In my article titled You Can Increase Your Profits Without Changing Your Prices, I ended with the following summary: If You Remember Nothing Else, Remember The Following: 1. One good way to maintain and/or significantly increase your profits without raising your prices, is to reduce your Variable Costs(VCs). 2. You can reduce your variable costs by marketing more efficiently (getting more customers at lesser cost, AND maintaining them at lower expense). I once read an article that proposed a new parameter COCS: Cost Of Customers Sold or Served). This could be adopted as a Key Performance Indicator(KPI). 3. You can also reduce your variable costs by innovating more(i.e. developing greater efficiency in your routine internal operations and/or product/service delivery). That way, you would be able to produce/deliver more products and/or services with less effort, in less time, and using less resources. All of these would imply LOWER expenses/costs, leading to INCREASED profit retention per unit of product/service sold. 4. There is saying that: "You cannot manage something, if you do not measure it. Nor can you measure it, if you do not record it". Spreadsheet tracking will help you conveniently implement and sustain the process of monitoring, controlling and/or reducing your VCs. You will need to do this so as to constantly evaluate progress of your VC monitoring/control and reduction initiatives.
In effect what I am saying is that companies which get the most value from spreadsheet automation(including using it to avoid expenditure on less adaptable commercial off the shelf applications) will be those which empower their users to routinely generate "in house" solutions. In such companies, you will find that only when the requirement becomes considerably specialised or complex, does the IT department get called upon to develop or purchase software solutions for user departments or functions with significant data recording and analysis needs.
Why Excel Visual Basic _ and NOT Visual Basic? I always answer this question by asking the following question: What would be the point of "Killing A Fly With A Hammer"? Let me elaborate. If a method is available that allows us to achieve the same desired result(s) at LOWER cost, with LESS effort and in LESS time, why should we fail to adopt it? Certain IT persons insist that developing executable applications using the standalone Visual Basic programming language is "better" as it does not limit the user to a particular user application software environment. I concede that this might be a valid point under certain conditions. However, I point out that there are many users who have peculiar needs that do not necessarily require complex solutions. A lot of people today simply want to get their data recording, (re)organisation, and analysis for decision making done quicker and with less effort. They also want to spend as little money as possible to do this. In other words, they want a cost_effective solution that gives them independence from the solution provider in the long term _ without requiring them to undertake laborious skills acquisition immediately. This category of everyday users of technology described above are the ones I believe need Excel VB solutions of the type I describe. One expects that some of these users will over time develop an interest in acquiring advanced skills needed to develop their own solutions in future _ which is why I also encourage them to do so, possibly via self_tutoring, like I did.
In addition, an Excel VB developer( who in many cases will tend to be a user turned developer, and is therefore likely to easily see things from your perspective) _ unlike a programmer _ is more likely to be positively disposed to working with you to ensure the application meets your practical needs. S/he will readily understand that the final application is meant to help solve a real problem(s), and will therefore build it to match those expectations.
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