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How to cut cost amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

An increase in expenses followed by a decrease in income calls for a serious cost reduction.

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When people say ‘unforeseen circumstances,’ nobody ever imagined an unforeseen circumstance would be as huge as the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic brought with it, a lot of unimaginable and unexpected changes, especially to the economy; the Covid-19 pandemic has had a great toll on the world’s economy. While some industries like the; gaming, media, and healthcare industries are thriving during the Covid-19 pandemic, some companies are experiencing a huge decline that would make them resort to cutting cost.

An increase in expenses followed by a decrease in income, calls for a serious cost reduction. Companies that want to stay in business and want to have saved enough for post-pandemic have to strategically cut costs. It is not as easy as it sounds because cutting costs means stepping on some toes but it is the most logical thing for all businesses to do.

Below are some ways you can cut costs amidst the pandemic:

Get cost-cutting ideas from your employees 

The first and most important thing to do is get ideas from your employees on how to cut cost. Doing this will make them understand that the company cares for them and is interested in their opinion. Many of them might end up volunteering for a pay cut or unpaid leave because you have put them in a situation where they can empathize with the company. At this point, they won’t have any problem with the decisions you make even if it is going to affect them at the end of the day.

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Partner with other businesses that are not competitions 

If you have a small and growing business that might be significantly affected by the pandemic, you can partner with another business that is not a competition. For instance, you can share your workspace, internet, equipment and other essential things with another company to reduce rent and other costs. If the system works for you, you can continue with the arrangement post-pandemic.

Cut non-essential spendings

Cut all spendings that don’t contribute to the growth of your business directly. Apply the rule – “if we can do without it, we don’t need it” – to your business.

Try alternative and cheaper ways of operating

Businesses can cut back on expensive tools or methods of operating. For instance, if your business relies on marketing, you can try affordable marketing strategies that won’t cost you a fortune and would still help you to remain visible in the business world. Covid-19 has proven that email marketing and social media are effective marketing tools, and many businesses should adopt these tools to remain relevant in their industries. You can also replace other expensive methods of operation with cheaper ones.

Reduce payroll expenses

A company’s payroll makes up to 15 to 30 per cent of their gross revenue. According to Secondwind Consultants, businesses fail when their payroll exceeds 30% of their gross revenue. Businesses can cut payroll expenses by cutting some bonuses, compensations and incentives enjoyed by the employees. Companies can also introduce remote working, part-time work or limited days to reduce pay. These measures, as unpleasant as they might be for the employees, are good ways for businesses to remain strong amidst the pandemic.

Renegotiate fixed fees

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The pandemic has forced many to be considerate and understanding, therefore, business owners should seize the opportunity to renegotiate some fixed fees like rent and subscriptions. While renegotiating might be favourable for some, it might not yield any result for others. However, it won’t cost you anything to hope and see if you can reduce cost through this method.

Establish a hiring freeze

If you are not in the health care industry and other thriving industries, the last thing you need in your company during the pandemic is a new workforce. Companies can encourage and train their employees to take on other roles pending the time things go back to ‘normal.’

Reduce the company’s workforce

As heartbreaking as this might sound, to cut cost, some companies may have to lay off or terminate some of their employees. However, this should be the last option for any company looking to cut cost.

This period is not the time for businesses and their employees to live in luxury. It is the time to get rid of the non-essential and unimportant things companies invest their money in. What all businesses should strive for at this stage is; coming out of the pandemic strong, if possible, stronger than they were.

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Personal Finance

Up for a raise? Use these 5 strategies to make it happen

To avoid appearing selfish or materialistic, here are five strategies to employ when demanding a raise.

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Investment options for salary earners - bank loan

Requesting a raise is an important conversation that you should have with your employer, particularly if you believe your salary does not measure up with the value you bring to the company or the duties for which you are assigned.

In a bid to avoid appearing selfish or materialistic, many people shy away from this. They continue to expect the day the company will announce a raise or promotion for the employees. Although in some workplaces this sometimes plays out as expected, many other businesses seldom revisit the salary specifics and performance evaluation document of their employee to evaluate and conduct a correlation in order to make recommendations for a raise to those who merit it.

Demanding a raise does not entail asking for a favor from the company, it simply means asking for suitable market value for your job roles and responsibilities. In as much as this might be the right of an employee, it is necessary to know how to go about it appropriately in order to achieve a favorable outcome.

Here are five strategies to employ when demanding a raise:

1.  Evaluate your contributions and performance

To ask for a raise, you need to have a well-grounded knowledge of the positive contributions you have made to the company. Create a list or record of your discharge obligations or duties, as well as significant achievements that you made on the job. This will give you insight as to the value you bring to the company and what you get in return. Evaluating your results will provide you with a sound understanding of your efforts, achievements, and will also increase your confidence to demand a pay raise. This will help your boss realize that you know your worth.

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(READ MORE:Banks push customers towards self service in the “new normal”)

2.  Boost your negotiation power

Negotiation is the process of reaching a fair agreement for the parties involved by means of meaningful conversations. Most employees cower in the face of salary negotiation because of the impression this may create about them to their employers. Others who are brave enough to take the step lack the skillfulness to achieve or reach a handy result.

Negotiation is an art that should be learnt. Employees should improve on their negotiation skills if they intend to get a fair bargain for their efforts. One of the negotiation techniques that can be incorporated when asking for a raise in pay is to layout specific options from which the employer is to choose. This will offer both parties substantial choices to make a decision from.

3.  Right timing matters

There is a time for everything. As cliché as this may sound, it is a fact you should accept and work with. You have to assess the company’s financial position to ascertain if asking for a raise will be feasible. When this is done, you can proceed to arrange a meeting to discuss it with your employer. Find out from your employer when it is convenient to discuss issues of concern that you have.

4.  Present cogent reasons

When demanding a raise, one of the strategies to achieve this is to tender reports or proof of your achievements or efforts that have contributed to the development of the company in some way. You can request for a raise on the grounds of the length of service, duties, or performance. Your motives should reflect the principles of the company and they should be objectively stated.

(READ MORE: Nigerians will now pay N50 stamp duty on electronic receipts – FIRS)

5.  Express gratitude

Appreciate the employer for the ability to work for the company and show a sense of appreciation for their service. Let the employer know that your demand for a raise does not mean that you are dissatisfied with the employer or the work, but rather that it is a request for what suits the specified roles you play.

For a variety of reasons, many organizations give an employee a raise based on different factors that range from efficiency, motivation, length of service, promotion, and a few other factors. If you are assured that you have fulfilled the requirements for a raise, the methods mentioned can be used to improve the chances of having a raise.

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Personal Finance

Personal Finance Culture: The 4 Cs of Financial Success 

To achieve financial success, the 4Cs will be of great help.

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Borrowing money, Personal Finance Culture: The 4 C’s of Financial Success 

Many Nigerians who had a pseudo-confidence in their financial stability, were rocked by the storms of the economic hardship that followed the COVID-19 pandemicSome did not survive it, while those who did, now seek ways to be better financially equipped for future eventualities. 

It’s six (6) months since the COVID-19 outbreak was officially declared a global pandemic by the World Health  Organization (WHO) on March 11th, 2020With the full enormity of the pandemic in mind, we cannot come out of this without noting its attendant life lessons. Interestingly, some of those lessons correlate with principles that can enhance your personal financeon your journey to financial freedom.  

READ: Emirates Airlines banned from operating in Nigeria

Financial freedom does not happen overnight, as it results from self-discipline and good money habits practised consistently over time. 

To help you on your journey, I have come up with the 4Cs. To achieve financial success, you must be; 

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  1. Creative – Find creative ways to earn more money. Having more than one source of income is a good way to increase your financial security. I’m sure the people who lost their jobs or took a pay cut during the pandemic will agree with me.
  2. Conservative – Be conservative with your expenses, and make sure to spend less than you earn. You can actually save more if you stick to a budget. It is okay to occasionally reward yourselfand enjoy the finer things of life. But that should also be on budget. 
  3. Consistent – Form the habit of saving and investing part of your income. As far as savings go, you need to have at least 3 months’ worth of living expenses, stashed away in liquid assets – Emergency funding, to cushion the impact of job loss, unplanned medical expenses, and other emergencies. It also applies to small businesses – many SMEs without any financial buffer felt the impact of the lockdown from Day 1. Investing, on the other hand, is the only way you can grow your money. You should take it seriously; develop the right mindset, become financially intelligent, and seek expert advice before taking a step. 
  4. Careful – Be careful who you listen to. Not every investment advice is good for you, and you should do your due diligence before releasing your money. 

READ: Effective financial planning after taking a pay cut in Nigeria

So, will you be making any changes to your money management style? What did you wish you learnt about money pre-COVID-19? 

Importantly, we are not out of the woods yet. The virus is still out there, and you should stay safe, as Health is Wealth. 


 

 Temitope Busari, CFA 

Temitope is an Investment Professional, with over 11 years of cognate experience spanning regional financial markets across Sub-Saharan Africa. Her technical skills cut across Treasury, Risk management, Fintech solutions, and Strategy. With a passion for positive social impact, she leverages multiple media platforms to advance financial literacy efforts, helping individuals and small businesses make better money decisions. 

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Personal Finance

Budgeting apps that help you manage your personal finance

In today’s world, these apps make it easy to effortlessly manage your finances.

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Money apps for professionals

In our fast-paced lives and rapidly evolving world, technology makes it possible to get things done in a more convenient manner, saving time, energy, and other resources. Personal budgeting should be a daily routine and somewhat a habit in our lives, unfortunately, not many people pay attention to this.

The tech world has taken notice and provided us with ways to manage our finances with convenience and ease through mobile apps development.

Life is good when you are on top of your money and ahead of your expenses; these apps make it easy to effortlessly manage your finances.

READ: How hackers break into your WhatsApp account, and how to avoid them

1. GoodBudget: This budgeting app uses the shared envelope-budgeting principle. With its virtual tracking program, it makes it possible to not only, keep up with friends and family by syncing shares and budget, but also lets you save for big expenses and pay off debt. With a friendly user interface, the app makes it easy to categorically differentiate your regular monthly expenses from annual savings goals and irregular expenses. It is important to note that this particular app doesn’t sync transactions with your financial institutions, so for every amount that comes in or goes out, you’d have to manually enter the transactions. Another incentive this app offers is that it provides customisable reports for you to keep track of budget trends, offers helpful tips on how to create a budget and get ahead of your expenses. Works on android and iOS devices.

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2. Piggyvest uses the traditional, simple saving idea of a piggybank, also locally known as ‘kolo ’. It presents you with the opportunity to use the ‘piggybank’ feature to reach personal savings goals more quickly. There are several other features for various purposes such as ‘Target Savings’ which helps you save for multiple goals like holidays, fees, and special events, ‘SafeLock’ which secures your funds by locking it until your pre-selected, this helps avoid impulsive spending. There is also the opportunity to partake in investments by investing in little bits that one can afford whilst still enjoying the same rate of return as a well co-investment option. Every option is vetted and secured by Piggyvest and you can easily monitor the progress of your investments. This is a Nigerian based app and accepts all Nigerian debit cards.

READ: What Nigerian banks consider before granting personal loans

3. YNAB short for, You Need a Budget, is a personal finance help app that teaches you how to manage your money. The general principle is to ‘give every dollar a job’. For a dollar saved, it is saved for a particular purpose which could be long term or short term. It strives to eliminate the common trap of living paycheck-to-paycheck. One of the pros of this software is that it displays the user’s financial reports and syncs transactions so that users can seamlessly categorise their finances at a glance. It has a more proactive rather than reactive approach to budgeting. For every dollar you’re expected to earn, work is assigned to it, that is, to either spend or save. With over a million downloads, it’s gained popularity with its educational and philosophical approach to financial management.
Works for both android and iOS devices.

4. Carbon: If you have ever been caught in a predicament where you needed just a small amount of cash to solve an emergency, but you probably thought it was not possible to access loans in such a short period of time, you’ll really love this bit of good news. There’s a mobile app that you can use to get that ‘small cash’ without stress and have the money deposited directly to your account in 24hours or less. That app is called Carbon. Formerly known as Paylater, this is a personal finance and loan service app that helps you make all sorts of bill payments and money transfer with ease. It is built to help users understand their spending habits and learn how to categorise income and expenses to have full control over their finances. With this app, you can get a short-term loan amount as low as #10,000 and as high as #500,000. In addition to making it easy to recharge your phone, transfer money and have access to short-term loans, it also provides users with the option to invest using Payvest and earn up to 16% per annum. Available on Google Playstore.

READ: Zoom reports a surge in profit of 3,300%

5. Expensify: This mobile and web-based application is developed from the world-leading expense management company of the same name. It was originally developed to make it bearable for anyone to analyse expense reports. It is a software that allows individuals and businesses to track and file expenses such as fuel, travels, etc. Just by snapping receipts of transactions, the software uses artificial intelligence to identify the details of the transaction and automatically categorise and save the expense. It also allows users to download these reports based on user transactions. The product offers two payment options for individuals and organisations; for either annual subscriptions or pay per use charge. One of the pros of this particular app is that you can easily convert currencies for international travel. It is compatible with android and iOS devices.

6. PocketGuard: This is a personal finance help tool that makes for a more simplified budgeting snapshot. It helps you manage your disposable income, bills, and subscriptions. While some other personal finance apps try to provide you with tools to discipline your saving and spending habit, PocketGuard simply shows you what you have available for daily spending. The software is built to help you manage your everyday spending after your regular bills and subscriptions have been paid. Upon sign up, the app syncs with your financial accounts and helps you keep track of your account portfolio. Using it to pay for services helps you stay ahead and negotiate better rates. With AutoSave you can automatically grow your savings to the desired amount.

7. Financial Calculator: This app is handy for calculating the future value and present value of your financial assets. Some of its features help you to; perform financial calculations with ease and on the go, compare interest rates, compare lease and auto loans, determine how much time is needed for you to pay off debts, and to calculate the exact tip you should give for services rendered.

8. Unsplurge: We’ve all been there at one point or another, where we felt the need to splurge sometimes on impulse and give in to personal cravings. But then when the utility has declined you start regretting your impulsive spending and berate yourself for not being disciplined enough. Well, with Unsplurge, you have an opportunity to discipline yourself. It is built to encourage you to save money by working on your goals. There is no limit to the number of goals you can decide to save money for. You just log savings and monitor your progress. You can also get inspiration and encouragement from family and friends as they cheer you on and share their success stories as well. This app is built only for iPhones.

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Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data

9. Personal capital: This self-help tool basically offers two primary functionalities; a free personal money manager and a paid investment management service. The free function allows you to monitor your income, assets, expenses, and investments from a single portal, get investment advice on how to optimise and make more money, whereas the paid version which is also known as the Wealth Management program offers a more personalised portfolio management.

10. Mint: This is one of the most popular personal finance apps of all time. This app has been hailed for its easy-to-use programs and friendly user interface. With a sort of colour-coded system, it gives a more graphical display which helps users navigate the app seamlessly.

Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data

Also known as intuit mint and formerly mint.com. This personal finance management app allows users to track bank, credit card, investment, loan balances, and a number of other transactions through a single user interface. One of the pros of this app is that it automatically syncs with your financial institutions to track user bills and gives constant alerts to ensure you keep up with payments. Based on financial data and transactions, its features allow users to create categories, track budgets, and set financial goals. It promotes savings by recommending credit card deals and insurance. The software is said to be securely protected, using a number of financial institution level security and high-level encryption. It was originally designed for iOS but an android version has been made available in recent years.

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