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Protecting Your Personal Finances When Starting a Tech Business

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article | Protecting Your Personal Finances When Starting a Tech BusinessAre you finally ready to build your dream of starting your own tech business? If so, you may be concerned about how your business will impact on the personal and family finances that you are responsible for. However, there are many ways that you can help to both protect your business and your family at the same time when starting your tech company, and this guide will provide an FAQ to help you.

How can you finance your business?

If you are thinking about starting your tech business, then you may be worried about how to get the right amount of capital if you do not have the full amount in personal savings. However, there are many ways to finance a business without dipping into your savings. These include finding funding from the government or a business awards scheme which can provide you with the funding that you need to research and produce your innovation.

You may also be able to find an angel investor through attending networking events or create a crowdfunding campaign where the public can help to contribute towards your business on websites such as Kickstarter. You should also look into getting loans from your friends and family as these will help to support you without the interest of bank loans.

How can you keep business and personal finances separate?

Many new businesswomen are concerned about their ability to both support their family and create their business from scratch, even though it is possible to do so. To keep your personal and business finance separate, you should create separate personal and business bank accounts, enabling you to keep track of your expenditure for both, know how much profit you are making in a glance, as well as how much money you have to re-invest into your business easily, and allow you to fill out tax returns quickly.

You should also set yourself a business budget and a personal salary to enable you to split your money into reinvestment and family funds and to ensure that you have enough money for both of your purposes. This will stop you from exceeding the amount of expenditure that you can afford. You should also consider employing a financial advisor who can help to separate your expenditure and advise you on how to manage your finances more effectively.

What should you do if you are struggling financially?

If you do find that you are struggling to manage your personal finances successfully, you should consider taking out a personal Quick Loan, such as those provided by Cash Lady between £100 and £2000. This can help you to deal with any unexpected expenses that you have at the same time as building up your business which you have failed to budget for, as well as helping you to balance your personal and business finances more effectively until you are able to manage these and repay the loan that you have taken out.

 

Scaling A Small Business Tips

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | Entrepreneurship | Scaling A Small Business Tips | Scaling Business
 
It’s no easy feat scaling a business, it is pretty difficult and takes considerable effort. At the beginning of a business, the owners will practically do every job that needs to be done. Things that involve a wide spectrum of skills and knowledge from different business departments, such as dealing with sales and marketing. It also means understanding taxes and corporate compliance including employment regulations and laws. And finally, usually, for small businesses, It will involve having to interact with customers on a daily basis.

Spending all your time fulfilling these roles can make you think that your business is far from any growth or expansion and in doing so would damage its foundations. Sometimes this is not true. There is a light at the end of the tunnel for those who struggle to grow their business. Scaling a business is a strategic program framework and requires an element of planning with compiling the business assets into one fluent engine in motion.

Like anything else in life, including business, you will have to put in the time if you’re looking to reap the benefits of success. Don’t focus on the short-term outcome of your work but look to the long term and build sincere value to your customers.

Here are some ways a small business can prepare for growth and scaling up.

Build A Good Sales Funnel

One of the first ways to quickly grow a business is by building a sales funnel. If a business does not have one, they’re making a monumental mistake. Sales funnels can help to somewhat automate your business functionality making it more established.

Upgrade Your Technology

Scaling a business will require some essence of updating the current system in place that takes care of the business needs. Whether it is a fleet of smartphones or vans, sometimes the investment will need to be made to keep clients and customers satisfied with your products or services. If your business requires minimal IT but still requires digitalizing documents or even hosting a web site, check out Hudson Valley IT Services company, who will take care of your site needs.

Customer Management System

Now manually tracking transactions is hard and can take up a lot of space when storing them in cabinets. No one wants to do that. Paperwork can get burdensome as the business grows but if you want to scale quickly, use a customer management system. You can find plenty to choose from online and make sure you choose the right one that depends on your line of work.

Email Lists

Back in the day, it was a little book with all the client information but now one of the best and most effective ways to grow a business quickly is to build an email list. The more people you can send offers and deals to the more potential sales you will have.

Scaling up takes time and strategic measure need to be in place to be able to counter-act any problems that may occur. Have you scaled your business recently? Share your tips on what you found helped you in the comments below.

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.

Should Your Business Be Thinking About Making Sustainable Choices?

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Sustainability|Should Your Business Be Thinking About Making Sustainable Choices?You can feel the wind of change in business and you only have to witness the growing numbers of CEO’s who are pledging their support for climate change and promising action to realize that sustainability is topic that is very much on-trend.

With that in mind the question is should your business be embracing the idea of making sustainable choices and what strategies should you be considering to make a difference?

There are so many options when it comes to the subject of sustainability and that extends to finance too, so when you contact Commerce Trust, for instance, they can tell you all about sustainable investments.

It is hard to argue against the view that sustainable initiatives are not just good for the planet but they are good for business as well. Here are some pointers on how to make sustainability an integral part of your business.

Making sustainability the new normal

A good starting point would be to work on ways of incorporating sustainability into your company culture and making it something that everyone in the business is greatly aware of and committed to.

Some of the major corporations around the world are already investing in environmental stewardship initiatives and many of these organizations have subsequently managed to take actions that go above and beyond the basic requirements laid out by governments.

Whether it is sourcing a reliable form of green energy to power your production line or seeking out suppliers with similar green credentials, it is clear that embracing a culture of sustainability within your business is going to be good for the planet and promotes your company as one that cares about what their customers and suppliers think about them.

Start with some easy changes

When you start to embrace sustainability it can soon become obvious that there are so many practices that you can adopt, some that you can implement immediately and others that might take a little longer before you feel the benefit.

One of your first tasks could be to make some basic changes to the way you do things in your office and figure out some initiatives that help you achieve the goal of achieving a good level of sustainability.

A simple but effective action would be to change your old light bulbs in your building and replace them with some LED alternatives.

This move is a real no-brainer as LED’s use less energy than a halogen or incandescent bulb and their lifespan is expected to be in the region of 25% longer than halogen or incandescent options.

You will pay more for a LED bulb but it lasts a lot longer than its counterparts and the amount of energy they use is substantially less than an old-fashioned bulb, meaning some noticeable cost savings are eminently deliverable.

Ditch the plastic bottles

Thankfully, there is greater awareness than ever before about the damage that plastic is doing to our planet and millions of tons of plastic waste are generated each and every year around the globe.

A simple solution that will boost your business’s green credentials would be to encourage a ban on plastic water bottles in your office and install a water filtration system that will help keep everyone hydrated without the waste associated with discarded plastic bottles.

Your supply partners should be a reflection of your own sustainability credentials

If you choose your supply partners with care and ask lots of searching sustainability questions when appointing a new supplier this should ensure that you develop a relationship with like-minded organizations.

Some major companies won’t even use certain suppliers if their green credentials are not up to standard and you can follow suit by using companies who use energy efficient vehicles and seem to be constantly working hard to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

Become a recycle champion

There are already tons of waste being sent to landfill sites every week and there is bound to be a percentage of that waste that could be recycled and reused rather than being buried under the surface.

Encourage everyone in your business to adopt a culture of recycle and reuse, which means thinking carefully about what is being put into the trash bin.

As well as recycling what you can of your own waste you can also do your bit for the planet by committing to using recycled paper products and buying recycled ink that has already been around the block rather than end up in a landfill.

Keeping it clean

You will quickly discover that turning green often involves making a number of small incremental changes to the way you do things that all add up over time to make a big difference.

With that in mind, simple suggestions such as switching to some green cleaning products that tick all the right environmental boxes will create a more eco-friendly culture. Using these items will keep your work environment sparkling and clean without harming the planet and is just one example of a sustainable choice.

Sustainable development simply cannot be achieved alone by an individual or some smaller businesses. It is a matter of collective responsibility, but that is not to say that you can’t lead the way in encouraging others to come around to your way of thinking.

Gain a competitive edge

There is nothing wrong with wanting something to show for your efforts of keeping everything in your business as green as possible and when you boost your green credentials it can give your company a competitive edge.

If customers and suppliers know you are championing the the cause for making sustainable choices you could find that customers with similar ideals are more likely to give their business to you rather than to a rival who doesn’t seem to have the same set of impressive green credentials.

The argument seems clear. If you develop a company culture which is centered around making sustainable choices there is a fair chance that you will be rewarded with a better bottom line performance as well as enjoying a clearer conscience that you are doing your bit for the planet.