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Five Worth-Watching Financial Strategy Trends for 2012

By Affiliate Carol Coughlin of Bottomline Growth Strategies

Trend #1: New Why’s and Ways of Outsourcing: What comes immediately to mind when you think about the benefits of outsourcing? If you’re like most business owners, “reduced costs” was likely your initial thought. While reduction in costs is a significant reason to consider outsourcing, we’re seeing another aspect of this strategy increase in importance for 2012: Outsourcing’s ability to support simpler, leaner and more efficient operations overall – with the least headache.Outsourcing is our topic for February, so stay tuned for much more next month.

Trend #2: Back to Basics. With the new economy and the “run lean” mindset it’s inspired, we’re seeing more business owners get back to the basics in terms of financial focus: Specifically, cost, revenue and efficiency. Though other aspects of financial strategy are also critical to growth, without the primary goal of decreasing the costs of doing business and increasing the ways and means by which revenue is generated (not to mention, constant vigilance against inefficiencies), for- and non-profit businesses alike do not stand a chance against lean-running competitors. Strategizing in just these three areas alone can make a monumental difference.

Trend #3: Grow When it’s Slow. Aggressively identifying and pursuing new growth opportunities is difficult in a down economy, right? WRONG! What’s interesting is that slow economic times actually making growing a company geographically or via new customer acquisition a little easier because there is much more opportunity or gaps in the marketplace in general. Because recovery has been slower than expected, the aggressive pursuit of new business may be an open door for exiting the downturn not simply stable, but stronger than ever.

Trend #4: Human Capital Gets (even more) Competitive. The battle for top talent has long been on our radar screens. In the coming year (with the new economy as the motivating factor), we’ll see an increase not only in the demand for top performers, but also in the pressure exerted on employees to perform better and faster. Employees able to bring innovation, as well as new ways of working more flexibly and quickly, will be an invaluable asset for keeping workforce costs low, revenue up and efficiency everywhere.

Trend #5: Customers Take Control. Marketing used to be a one-way communication channel. But today, customers have more ability to talk back (and to each other) than ever before. Without providing exceptional customer service and without deep listening, the reputation, and therefore, the bottom line of your business can be impacted beyond repair. Thinking of customer service as part of the revenue-building portion of financial strategy enables business owners to easily see the ROI on expenditures related to better customer contact, service protocols and monitoring.

These are our top five worth-watching trends for 2012 in terms of your organization’s financial strategy, and don’t forget to read the results of our What’s Trending for 2012 Survey.

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