competition, the need to cut costs has become important now more than ever.

Eliminating people is not the right way to cut costs. This will only stifle the ability of your firm to make a profit. Instead, you should look for other ways to cut costs and boost profitability.

1. Cost Audit

The first step in cutting costs should begin with a complete audit of the existing expenses. You should consider ways to reduce operational expenses.

You can relocate the office to a location where the rent is lower. Also, you can consider the shift from in-house to cloud operations to cut overheads.

A lot of contractors subscribe to different software services yet don’t use most of them. Consider whether the services really add value to your business by saving time or improving efficiency. If not, it’s better to cancel the subscription.

2. Time and Contract Clause

Instead of Under-the-contract-price, you should consider adding the add-to-exceed clause. In the former case, the owner of the project only has to pay a fixed cost that includes overhead and profit. This is not necessarily the most cost-effective approach.

Instead, you should consider the time and materials contract. This is a type of contract consist of the following three terms.

  • Actual material costs
  • Actual direct labor costs at a specific hourly rate
  • Agree on add-on to cover profit and overhead

The main benefit of this type of contracting is flexibility. This cost structure allows you to adjust requirements, replace features, and cater to changed user requirements without taking a hit on the bottom-line.

3. Seek Multiple Bids

When working with a sub-contractor, you should consider multiple bids. This may take additional time, but the effort will be worth it in the end.

You may have to send lots of emails and hammer the phones. But this will allow you to lock in on subcontractors that offer services at the least costs. This extra work will help in significantly reduce the internal expenses.

4. Inspect Your Schedule

You should keep an eye on your schedule for any potential stacking or acceleration of activities. Compressing the schedule will allow you to squeeze cost advantages. Time is money and any time that is saved will have a positive impact on the company’s bottom-line.

5. Financial Prequalification

You should prequalify all subcontractors to reduce the risk in case of cost escalation. This is particularly important if the subcontractor will bear most of the risks. It will help in absorbing any deviances in a project that result in increased cost.

By financial prequalification, you can get assurance that the subcontractors will be able to absorb any costs overruns. Some of the criteria that you should consider include pipeline, days of cash, and work in progress.

The above tips can help in greatly reducing the contracting costs. Consider adding an escalation clause in all your projects as well. This will pass on the risk of cost increase to the project owners.

The Importance of Business Intelligence Software and Why It’s Integral for Business Success

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article | The Importance of Business Intelligence Software and Why It’s Integral for Business SuccessIn the digital-first, customer-centric world we live in today, managers and business owners must deal with information overload. That is the reason why they are always looking for ways to derive greater intelligence, control, and understanding from their data. Adopting a business intelligence (BI) strategy is one of the best ways to deal with this problem, but most organizations have been slow to integrate it within their business systems. This is mainly down to a lack of knowledge, as businesses still don’t know, where to start, what it involves, and how long it’ll take for them to see any benefits.

There’s no denying that business intelligence software is crucial in helping organizations make reliable and timely decisions about their operations. It ensures that the business can access reliable information and make insightful decisions by reacting in real time. Business intelligence software has played a major role in helping organizations meet their challenges like narrowing margins, high customer expectations, and global competition.

Most businesses are still using traditional methods, which makes it harder for them to make decisions, as the information is stored in separate applications and databases. How quickly and accurately a company responds in this technology-driven competitive market is the main difference between success and failure. Business intelligence technologies have several functions that improve their performance, and one of them is reporting. It plays a key role in business intelligence, as it allows the decision makers of the enterprise to support their work. The discovery of essential data patterns (analytics) is also done through reporting, which is another key role of business intelligence.

Some of the standard functions of business intelligence technologies include predictive and prescriptive analysis, business performance management, text mining, benchmarking, and online analytic processing. Business intelligence refers to the application, tools, and good practices that are used to access and analyze data to optimize or improve the performance of the business. It converts raw data into relevant information that enables tactical and strategic insights to make effective decisions.

Business intelligence software is a technological process, which collects and processes data to attain actionable information. It allows users to acquire information quickly and transfer them to the proper personnel to make the right decision. Business intelligence tools have been around for a long time, but it was only accessible to large enterprise, who had the infrastructure and resources to implement this technology.

However, thanks to the advancement of technology, even small enterprises now can access business intelligence software through cloud computing.

The Main Benefits of Business Intelligence Software

Any organization that wants to remain relevant in the competitive market of today must adapt fast and real-time integration of business intelligence software. Most organizations today have changed their modes of operation so they can adapt to modern business intelligence technologies. However, there are still plenty of organizations that are under the assumption that business intelligence software isn’t user-friendly and is complicated.

That’s a misconception about business intelligence software since it is user-friendly and can be adopted quickly by an organization, while it ensures maximum profitability by smoothing the decision-making process. Businesses that have adopted this technology in their systems are thriving in all the challenges they are facing at any stage of their projects. Business intelligence software also allows small and medium-sized enterprises to reduce their cost of operations by identifying areas that have higher costs of expenses and finding measures to reduce them.

The best thing about business intelligence software is that it allows businesses to have agile operations and is often the difference between operating on profits or losses. To give you a better idea, we are going to discuss some of the main benefits offered by business intelligence software:

1. Better Business Decisions

When a business adopts business intelligence software, its management can easily identify all the financial and customer data, production data, current data, and business aspects of the organization. This information will allow the management to synthesize and analyze the products and investment reports, which will help them make better business decisions that benefit the organization.

2. Enables Faster and Accurate Planning, Reporting, and Analysis

Business intelligence software offers real-time information, which helps it provide accurate reporting solutions as it can connect with an extensive range of data. The software can plan and analyze informed business solutions, which reduce potential risks and allow a business to achieve faster growth.

3. Enhanced Speed of Decision-Making

Business intelligence software not only helps businesses make better decisions but also helps increase their decision-making speed as well. Without business intelligence software, an organization will be spending a lot of time implementing decisions, since they’ll need to cover business aspects one by one before making any decision. This is a time-consuming process, and with business intelligence software you cut down on the speed of decision-making.

4. Increased Business User Satisfaction

There is increased user satisfaction for the software because business intelligence offers better decision-making, reporting, and accurate analysis. It helps the business maximize its limited resources by using cost-effective solutions that allow business growth and enhance user satisfaction.

5. Customer Behavior Insights

Business intelligence software holds the key for identifying customer behavior patterns, as it determines customer responses and helps the business achieve market profitability by helping it retain customers and attract new clients.

6. Accurate Decision-Making

The best part about the business intelligence software is that it not only allows real-time decision-making but also enables accurate decisions to be made that will benefit the business. For instance, if your competitor decides to reduce the prices of their products, you’ll need to come up with a counter price for your product that is lower or similar. This decision will take some time to be implemented, as you’ll need to determine the impact of your profits after the price reduction. However, when you’re using business intelligence software, you get rapid and informed decisions that allow your business to stay on top of its game.

7. Increased Collaboration between Business & IT Units

Business intelligence software and systems have enabled growth collaborations between IT and business units. Any organization that aims to grow its operation must ensure that its business and IT units are working together, and this can be achieved easily with business intelligence software.

8. Offer Personalized Services

Business intelligence software is user-friendly and comes with a feature that personalizes information or data by making it easier to use and understand. The feature also ensures smoother collaboration between users in the organization and ensures a smoother transfer of data.

9. Track KPIs with Notifications and Alerts

The business intelligence software tracks the KPI by evaluating the current status and metric value against a target using specific measures that will send alerts to the user. These notifications allow users to come up with the right solutions or measures.

10. Identify Opportunities for Revenue

Revenue growth is essential to all organizations, and it is one of the main purposes of business intelligence software. Finding new revenue opportunities opens new doors for business and allows it to thrive and transform its operations. The software analyzes marketing strategies and campaigns to create important reports and insights on the best sources of high returns on investment.

11. Reduced Cost

Enterprises that struggle to sort out their financial statements are going to struggle in the long-run, and that is where business intelligence software plays such a major role. It helps find areas where the organization can cut down its costs, and the software helps to collect raw data on areas where there are high expenses and provides solutions to bring them down.

12. Better Operational Efficiency

Every business is striving to improve its operations, as it helps them take the next step in their development. However, to do that, businesses must monitor and measure their performance, and business intelligence software helps businesses come up with different activities that help drive business success. The software covers highly used metrics like productivity, performance, and employee satisfaction to ensure better operations in the organization.

13. Higher Quality Data

Data comes in all shapes and sizes, and some can be more complicated to understand and operate, which makes it difficult for organizations to take advantage of data-driven insights. There is a data visualization tool in business intelligence software, which allows for easier recognition of data. This feature is incredibly useful since it allows data to be converted into a better method or quality, which can be easily accessed.

14. Create a Data Culture in the Organization

A lot of organizations are guilty of data clustering, which leads to data manipulation and data loss. Business intelligence software is extremely useful when it comes to handling the data of a business since it allows easy collaboration and communications among members whenever data is updated. Users can also track data and its changes since notifications are sent to everyone.

15. Self-Service Culture

One of the biggest things about business intelligence software is that it promotes a culture of self-service in the business. Users can easily access data and easily manage it even if they aren’t familiar with the statistical analytics. Adding, creating, and manipulating data is easy, and this ensures cooperation between the different departments in the business.

Reducing Your Small Business Costs in 3 Steps

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article | Reducing Your Small Business Costs in 3 Steps | Reduce Costs | Entrepreneurship | Managing Your BusinessTo take your small business to the lofty heights of being a market leader in the foreseeable future, you’re going to have to start turning over a major profit sooner rather than later. To do this, you have to treat solidifying the money that you do make just as seriously as actually making it. It’s quite simple – if you continue to waste your profit, you won’t be able to invest it into further growth going forward.

One way you can solidify the revenue that you earn is to cut down on your overall expenditure. To find out how you can reduce your small business costs in only three steps, be sure to read on.

Rent equipment for short-term projects… don’t buy it

If you have a short-term project on the horizon, don’t squander the potential profit that you stand to make from it by buying tools specifically for it. It may be tempting to invest in a shiny piece of brand new equipment, but buying something that you aren’t realistically going to use going forward isn’t good business practice whatsoever – it’ll just be a waste of money. Instead, what you should do is rent the equipment that is essential to your work for the duration of the project only. Doing so will see you spend far less in the long run without having to sacrifice the tools that you need to do a good job.

There are plenty of ways for you to rent the equipment that you need to optimize your next project, not just complete it. If you’re in need of I.T. tools, for instance, you could turn to Smart. As stated at Smart.uk.com, this leasing company can offer your business everything, from short-term laptop rental to website hosting to a complete I.T. infrastructure that can be loaned for 12 months plus. Whatever tech you need to complete your next job, this rental service will be able to provide you with it.

Ditch your traditional landline

The days of the landline being the be-all-and-end-all of business communication are well and truly over. Today, using this kind of communicative tool will do nothing but see you pay out unnecessarily expensive annual costs. If you do anything to cut your business expenses, then, let it be to ditch your office’s traditional landline.

There are plenty of alternative ways to keep communication alive within your business, some of which include:

Go paperless

The amount of money that you spend on paper, ink, toner, and all of your other printer accessories may seem minimal at the time, but it will soon add up. Before you know it, you’re spending way more than you should be spending on printing… and way more than you need to be spending, as well. There is something that you can do to cut this kind of cost right down, and that is to go paperless. Whether you decide to get rid of your printer completely, or whether you resolve to only print when necessary, transitioning to, say, a digital invoice service will no doubt see you save a lot of money going forward.

Master These Vital Aspects To Digital Marketing

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article | Master These Vital Aspects To Digital Marketing | Digital MarketingYou really can’t expect your business to get far at all without a good, strong focus on digital marketing. Any digital marketing campaign you have will need to have a lot of focus and drive behind it, and generally you will find that it is important to make sure you are putting whatever effort into it you are able to. Digital marketing will prove to be an essential aspect to running your business and ensuring that it remains popular and continues to grow. But what do you need to think about in order to make sure that you are approaching it in the right way? In this article, we will look at just a few of the essential things that you need to do as part of your digital marketing campaign. As long as you are focused on these, you will be moving in the right direction.

You really can’t expect to get anywhere at all without a decent website, and in fact it is worth putting a good amount of your energy into this before you do anything else for your marketing efforts. The website is where it all comes back to, and as long as you are happy with that you will find that you are going to have much more success with your marketing overall. A good website needs professional designers to ensure that it is operating properly and working as well as possible. Fortunately, these days it is easy enough to find affordable web design which is going to work out well for you, so you should be able to do just that. With a website which you are happy with, you can then start to look at some of the other vital elements to digital marketing.

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article |Digital Marketing |Master These Vital Aspects To Digital MarketingSocial Media

You will find it is essential to have a good grasp of social media if you are to market your business online successfully, so make sure that you are looking into this as early on as you can. You will want to start building a following on Twitter, Facebook and the rest as soon as possible, and it’s important in particular to focus on actually having decent conversations with people on those platforms. If you do that, and develop a branded voice in doing so, you will find that people are much more likely to respond positively, and this will have the kind of effect that you are hoping to have for your digital marketing. Social media is incredibly powerful, so make sure that you are thinking about this.

PPC

Finally, it’s important to remember too that there are some ways of approaching digital marketing which have a more traditional advertising feel to them, and one in particular you might want to focus on is Pay-Per-Click advertising. This is essentially where you have a banner on websites which people click on to get through to your website or a particular call to action, and it is amazing how effective this kind of method can be. Be sure to make use of it, and you will find that your business has much more chance of success.