Who doesn’t want next year to be better than this one? Even if you’ve had a stupendous 12 months with sales coming out of your ears, there’s always room for improvement.
To get a head start, check out these four key areas to see how you could hit the ground running when 1 January comes around.
Get the most from your suppliers
The trick to maximising your relationship with suppliers is to make sure that every pound you spend is working as hard as you are.
The end of the year is a great time to assess whether your suppliers are giving you the best deal they can. If they’re not working hard for your business there might be others who will, so push for any discounts or freebies and make sure you suss out their competition.
A credit card may give you some additional leverage by enabling you to pay immediately or buy in bulk. The sensible use of a credit card – including paying off the balance in full and on time every month – could also help to boost your credit score. This, in turn, could lead to suppliers being more amenable.
There are often other savings to be found by looking at regular purchases and seeing if there is a better option. Swapping transport expenses for potentially cheaper alternatives such as hire cars, for example, or replacing costly face-to-face supplier meetings with technology-driven virtual ones.
Boost your customer relationships
Making sure that each customer fulfils their potential for your business could make a huge difference to your balance sheet. One way you can do this is by upping your customer management game.
Monitoring all customers closely is a good way of achieving this. How quickly do they pay? How much of your time are they taking? What is the potential for increasing their spending?
If you identify pinch points you can take steps to rectify any underlying issues, while also concentrating efforts on boosting your business with your better customers. Preferential deals, occasional concessions – it’s worth keeping these customers sweet so take the time to think about massaging each relationship to generate as much business as possible.
Make the most of your opportunities
Think for a second. Was your business able to take advantage of all the opportunities that came its way last year? Would it be better off now if it had?
If so, then make 2018 the year of saying yes.
Often it can be a mind-set that needs to change – to be bolder in certain situations. It’s not easy, of course, but the way you pay can help and a business credit card could play a part when you really decide to go for it. That could be in enabling you to take up great investment opportunities, or simply giving you immediate access to funds when an unmissable deal crops up.
There are other ways to help you feel more confident if a good opportunity comes up, such as checking out credit reports on potential new customers or suppliers. This can help you to understand whether a deal is as good as it looks – and Barclaycard Business cardholders can get a special offer on business credit reports with Experian.
Or maybe you’re repeatedly saying no to opportunity because of a lack of resources, and if so then now could be the time to do something about it. Perhaps it really is time to add an extra person (or people) to the payroll, to move to bigger premises or to invest in efficiency in order to free-up capacity to take on more work.
These can all be good ways to improve business, but think about what it is that you need to be able to say ‘yes’ and plan accordingly.
Reap your rewards
It’s easy to get so caught up in running your business that you miss the many advantages that are available to you.
So it’s important to take stock, to look around and address the situation. The end of the year can be a great time to do this and identify any business improvement ideas you can find.
Perhaps there’s latent goodwill in your community – a desire to buy locally perhaps, or to support local businesses – that you could capitalise on with effective marketing. Or maybe you’re not spending as much time with your customers as you could be – and missing out on crucial insights that could improve your business as a result.
You might even be unaware of some of the benefits available to you from the business resources you use – whether that’s free services as part of an industry association membership, or discounts and rewards you could get as part of your credit card agreement.
If you’re a Barclaycard Business cardholder there are a host of rewards you could benefit from, ranging from savings on AA cover to cashback on purchases (Terms and Conditions apply).
Get to know everything available to your business and start making the most of it today. It all adds up to healthier finances in 2018.
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