There are many qualitative factors that, despite being difficult to measure with numbers, can hold a powerful influence over a business and its profits, including:
A business’ or company’s brand makes it stand out, whether that is through a creative visual design, a defining ideology or a mix of both. The decisions a business makes influence their reputation to the public and their target audience as a business or organization. Making decisions that reflect positively on a brand can increase trust in its products or services and promote growth. An organization that updates its visual style, for example, might find that customers feel a renewed sense of confidence and trust in their product as a result.
Employee morale describes the overall outlook of employees on their workplace. Depending on the level of employee morale in a job, their productivity may fluctuate, which influences overall output and performance. Morale is higher when employees feel encouraged and motivated at work, leading to higher productivity and better work performance.
For example, if you are considering expanding your office space, it may seem intuitive to go with the most economically efficient plan available. However, considering the needs of the employees and catering some of your decisions to what will boost their morale may ultimately have a more positive influence on productivity.
The quality of a product reflects the materials a business has chosen to work with and the creative process that goes into the final product. The higher the quality a product is, the more likely it is to draw the attention of potential customers. Considering the quality of the materials you are purchasing—and the desired quality of the finished product—can help you make decisions that are in the best interest of the business and its expected revenue.
A shoe seller looking for new leather, for example, might have to decide between a higher-quality leather that’s more expensive or lower-quality leather that’s cheaper. Choosing the higher-quality leather makes their shoes stronger and sturdier, which can increase sales and stimulating interest in their product.
Customer satisfaction is the overall fulfillment customers feel about a product or service. The opinion of the customer—and the ability to keep them interested in a product—can have a positive influence on a business’s or organization’s longevity and sales. The more a business can satisfy its customers’ needs, the more likely they are to return for the product or service in the future and feel loyal to what they are producing.
Implementing programs targeted at improving the customer’s experience, whether it is through an expanded customer support team or a new rewards program that promotes brand loyalty, can inspire customers to feel more connected and satisfied with a company or product, and therefore, can help boost sales.
Because investors are some of the most influential stakeholders maintaining a business, their opinions regarding the business or product can help guide the direction the organization grows in. Who they are, what their business background is, and how they feel about business decisions can influence the direction the organization grows in.
For example, if the business is looking to expand into new markets, they can focus on markets investors would be more receptive toward, which can increase their satisfaction and loyalty.
A product or service that has a competitive advantage has differentiated itself in its industry and is more appealing to consumers. Acclimating to new technologies and embracing changes for a product can increase a company’s competitive advantage in the marketplace and allure new customers.
Keeping a product modern helps it stand out as a unique product or service consumers’ needs. For example, a dry cleaning business might decide to create an online application that helps customers keep track of their clothing and provide alerts and notifications for pick up, increasing both comfort and convenience. This gives the dry cleaning business a competitive advantage that they would not have had otherwise, and their business is likely to see growth.
Depending on where the business is located, what the business does and how it operates, the impact of individual choices on the surrounding community can influence their perception of the organization and its reputation as a whole. How individual decisions reflect on the business’ or organization’s community can help employees make the most beneficial positions with regard to local operations and find ways to serve the community.
For example, an organization may allow employees to devote time to take part in volunteer efforts within the community. This can have an increasingly positive impact by demonstrating a business’s commitment and encouraging community members to learn more about what it is it does.
Depending on the structure of the organization, management teams are likely to be very influential in their relationships with other employees and customers. Maintaining a healthy relationship between management and employees as well as between management and consumers can help make sure that the target demographic trusts company leadership just as much as they trust the company’s product or service.
A business with a stable leadership team, for example, may find that changes in internal policy are easier to make because of the trust that they have established. Keeping these factors in mind when making business decisions can lead to positive changes for the business.
The relationships you foster with other businesses, vendors or stakeholders can strengthen a company’s professional network and raise its reputation among like-minded individuals. The influence of a manager’s or executive’s decisions on their professional relationships can guide the decisions they make and boost the business’ growth in the long term.
For example, a small business owner who primarily sells their products at a farmers market may find that maintaining positive relationships with other vendors strengthens their business and visibility. This can influence them to continue to focus their efforts on selling in that area and therefore strengthen those relationships, leading to other opportunities with those professional contacts as time goes on.
Prioritizing relevance helps keep a company and product or service in the minds of its consumers. Maintaining relevance can also help you firmly establish a product or service among the target audience, leading to consumers reliably going to that business whenever they need a particular product or service.
A business that regularly updates their advertising materials, for example, may find that their outreach is consistent with any new products, therefore increasing their relevance and establishing their worth.
Qualitative vs. quantitative factors
Quantitative and qualitative factors are both used to analyze the risks associated with business decisions and are influential for predicting and analyzing a business’s growth. However, there are a few key differences between the two.
Qualitative factors are those that data cannot easily quantify or measure. These factors rely on subjective knowledge that comes with understanding the ins and outs of a business and how outside variables can affect them.
Quantitative factors, such as a cost-benefit or trend analysis, provide quantifiable evidence to guide managerial accountants in developing their strategy. These methods rely on hard data and formulaic equations in order to calculate the many ways in which a business decision can be profitable.