For many businesses, the last twelve months have been quite a turbulent time. In the aftermath of a number of shocking and unexpected political moments throughout 2016 that probably don’t need to be named at this stage, the economic outlook across the UK is understandably looking very uncertain for the year ahead. With this being the case it is more important than ever that this January, companies take the time to construct a comprehensive business plan for what they would like to achieve in the forthcoming year.
With many businesses no doubt spending this month looking for the best way to invest their as of yet unspent budget, it is vital that companies choose to spend their money on the tools that will bring them success over the course of this year. The question is though, what factors are likely to affect performance and what strategies should businesses be turning to in order to find prosperity in 2017?
Accurately Track Profits With Exchange Rate & Landed Cost Management
Firstly, businesses should definitely be looking at how they can keep control over their costs and margins. With Article 50 yet to be triggered and the impact of a Trump presidency yet to materialise, it is difficult to determine at this stage how markets and currencies will react when they do occur. However businesses should take the post-referendum volatility of the pound in late 2016 as a sign that they can expect some fluctuation. If this does occur, this will surely affect numerous supply chains and therefore businesses should ensure that they are well prepared.
Therefore one of the key things businesses importing from overseas or trading in multiple currencies should consider heading into 2017 is effective, automated management of their currency exchange rates. By having a real-time direct feed from a global currency exchange service, businesses can accurately control their exchange rates while operating in unpredictable times.
Of course, there are other ways businesses can ensure the grip over their profitability is tightened. When it comes to importing goods from overseas, a lot of businesses can often forget to include factors such as shipping and handling when reporting on the profitability of each item sold. This can then lead to companies thinking they have made more money on their sales than they have actually achieved. Therefore, businesses should also strive to find a way to keep track of the full landed cost of every product that is sold so that the profitability figures gathered from their reporting are as true and precise as possible.
With exchange rates kept regularly updated through such a service to reflect even the smallest fluctuations and product landed costs used, businesses can keep tight grip over their profit margins during times of uncertainty. This will allow them to keep their bottom line well protected and increase their chances for hitting annual profitability targets.
Use 2016 Performance As The Cornerstone Of Your Plans
Although enhanced exchange rate and landed cost management is something that will no doubt be of use to many companies over the course of 2017, when it comes to individual areas of improvement, businesses will need to dig a little deeper. For answers on where operations can be developed and sales can be increased, businesses should take an in-depth look at their performance during the last financial year for insight.
“Big data” has been a buzz phrase for a while now in the business world, representing information that can be analysed to reveal buying patterns and trends. Ensuring recorded data is as accurate as possible, companies can utilise Business Intelligence tools to find out exactly where they are currently falling short. By drilling down into sales performance data, businesses can quickly spot issues within their operation such as where better supplier rates need to be negotiated, where product sales are down or where account managers and sales reps have missed targets. Armed with this information, decision makers are then able to focus their improvement strategies on exactly the areas of their operation that need the work, ensuring any issues are stopped at the source.
By using 2016 data as the template for setting business goals for the year, assigning sales targets, strengthening weak areas and building on previous achievements, companies can help ensure that 2017 sees an increase in their generated annual revenue.
Maximise Sales By Knowing Customer Habits
However “big data” isn’t just useful for improving processes and setting annual goals, but also maximising sales opportunities. If a company already has a robust business management system in place, it is likely that they will already be gathering accurate, high quality data about their customers, products and markets as part of their daily trading. Although this wealth of information can be a powerful asset, commonly businesses won’t necessarily be using this consistently in their companywide practices.
Therefore in 2017, companies should look to not only embrace Business Intelligence tools but create a culture amongst their staff that utilises these vital analytics in every aspect of their operations. By using data gathered as part of daily operations and combining it with a comprehensive CRM tool, staff can fully capitalise on each sale, whether it is on the phone or before a meeting with a high profile customer. When used correctly, staff will be able to utilise these analytics on customer buying habits to quickly spot opportunities for generating additional revenue during each interaction.
Businesses who then really want to harness this data to maximise sales should look to take it one step further by providing mobile access to this information. By giving staff, managers and decision makers the ability to draw on accurate reports and key customer details whilst on-the-go, companies are less restricted and can further their efforts to reach their profitability potential.
What Will You Achieve In 2017?
So in conclusion, with the early days of 2017 bringing a hangover of uncertainty that plagued businesses for a good portion of 2016, companies across the country will be wise to carefully plan for all scenarios when constructing their business plan for the upcoming year. However by highlighting areas where performance can be improved, minimising profitability leakage and also ensuring they are prepared for any currency fluctuations, businesses can help to see their business flourish in 2017.