At present, the global economic and geopolitical climate remains extremely volatile, thanks to a number of unique events including Donald Trump’s election as the American President and the decision of the UK’s electorate to vote to leave the EU.
These events have sent shockwaves around the world, with businesses in particular reporting low levels of confidence. The good news is that the level of sentiment in the UK is beginning to recover, with a net balance of 37% of firms expecting their business prospects to improve in 2017.
In order for this optimism not to be misplaced; however, it is crucial that businesses establish practical ways in which they can improve their venture. These will vary depending on the nature of your venture, but here are several universal steps that you can take to aid your cause: –
Embrace Flexible Payment Solutions
You may not have noticed, but 2015 was a seminal year for consumerism. This marked the first time that cash was used for less than half of all transactions by consumers, as debit cards and more specifically contactless payment solutions began to assert their dominance.
In total, cash payments accounted for just 45.1% of all transactions, and this number is only likely to decline further as flexible and mobile payment solutions become increasingly functional.
No matter what market you operate in, this is a seminal technology trend that you must embrace if you are to optimise your turnover in 2017. You should start by installing debit, credit and contactless payment solutions at all points of sale, leveraging one-stop resources like Card Cutters to reduce costs and execute a seamless transition. This will immediately create a more convenient and fluid customer experience while optimising the impact of impulse purchases.
Create a Culture Within Your Business
The term ‘company culture’ was once derided as being an example of business jargon, but this is no longer the case. In fact, this is now recognised as one of the single most important drivers of successful leadership, as employees unite and collaborate within an immersive culture.
While the type of culture that you look to implement may vary depending on your outlook and the nature of your business, there are several core elements that you should focus on. These include empowerment and freedom, as these entities are universal motivators of modern employees and help to optimise the level of engagement that exists between employers and their staff members.
There are several things that you can do to create a progressive culture within your workplace, starting with the introduction of flexible working directives. Of course, there are now laws that enable anyone to request flexible working hours from their employers (rather than just those who are parents or guardians), but you should extend beyond this by creative flexible and manageable working patterns that maximise the output of each individual.
Embrace Smart Technology to Reduce Costs to Optimise Profit Margins
When looking to create a more profitable business, entrepreneurs so often focus on aspects such as marketing, sales and pricing. While this is understandable, it is also important to remember the impact that cost has on your bottom line profit, as even businesses with the highest turnover will lose money if their expenses amount to more.
Cutting costs is a difficult thing to do, however, as it is important to strike a healthy balance between minimising your spend and maintaining productivity. This is why you should focus on non-strategic and operational costs in 2017, as these can often be reduced without impacting on output (while such an approach may even free up more money to invest in practices such as digital marketing and advertising).
These include costs such as rent and utilities, with business electricity and gas particularly important areas of focus. After all, firms can now access smart, automated metres that send usage data to energy suppliers and brands on a half-hourly basis, creating a real-time insight into how electricity and gas are being consumed.
This creates an opportunity to identify excess areas of consumption, which can then be reduced and lead to a lower energy spend.