Consolidation in business is typically used to refer to the process of two or more companies coming together to form one bigger entity. The reason this is so common is because a consolidated business entity typically has greater leverage among customers and often operates at a lower level of competition; thus improving its margins and thereby its bottomline.
For example, when Facebook acquired social media properties like Instagram and Whatsapp, not only did the company hedge its bet on these fast growing properties, it also consolidated its position against advertisers for the lucrative social media advertising real estate space. But this is not the only way to consolidate. Businesses can seek a lot of productivity improvement by consolidating every bit of its operations.
Here are a few examples of how this can be achieved.
The biggest time sink in any business activity is the lack of coordination between various members performing similar operations. In most cases, the loss in productivity is higher in operations that are repeatable and mundane. Take the case of a simple activity like sharing your blog posts across various social media profiles – in most cases, this activity is repeatable and there is a productivity loss due to the need to log in and out of various social media accounts. Automating these tasks can reduce the repeatability of tasks and improve productivity substantially. You can also similarly automate your email and other aspects of your marketing efforts.
In other instances, productivity losses happen due to the lack of concerted coordination between various teams that produce creatives and publish them. In one study, a small social media agency was able to save over 30 hours each month by consolidating all these processes under one social media application. Doing so enables businesses to focus on higher value adding tasks that, in turn, improve the profitability of the organization.
Setting up your office infrastructure can contribute to a lot of overhead that need to be constantly scaled up, especially in your early years of business. This can bring your profitability down quite significantly since adding and removing infrastructure tools can be expensive. Consolidating these tools and applications can be extremely vital in bringing down overhead and increasing profitability.
One way to consolidate these expenses is by moving to the cloud. Cloud telephony and unified communication tools allow businesses to conduct all kinds of real-time and non-real-time communication over a single platform. Also, since everything is over the cloud, it is easy to scale up or down as demand changes.
In addition to consolidating your physical infrastructure, it also makes sense to look at consolidating your software apps and applications. This is especially useful when you have a distributed workforce working on different markets – consolidating your documents and spreadsheets from these various markets help you with a bird’s eye view of your operations that is important for taking strategic business calls. Consolidating your infrastructure and apps also has other advantages like enabling seamless analytics and automation for your sales force and marketing teams. This helps teams further optimize their communication strategies leading to further profitability.
Consolidating your marketing strategy
This is perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of business consolidation. While it is extremely common among large businesses with separate teams handling various aspects of marketing like ATL, BTL, digital media and the likes, it is not uncommon among small businesses either. Businesses tend to run different campaigns over different platforms with the underlying assumption that campaigns that work in one medium may not work in another. For example, businesses may create an explainer video for their business to be promoted solely from the landing page and may not exploit the content they have created from other channels like their Instagram page or Facebook Page.
However, consolidating your campaigns serves you with two distinct benefits. Firstly, it allows you to form core marketing objectives that can then be steered through campaigns across different platforms. In consequence, this strategy also allows you to measure your results more definitively. Executing multiple campaigns across different mediums can confuse visitors and prevent them from absorbing your marketing message effectively.
External consolidation factors
While the strategies mentioned above primarily discuss methods to consolidate from within the organization, there are other factors that are externally driven and can bring about improvements in business productivity. In the UK, for example, there is a concerted movement towards consolidating tax on small businesses with revenues under £1 million. The objective is to simplify the tax processes and make them more taxpayer-friendly.
The demand for consolidating tax payment is so high that according to one survey, over a quarter of small business owners expressed an interest to move towards the Simple Consolidated Tax (SCT) regimen even if it meant they would pay more tax than at present. What businesses lose in tax revenues could be more than made up by the efficiency gains made from moving towards a simpler tax regime.
Consolidating business processes and tools play a big role in making operations more streamlined and efficient. Is there a consolidation element we have missed in this article? Share your thoughts in the comments.