Have you set your New Year’s resolutions for 2016?

The New Year brings fresh starts, new opportunities and a chance to improve on the year just passed. Now is the time to set goals and put milestones in place – not only in your personal life, but in business too.

As a business owner, it’s an opportunity to set the bar high for the year ahead, create confidence in yourself and your workforce, and grow a healthy and successful business.

At Tungsten we work with businesses of all sizes. Talking daily to our customers for over 15 years, we have come to know their needs, successes and obstacles. Based on the experiences of customers on the Tungsten Network, we have created the following list of New Year’s resolutions that can help you avoid some of the pitfalls of business and provide you with a catalyst for growth.

  1. Build stronger relationships with your customers

Understanding your customers’ specific needs is integral for strengthening relationships with them. Do you know what their pain points are? It could be the price of a product or service, the speed of transaction, time spent on paperwork and chasing payments, or managing cashflow through the procure-to-pay timeline.

Automated end-to-end business processes, such as those enabled by electronic invoicing technology, can considerably mitigate the above issues and make it a lot easier to do business.

  1. Implement systems that detect issues in real time

Being able to quickly detect issues and discrepancies before they develop into something nastier will help keep cash flowing smoothly, increase efficiencies and reduce stress. E-invoicing technology immediately identifies when an invoice is rejected, and why, meaning payment issues can be nipped in the bud. Furthermore, e-invoicing opens the door to other complimentary technologies, such as spend analysis, which shows large organisations what they’re spending, who is spending it, and who they’re spending it with – at the mere click of a button.

By analysing spend in real-time, rather than learning from hindsight, you can act quicker and avoid wasting time and money. As biologist Edward Wilson once said; “We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom”. Are you harnessing IT and analytics in your business to unlock your company’s true potential in 2016?

  1. Identify areas that are slowing down your business

What areas are causing your business reduced output and in turn, reduced input? For many businesses, paperwork ensuing from accounts payable/receivable and various regulatory requirements (tax-related issues invariably present a pain in the proverbial), often cause bottlenecks. And time spent creating, recreating, chasing and filing paperwork is time – and money – lost.

Wading through complex, ever-changing legislative requirements is a burden, even if you’re only operating in one country. If you are transacting in multiple countries, you may need an entire team to manage it effectively. Unless, that is, you’re working with a provider like Tungsten who takes on the bureaucratic burden of cross-border VAT for you and makes dealing with local and international tax compliance a relative breeze.

We partner with organisations like PwC and TrustWeaver to help our customers adhere to regulatory requirements around the world. In fact TrustWeaver, a leading provider of cloud-based document compliance solutions, recently awarded Tungsten Network with the first ever TrustWeaver-verified Trust Mark for meeting the very highest standards of compliance.

Moving to automated processes can seem daunting or time-consuming in itself, especially for small businesses, yet it’s a misconception that it’s easier to stick to the manual processes your staff already know. We live in a digital world, and failure to innovate with new user-friendly technologies means you’re missing out on huge opportunities for growth.

  1. Seamlessly manage cash flow

It’s not easy to manage cash flow when faced with inevitable late payments, stock delays, long payment terms, and so on.

There are options available to you that can help ease cash flow pressures all year round. With e-invoicing you can see when your invoices are due for payment, and if they’re a long way off you can take 100% of the invoice payment when you need it, minus a small transparent fee. What’s more you can plan when you take the money and fit it into your calendar so there’s cash available when it suits you.

  1. Sustainability

It’s becoming increasingly important for companies large or small to walk the walk when it comes to corporate social responsibility (CSR), and adopt sustainable environmental and social practices that make a tangible difference. The importance is even greater following the landmark climate change agreement reached in Paris earlier this month, which saw representatives from around 200 countries agree to lower greenhouse gas emissions. This of course requires action from the private sector.

What can your business do better to reduce its ecological footprint on the planet, benefit the wider society, and improve the happiness of your employees? Factoring this into your New Year’s resolutions will elevate your business beyond your product offering and into a company that customers love to work with and employees love to work for.

Switching from paper invoicing to e-invoicing helps save finite resources. Tungsten has helped companies save over 30,000 trees so far – check out our fun and informative ‘Green calculator’ on our Benefits of E-invoicing microsite to see how much of the planet your business could save.

And happiness of employees may mean looking into their daily working lives to see what obstacles they have to overcome to do their job effectively. How can you make your processes more effective in order to make your employees more productive?

We hope that your 2016 builds on the successes of the previous year, and that you equip yourselves to make the most of the opportunities that come your way. Whether you focus on knowing your customers better, automating your processes, improving your cash flow, analysing your spend or keeping your employees happy (or all of the above!), we wish you all the best with your New Year’s resolutions for 2016.

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