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14 ways to bolster the bottom line when you’re in business

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14 ways to bolster the bottom line when you’re in business

There are very few successful entrepreneurs who’ve splashed the cash from day one – for most, the habits that have saved them money have been crucial stepping stones to success. If you’re looking at increasing that bottom line, there are a lot of belt-tightening exercises you can start today:

  1. Spending big money on advertising? Look for alternatives

Welcome to the digital revolution. Those expensive magazine or newspaper placements you like the look of – why not have a look at what your money will get you in digital or social media? Traditional marketing doesn’t focus down nearly as much as online – and if you’re paying by the click, then you’re only spending money on people who are keen.

  1. Outsource

Hang on – isn’t this about saving money? 100% – Why spend 5 valuable hours struggling over website copy when you can outsource on a site like People Per Hour for $50/£40? Put a value on your time, if you can bring more money in on a different task, then don’t waste money on something someone else can do.

  1. Why travel?

Do you really need to be at that board meeting? Could you be just as effective via a Facetime or Skype call? Not only do cab, train and fuel expenses add up – but think about your time. Is your 2 hours spent getting to and from a meeting the best use of your time? Or could that time be better spent elsewhere?

  1. Negotiate

If you’ve got great working relationships with suppliers and contractors, now’s the time to talk about discounts and loyalty perks. Use your repeat business as leverage – your suppliers are as keen to keep you as a customer as you are to keep yours. You won’t lose anything by trying – and if the answer is yes, you could make a significant dent in your expenditure.

  1. Network costs

Good old reliable IT system, it hasn’t let you down since day one. But are you ducking capital expenditure at the expensive of increased operation costs? Looking for ways to reduce costs across your network can be the gateway to huge savings. Start by looking at a guide like this one.

  1. Skills exchange

When the purse strings are extremely tight can you change your time into currency? If you provide a service that other businesses require, consider talking to them about an exchange of skills – would a day’s worth of marketing consultancy be worth a day of your time in the opposite direction? Once again, there’s no harm in asking the question – the savings could be huge.

  1. Stop buying reactively

Look at your company’s expenses and identify products that you buy reactively. That chances are, these are the items you’re paying big money to have delivered quickly or sourced by a middleman. You’ll be able to judge a buying schedule based on your pattern of purchasing up to this point – anticipate what you’ll need and look for the best possible prices to avoid being held to ransom.

  1. Market your area

If you’re in retail and struggling with footfall, talk to the businesses around you and see if a collaborative attempt to market your particular area is going to be beneficial across the board. If it is, you’ve immediately multiplied your marketing budget by however many businesses are interested in your venture. Street fairs, pop-up markets and local area business discounts are all popular methods of increasing footfall.

  1. Be open to open source

Whatever your business, you’re likely to have some IT requirement. You’re probably aware of the finest paid programmes to use for your invoicing, your design needs or other such tasks – but dig a little deeper and you’ll find some outstanding opensource programmes that are completely free to use. They don’t have the marketing budget that the big players do, but that doesn’t mean they’re not as good.

  1. Are your suppliers open to drop shipping?

If your order volumes are significant enough you’ll find there are many suppliers who are happy to white-label their products and ship directly to your customers. If you can safely eliminate a step in the process of getting your product to your customer then there’s money to be saved.

  1. Understand your demographics

Modern marketing often includes the ability to laser focus your spend. If you know that a large percentage of your customer base is from a specific area, age group, gender or any other defining characteristic then put your money when it has the greatest impact. If you’re reading this and thinking ‘I don’t have a demographic’ – quite frankly, you’re wrong. Start looking at who’s ordering and drawing up categories – you’ll be surprised.

  1. Give the perks your people want

Your office coffee machine is costing you hundreds each month – but do your employees really want it? Would they be just as happy with a kettle and good instant? If they are, you’ve just saved yourself a huge chunk. Think about what you offer your staff and put a real value on it – then talk to your employees about alternatives – you’ll be amazed how many people only use a perk because it’s there.

  1. A 4-day week?

You’ll be surprised at how many people are keen to extend their weekend – even if it impacts their payslip. The 5-day working week is the standard, but it doesn’t always work for people with families and other commitments. Some research even suggests you’ll see a stronger work ethic during those fewer days…

  1. Talk to your landlord

The cost of premises is often one of the biggest overheads a company shoulders. Landlords most often think 6-monthly or annually when you talk contracts and costs. If you’re happy to tie yourself in for longer, you’ve got an ace up your sleeve that could save you big money each month.

Adding up the pennies

Applied individually these tips will have relatively small impacts – but keeping an eye on these as possibilities each month keeps you on your toes financially and sees some significant savings adding up.

I am the founder of Startup Today. I am the main writer and have put in many hours of work into creating this blog. If you want to find out more about me then lets get in contact.

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