Posts

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.

3 Types Of Responsibilities All Business Owners Must Meet

As a business owner, your primary responsibility is relatively straightforward: to ensure that your business is as successful as it can possibly be. You are the captain of your ship, and you have to chart a course to profitability and success, navigating the occasional choppy waters but nevertheless always advancing and covering new ground.

However, as well as shouldering the responsibility for the business’ ultimate success, there are other types of responsibilities that business owners will also need to meet, as we have expanded on below…

1. Environmental responsibilities

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | Entrepreneur | Entrepreneurship | 3 Types Of Responsibilities All Business Owners Must Meet

Modern consumers expect companies to be as eco-friendly as possible, a tendency that is likely to only continue in future given the environmental focus Generation Z are becoming known for. As a result, it’s well worth investigating the various ways and means of switching to more environmentally-friendly methods in your office. You could, for example, consider going paperless in your office, working to reduce your business energy usage, and opting to use local suppliers wherever possible; with just these small changes, your ability to meet your responsibilities to the environment will be greatly enhanced.

2. Compliance responsibilities

Regulatory and legal compliance is one of the best ways business owners can meet their responsibilities. After all, regulations and legal requirements are put into place because they are deemed necessary to offer protection to someone or something – be it your employees’ well-being, the finances of your investors, or the safety of any visitor to your business. It’s therefore well worth taking the time to go through a SOX compliance audit or requesting a health and safety assessment regularly; not only does this ensure you meet all compliance requirements, but all aspects of your business will be better protected by your complete adherence to all important legislation.

3. Customer responsibilities

When customers choose to buy one of your products or use your services, they are placing a huge amount of trust in your business. They are trusting that any product you deliver will be safe to use and any services provided will be effective and delivered as promised, and that the money they have spent with your company will be well-used. As a business owner, it is incredibly important to honor this trust and do all you can to meet your customers’ needs; treat every order you receive as if it is vitally important to that customer, and go above and beyond to ensure that their order proceeds exactly as it should. If something does go awry, then it’s always worth doing what you can to provide compensation – even if you are not required to by law, as you are far more likely to salvage an ongoing relationship with an unhappy customer if they feel their issue has been fully addressed and rectified.

In conclusion

By ensuring that you take account of the three types of responsibilities as listed above, you can be confident that you, your employees, and your business as a whole can look forward to a bright, productive and successful future.

How Can A Business Owner Remain As Informed As Possible?

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | Entrepreneurship | How Can A Business Owner Remain As Informed As Possible?Every business owner needs to remain informed in several fields should they hunt success. This is of course one of the most grounding and obvious principles to be accepted before you begin. But it is also quite essential to consider how, and why being informed matters, and how to ensure that even in the midst of success, you are able to keep your eye on the ball. Markets shift quickly, and customer perception will also. It’s very possible for a firm that broke revenue records last year becomes shunned a few months into the next. It’s incredibly possible for even massive, staple companies such as Apple to read the market and their audience incorrectly, or push the envelope just a little further towards predatory pricing than their customer base might accept.

This means as a small business owner, where each point of revenue is much more significant, you need to understand how to curate your output and try your best to regain your strong footing in the market. Staying informed is the way to get there.

But how does this look in a functional sense? Let us consider:

Remaining Up-To-Date

There are many forces that shape the landscape of a firm over time. Automation, technological shifts, cultural trends, the political sphere, these are but a few categories that can inform or discourage a purchase or subscription from the employees you care about. Remaining up-to-date means more than you might consider. It’s essential to keep up with the news of your industry. Subscribing to journal digests, and collating your own list of RSS news feed inputs can help you keep on top of the big stories as they happen. Following the movers and shakers of your industry on Twitter can also help you see where the next hot-button effort is, and that’s truly important to potentially subvert that and become a trendsetter yourself. Without knowing where everyone else is, it can be hard to define yourself and bring something new to the table.

Metrics

Every business owner knows that looking at their performance and reflecting on what’s going both right and wrong is essential if they hope to make any progress for the future. This can help you assess if you’re going along the right lines, or if you need a vital shift in your efforts. But if you simply know how to view those metrics and do not wish to streamline them or try to implement those solutions, you’ll be informed without practicality. This is where Softengine comes into play, as a means to help you collate your SAP business offerings, to help automate your essential processes, track them in real time, and to do so within several different departments. The more information you have to play with, the more metrics you can record and the more you can shift their intent, the better your business is at the end of the day.

Listen To The Staff

Your ground-floor staff are often those who interface with customers each day, who experience your policies and decision in real-time. Listen to them. This is essential to ensure that you gain valuable insight you couldn’t anywhere else. Keeping this open-door policy and encouraging those reports can help you tap into information other business owners might not be.

With these tips, you’re certain to remain as informed as possible.