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It’s time for your business to tighten its belt

This blog in brief

In this blog, we’re looking at the economic effects of the lockdown. We’re asking the question “What can we do to cut costs.” by looking at our technology. 

What efficiency savings can be made and how can we get the most out of our software? 

Let’s find out.

This is just the start

As the Government looks to ease the lockdown, it’s easy to be absorbed by that faint glimmer of hope that things are soon going to return to some hint of normality – but as many of you will know, this is just the start of a difficult path for businesses. 

The figures that we’re starting to see from the Bank of Engalnd and predictions from economists, the office for national statistics and the department of work and pensions are painting a picture of a deep recession. 

“Economic Scarring.” is a term that defines the long-lasting effects that a recession can have on an economy. 

The Economy is Shrinking At An Alarming Rate

This chart from Statista using data from the Office for National Statistics gives us a little hint of our situation in March.

The UK’s economy shank by two percent in the first quarter of 2020 which statista reports as “the biggest quarter-on-quarter fall in gross domestic product since the fourth quarter of 2008”. Many people will remember the 2008 recession and the years of austerity that followed it. 

Q2 of 2020 is set to see an even worse slump as the crisis deepens. With each report on the economy, the predictions get worse with the Bank of England predicting a 14% shrink and the Guardian also reporting that the economy could have shrunk as much as 35% with upwards of 2 million jobless by the end of Spring. 

When the economy shrinks in such a way we enter a period of recession – “a temporary period of economic decline.” which has a devastating knock-on effect that sees small businesses folding due to constrained cash flow and large businesses laying off staff – this leads to less money in the economy and the circle continues. 

While the Government are currently running their furlough scheme to help businesses through some of the worst of it, it’s certain there will be lasting effects. This comes at a time where the country is taking its first steps into the uncertainty of Brexit, too. 

In the past decade, there has never been a time where it has been more important to push ahead with efficiency savings.

Looking to Technology to Tighten Your Business’ Belt

You can start to tighten your business belt by taking charge of software solutions and understanding your business processes.

Software has become an integral part of business life – everyone is aware of the efficiency savings that you can get from a good piece of software and that is what allows business to justify the license and implementation costs. 

However; with the economic turmoil ahead, it’s time for businesses to really tune their software and shop around to make sure that they have the best deal for the long term.

Switch And Save

We’ve got several large clients using Zoho CRM because they’ve decided it’s feature rich and affordable, the latest of which is British Broadcaster, ITV.

Many clients come to us looking to switch from a more expensive software to a more affordable one that has feature parity. This is often the case when looking and small and medium enterprises.

They go out and get Salesforce because they’ve found that it’s the ‘Top CRM’ only to realise that ‘Market Share’ doesn’t translate down to usability, implementation or affordability.

As you can see from this table from Zoho, switching to Zoho CRM could save your business as much as 77% on your CRM spend, cutting your costs dramatically.

I know that you don’t need me to do the basic math for you. However, when you see it, it really hits home. So let’s look at that in numbers. 

Let’s say you’ve got 25 users on the system using the professional edition:  

  • Salesforce CRM: $1875 per month 

  • Zoho CRM: $500 per month 

Salesforce is going to set you back $22,500 every year. Compare that with Zoho CRM‘s and you would save $1375 per month, or $16,500 per year. 

It’s at this stage where I would be asking myself if Salesforce was really worth $16,500 per year more than Zoho CRM – so let’s take a look at the feature comparison to see what the difference is between the two pieces of software: 

As you can see, in a comparison between Zoho CRM and Salesforce CRM – there is almost feature parity between the two, and when you think that many of the features in Salesforce cost extra, it’s easy to see why people would be able to make smart savings for their business by making the switch. 

Bundles for Software  Consolidation

Another are where you can make some big savings is on the consolidation of software. The idea behind this is that you look to prune the software licenses that you have. This is especially good if you’re using a lot of pieces of software that don’t integrate well. 

An example of this is Zoho One because it’s got over 40 applications that all come under a single monthly fee and which all have a lot of ‘out of the box’ integrations with one another. 

With Zoho One, you could enjoy huge savings – for example; we recently worked with a security company called Secrutiny who had multiple pieces of software including Communigator. We were able to move them onto Zoho One so that they could ditch the extra licences and save themselves money. 

For Just £35 per month per user, you could replace: 

  • Your CRM

  • Your Marketing software

  • Your email campaigns

  • Your Social Media Management Software

  • Your Expenses Software

  • Your Finance Application

  • Your Analytics suite

  • Your inventory management software

And of course the list goes on – all for that single monthly fee. Zoho call this the “Operating system for business.”

So make the smart decisions that your business needs to tighten its belt and keep your eyes open for bundles and suites that could help you save on having multiple and more expensive licenses.

Understand Your Business With Process Mapping

It might have been forgivable to dive in and get that fancy software package and set it up yourself, or have a rapid implementation that gives you everything that you need to get started. But if you don’t have a fundamental understanding of your business processes, then this could actually be working against you. 

Workarounds, missing opportunities, lack of automation and other pitfalls might mean that you’re just throwing good money away because you ‘knew you needed the software’.

At A2Z Cloud, we offer our clients consultation following the SKORE process that helps them understand their business processes through natural conversation – understanding the flow of how your business works will allow you to modify your systems to work with your process rather than try to for your process to your business. 

By actually mapping out what’s happening at each stage of your business, you can also look at what software and solutions are available to deploy to further improve those efficiency savings and deliver better workflows. 

So don’t think that your current implementation has to be the end of it – there is likely a lot more that you can do to get the software to work for you and your business process that will ensure you’re able to enjoy the savings of a more efficient process.

Make The Most Of Automation

It’s a scary topic – “The rise of automation.” – but in times like these, there has never been a better time to look at what parts of your business you can automate. In the worst-case scenario, good automation can help take the pressure off your teams. In the best-case scenario, it can handle entire processes for you, allowing you to free up resources or cut costs. 

To give you an example of one of the really interesting pieces of automation that’s on the rise at the moment, I’ll tell you a little about our marketing automation. It’s amazing just how much of the marketing process you can automate with a little bit of preparation. 

We’re currently using Zoho Marketing hub to capture leads, add them to marketing lists and send them off on nurturing journeys which finally deliver marketing qualified leads directly into our CRM for the sales team to follow up on. 

Another area where you can get an easy win is an intelligent chat bot. Having a chat bot on your website can help answer queries and direct people to information on your website without your ‘human’ resources needing to do anything – and only when the chat bot can’t help, will your representatives get involved in the case. 

So as you can see – there are a lot of ways that your business can tighten its belt by making the most of your technology and looking at ways that you can cut back and make efficiency savings. 

The steps that you take now while you’re got time to prepare for the UK’s shrinking economy will be vitally important to your long term success.

However you decide to approach the question of ‘how can our business cut costs?’ – don’t delay and consider looking at your technology as soon as possible. 

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