August 7, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Many races have begun since widespread shutdowns: The
August 7, 2020 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Many races have begun since widespread shutdowns: The race to create a vaccinel; the race to flatten the curve of positive infection cases; and of primary importance to businesses, the race to reestablishing flailing revenue streams.
Most businesses realize that climbing out of the latest recession is not going to be simple or fast. As McKinsey & Company figures suggest, organizations within some industry sectors may not return to their late 2019 GNP contributions for five years, if they can hold out.
Of course, holding out is what scrappy, disruptive, entrepreneurially minded innovators tend to do best, particularly when it comes to unearthing creative ways to steward resources. Still, money and time remain precious commodities. Resultantly, a significant number of companies have begun to painstakingly comb their ledgers looking for places to shave costs.
If your organization has begun trimming fat and making do, you may be tempted to get rid of existing subscription services. While halting certain subscriptions can make sense, think twice before turning away from all of them. The right subscription-based services can help you avoid paying more for the tools, convenience and quality you need to keep customers interested in your products and services.
How can you know which subscriptions are worth a second look versus a cancellation call? Use a simple checklist.
1. Does the subscription allow you to automate and outsource tasks?
Some subscriptions are backed by leading-edge software and AI, enabling you to automate processes and operations. The more automation you include in your business, the less time your workers have to spend on mundane, low-level jobs.
Take the concept of handling website URL redirects. “The process of redirecting URLs is full of pitfalls, even for experienced IT teams,” notes EasyRedir, a subscription-based URL redirection service. But quality redirection is important for user experience and SEO.
Automating and outsourcing URL redirection gives you the opportunity to avoid annoying user hiccups and lowered SEO ranking caused by bad links. It also creates a workable map for migrating your website when the time comes to upgrade or rebrand. Yet you never have to tap your team to get the work done, which means they can focus on other assignments.
2. Does the subscription fill some of your team’s knowledge gaps?
Every team has collective knowledge. Nevertheless, all businesses have certain knowledge gaps. In a more robust economy, you might choose to fill your gaps by onboarding personnel with specific skill sets, or bringing someone onto your team as needed from the burgeoning gig economy. Right now, subscription services can present meaningful, affordable ways to bridge where you are today and where you need to be tomorrow.
As an example, pretend your biggest gap right now is HR-related. You have very few protocols in place and are having trouble effectively training and monitoring employees. A product like BambooHR gives you the flexibility to operate on par with much bigger companies. Not only can you breathe life into your culture and utilize already constructed dashboards, but you can do it without adding more bulk to your payroll.
3. Will the subscription stand the test of time?
When you investigate subscription services for your company, you will notice that more options are popping up every day. Before committing to any, ask yourself whether the subscription is something you will need for at least a few months, if not longer. Like any other tool, an unused subscription sends money down the drain.
How will you know which subscription is future-proof, particularly in a volatile market that swings with every headline? Judge based on how you are working. For instance, have you moved to a hybrid model with more flexible work-from-home options? The demand for videoconferencing is unlikely to slow down amid worries about second viral waves, not to mention the need for scattered colleagues to connect face-to-face online.
4. Will everyone use the subscription?
A final consideration for anything you purchase at this stage, including subscriptions, is how useful the product will be. If it sits on the shelf like an unwanted birthday gift, it should not be included in your subscription possibilities.
Not sure about the viability of a subscription? Get feedback from team heads or, in the case of a small business, everyone on staff. You may also want to see if you can try a free trial of the subscription with limited bells and whistles for a month or longer. That way, you can test its applicability under real world conditions. You and a group of beta testers may even want to evaluate two similar free subscription services to see which one is the better fit.
Despite recent turmoil, commerce will continue. But your business has to make smart choices to stay at the front of the pack and not fall behind. Think beyond just slashing expenses, and figure out how to get more mileage from all the products and tools you use. Subscriptions may seem unnecessary at first blush, but the ones right for your company’s vision and goals could pay for themselves many times over.
This article is from Entrepreneur.com