Now into the second quarter of 2019, businesses are looking at the successes of Q1 and evaluating what worked and what might need some redirection to gear up for the second half of the year. While you’re evaluating, it’s smart to consider the factors and challenges that are impacting today’s economy. Five key areas for this year include: the economy and funding, healthcare costs, engaging employees in payroll and tax changes, scaling for growth, and harnessing the power of integrated technology.
1. Build strong foundations to attract funding
The economy grew at a 3.5 percent annual growth rate in the third quarter of 2018, presenting businesses with mixed feelings. On one hand, it’s a drop from the 4.2 percent growth rate in the second quarter. On the other hand, it keeps the economy on track toward the administration’s 3 percent annual growth target.
At the same time, business investment also grew by 0.8 percent in the third quarter after an 8.7 percent gain in the previous quarter. Spending on new structures fell by almost 8 percent after increasing by 14.5 percent in the previous period.
As expected, the mix of positive and negative indications set up some fairly mixed feelings for 2019. Some experts saw this as a catalyst for global growth, while others believe that growth will plummet over the next two years. Still, the fundamentals don’t change: Investors will still invest in businesses with strong growth track records or business offerings.
2. The right technology can reduce healthcare costs
Both medium and large sized-businesses are turning to expanded telehealth options and technology to reduce overall healthcare expenses. Other employers are controlling costs by shifting more of the cost of healthcare to their employees through higher co-payments and deductibles or less attractive plans.
Consider working with your insurance providers to offer more choices and easier-to-understand healthcare options delivered through user-friendly online platforms instead of actual doctor visits. Technology can also help target employees with specific unhealthy behaviors or health issues to offer more directive services. This cuts down on trips to the hospital and contributes to an overall lowered cost of care.
3. Enhanced self-service tools educate and engage employees
Starting January 1, 2019, the maximum earnings subject to the Social Security payroll tax increased by $4,500 to $132,900—up from last year’s $128,400 maximum. Employees whose compensation exceeds the current $128,400 maximum will see a decrease in their net take-home pay if they didn’t receive an annual raise that made up for the increased payroll tax. Other employees may decide to change their exemptions based on the results of the new 2018 income tax laws.
Find ways to use data technology to both educate and engage employees on payroll tax activities. Data intelligence has added new layers of self-service that allows companies to better communicate payroll tax updates in an easy-to-understand way.
4. Automation and real-time data drives growth
Rapid business growth comes with both profit and challenges, such as the efficient use of staff, scaling business systems, and processing and using data. Review your processes and technology to uncover key wins through change. You need to do what is right not only for right now, but for the future, and building in scalability is key. Don’t get chained down by old technology and miss out on business growth because of it.
Putting structures and processes in place now can save effort later. Key areas to focus optimization efforts on include:
- Automating manual processes: Make better use of your people by reducing their workload and offloading the trivial repetitive tasks, freeing up their time and creativity for tasks that continue to grow the business.
- Data analytics and intelligence: Ensure that everyone not only sees the data they need when they need it, but also that the data is “live,” reflective of what’s going on right now. This allows a predictive approach to opportunities and problems.
- Improving accessibility: Make sure data is shared across departments and available to all 24/7, across all kinds of technologies.
- Integrating technology: Ensure the systems you set up today can be integrated with third-party solutions in the future, and that they can easily integrate with your customer and vendor systems, too.
5. Integrate technology for agility and flexibility
With so many business solutions available, it can be difficult to decide where to invest and how to prioritize. Again, the most effective strategy when managing new technology is to employ an integrated solution. Benefits of integrated technology include best-of-breed IT solutions, single views of disparate databases and applications available on one platform and added flexibility to meet business goals.
All of these can save time for business leaders and their teams as they bring the right technologies into play to solve specific problems.
PositiveVision Integrates ERP, CRM and More
Two of the most obvious places to start integration are customer relationship management (CRM) tools and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Both of these solutions are effective for breaking down information silos across your business. And both play important roles in building an effective software stack for integrating accounting and inventory management. Finding a CRM and ERP that play well with each other positions you for even greater success.
Whether you’re looking to add CRM, ERP, or both to build your integration, PositiveVision can help you find the right solution—or combination thereof—to position your business for the best possible success in 2019 and beyond. As your long-term partner, we’ll invest in your business performance success so that you’re productive, competitive, and profitable. Find out how we can help you position for your best success today.