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Hotel White Paper

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If you’re reading this, then it’s safe to say that you’ve done alright with hotel asset management through the years. As the hospitality industry ushers in a predictable era of decelerating revenue increases, you understand that increasing net operating income (NOI) is the only surefire way to fight a flat-lining RevPAR and enhance asset values. But even the best players can’t win it all by themselves. There’s NOI in team. The harsh reality is that there are hidden expenses within all property management operating costs that can be reduced if organizations could only put the right people on the sidelines.

SIB has recently released a whitepaper exploring some of the common hurdles and solutions to effective hotel asset management. Download today. (more…)

Maximize Savings on Fixed and Recurring Costs

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original-max-savings-fixed-recurring-costsThere is hardly a company in the world that isn’t under continuous pressure to reduce or minimize costs while simultaneously striving for growth. Executives feel it. Purchasing departments feel it. Managers and even entry-level staff can feel it.  The continual drive to do more with less has resulted in various techniques that look like good solutions, but they can be very difficult to accomplish, and at best only deliver a fraction of what a company’s total savings could be.

SIB has recently release a whitepaper exploring some of the common hurdles all companies face when trying to reduce unmanaged spend, providing unique solutions on how to get the job done more effectively. Download today! (more…)

Unnecessary Business Expenses

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business expenses

You look at your balance sheet, ready to tear out your hair.

“Where is all of this money even going?”

It’s one of the most common questions for a businessperson who needs to slash costs and steer their enterprise back towards profitability. And if you find yourself wondering the same, it may be time to break down your expenses down by individual costs—and maybe uncover some costs you haven’t heard of in the process. Here are some of the most common unknown costs when we work with companies:

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Company Checklist to Save Money on Fixed Costs

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checklist for cutting costs

There’s an old maxim in sales: “everything in life is negotiable.” Yet when business owners pair that concept with a phrase like “fixed costs,” it sounds like pitting an unstoppable force against an immoveable object.

Fortunately for businesses that have seen their fixed costs inflate over the years, not all costs have to be so darn stubborn.

One of the key steps of working with SIB Development is when we come in to review your fixed costs. Although we recognize that some expenses are simply part of doing business, we also adopt the attitude that even the most immovable of fixed costs can at least be reviewed. If you don’t want to leave any stone unturned in your company’s books, then go through this checklist for saving money on your fixed costs:

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How Businesses Lose Money

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businesses losing money

If someone reached into your pocket, took out a wad of $20 bills, and ran away, you’d appropriately take immediate action and call the police.

But what about the money your business loses every day?

Sure, you can’t exactly call the police due to your business expenses, but these costs can represent bigger losses than mere increments of $20. For some businesses, hidden costs can be the difference between red and black ink. And if you know where to look for these hidden costs, you can take the “immediate action” you’ve been lacking every day at your office. Let’s identify some of the most common hidden costs we come across at SIB Fixed Cost Reduction.

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Five Ways Businesses Can Reduce Their Expenses This Month

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“If I only had more money…”

Have you heard that before? It’s the refrain of the frustrated business owner. In fact, you might have told yourself as much when reviewing your monthly expenses, wondering where all of the charges could possibly be coming from. Then, with great pain, you write the checks, sign them, and spend another month wishing you could only earn more money.

But what if there was a simpler solution? What if you could simply reduce your expenses quickly?

We know: you have contracts and obligations, and lowering costs isn’t always so easy. But you’d be surprised at what you can do once you know the right ways to reduce expenses, including the following cost savings ideas for businesses:

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How a Business Expense Report Audit Can Save You Money

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cost reduction services

We’ll be the first to admit it: the word “audit” can be a little scary.

Fortunately, we’re talking about a business expense report audit: examining your outgoing money and bills to see where you can identify some savings and help improve your bottom line. There doesn’t have to be a single scary thing about it.

Still not convinced? Okay, fine: let’s look through some of the most common positive discoveries we make when we at SIB Development work with companies to examine how they can save money on their business expenses.

Billing Errors in Your Favor

Remember the card from Hasbro’s “Monopoly” that says “Bank error in your favor”? It’s always a pleasant surprise. When it comes to business expenses, you’d be amazed at how often we find billing errors that result in businesses paying more money than they have to.

The bigger the business, the more likely there are to be errors. Granted, if your business keeps its expenses simple and generally reviews them every month to make sure you’re being charged the correct amount, you’re less likely to find an error. But that’s why we at SIB Development don’t charge you a fee unless we help you find savings.

Identifying Unused Expenses

Sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with your bills: you’re just paying too many of them, at too high a cost. Identifying unused expenses is another discovery you can make when you give yourself an expense report audit because such an audit forces you to scrutinize your bills. Are you overpaying for the platforms you use? Are you spending too much on consultants when they have negotiable fees? If you start asking the right questions, you start to realize there are savings to be had almost everywhere.

Finding Services You No Longer Use

We at SIB Development look at a lot of expenses, including everything from conference calling software to copier and printer leases. As your business grows, so do its expenses—but that’s no guarantee of efficiency. The larger your business, the more likely it is that there are redundancies, unused subscriptions and fees, and some contracts you can opt out of that no longer help your company in the slightest. Finding services you no longer use is one potential way to ensure instant savings. The best part? There doesn’t need to be any effect to the way you handle business on a day-to-day basis.

Whether you’re looking to give yourself a telecom audit, a business expense report audit, or simply want to find some new cost reduction methods, you can work with SIB Development and let us find where the savings are—at no upfront risk to you. Simply get in contact with us to give yourself a business expense audit—we’ll gladly look at your bills and identify the areas where you can immediately start saving. And the best part: we don’t get paid with any upfront costs. Our top priority is to cut your business expenses and to save you money. We only make money when you save it.

PBX Maintenance Contracts: What they don’t want you to know

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Most organizations larger than a home office have some type of business phone system. A phone system is also referred to as a PBX. Because they can be costly items ranging from $2,000-$200,000, they are often sold with Maintenance Contracts. These are similar to “extended warranties”. Part of what a maintenance contract promises is not only free replacement of parts, but also no-cost labor for that repair. Sometimes a faster level of response time is guaranteed in the agreement too.

Pricing

Generally, the price of a maintenance contract is related to the number of “active ports” on a monthly basis. Active ports are another way of saying “the number of devices connected to your system”. A general rule-of-thumb in the industry is $2-$4 per active port every month. For large organizations with a few hundred phone sets, this monthly figure can reach nearly $1,000. And, for a small business, money is money and the smallest amount can seem like a big expense.

Big Profits

Maintenance contracts are big money-makers for the sales guys. The pricing is setup to highly favor the maintenance company over the long haul. Those who used to be in the PBX sales industry can tell you that it is openly discussed inside the office that a high-margin maintenance contract means big profits for the sales team. The percentage of commission is usually higher on a maintenance contact than on just the phone hardware.

Not a Necessity

It’s not a stretch to think of a PBX maintenance contact as an insurance policy. Many of us pay for homeowners’ insurance and never need to file a claim. So why do we do it? Peace of mind.

But, do you really need it? When your system is brand new, the likelihood of components failing is very low. Almost all new PBXs are covered by warranty for the first year. Any component that is faulty will usually show up in that first year anyway. Most of the time if a phone system is irreparably damaged by lightning, it is covered by business insurance policies.

Unless the maintenance is somehow inextricably tied to the initial sales price, they usually don’t make any economic sense for the first 5 years. However, after the five-year mark the chance of component failure begin to creep up. Heat, dust, and electrical irregularities begin to take a very slow toll on the electric systems and make them more fragile.

Usually, it is not necessary to purchase a maintenance contract on the day of installation. Many companies will be happy to sell you a maintenance contact on any existing system no matter how old. You are not obligated to get maintenance coverage from the company that sold the system either. Shop the competition. Ask them what they can do for you.

An Exception for Every Rule

There are some business managers who prefer the peace-of-mind knowing that they pay a flat fee every month and never have to worry about costly surprises. Moreover, a maintenance contract may need to be considered if your organization is vitally dependent on PBX uptime. In other words, if your whole money producing activities would grind to a halt when the phone system went down, then maybe the maintenance contract makes sense.

An Ounce of Prevention for a Pound of Cure

There are a few simple things you can do to protect your system that will help ensure long life use regardless of whether you choose a maintenance contract. HEAT and Lightning are the number one killers of any electronic system. Ensure that your system is installed in a location that is clean and cool. Also, inquire at the time of installation that there is surge protection on both the electricity supply and the phone lines connected to the system. Periodically check for dust build up on the cabinet’s vent holes. A quick vacuuming once every 6 months can make a big difference in the long run.

Conducting a DIY Telecom Pre-Audit

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Among people familiar with the Telecom industry, it is commonly believed that many phone bills contain errors. These errors usually favor the provider. Moreover, many mid to large sized businesses have services that are not being used.

Even if you agree with the above statement, the complexity of self-auditing the phone bill may seem a daunting task. In this article we look at some simple tools and techniques you can use to conduct a pre-audit of your telecom environment to see if there is a large discrepancy between what you think you owe versus what the phone company is billing you. At that point, you can decide if having a consultant or technician conduct formal audit is in your best interest.

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Telemarketing Self Defense

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We all know how annoying telemarketing calls are in our personal life.  They conveniently seem to come in the middle of the family dinner hour, or just continue calling incessantly throughout the day.  But moreover, the telemarketers are just as tenacious at disturbing us at work as well.

In fact, places of business are much larger targets for telemarketing calls because there are so many more opportunities to sell to a business. But all those unwanted calls waste valuable time, disrupt work flow.  And, since time equals money, they are wasting our money.

Therefore, practicing defensive measures to thwart telemarketers is a way of putting money back in your pocket.   (more…)

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