“Money saved is money earned”. As a small business owner, your priorities are to perform well in the cut-throat competition and look for opportunities to grow, all the while cutting down on costs without affecting the service/product quality. For the same, you need to diligently look to control costs, small or big, and make sure you are not losing money due to unnecessary expenditures or leakages.
Employees’ salaries make a considerable chunk of your business expenses. While it is important that you compensate your employees suitably, it is also imperative to check once in a while whether the salaries you pay are justified. Try answering the following employee-related money leakages and you should be able to find out:
• Are you paying for a full-time employee when the task can be outsourced for a minimal fee?
• Are you over-staffed? Can assignments be re-jigged and consolidated to ensure maximum contribution? Also remember, employee turnover can be very costly for a business in terms of the time it takes to re-hire and re-train staff.
Remember, office space not only costs you rent but also hidden expenses like maintenance, repairs, and utilities. You might be spending more than you bargained for. Do you really need all the office space that you are paying for? If your answer is ‘No’, look for a smaller space as per the actual needs immediately.
Billing, Collection and Payment
This is a primary area of opportunity for income optimization.
• Insist on a timely billing and collection system with your customers. Late billing and collection not only generates cash crunch but you also lose out on valuable bank interest.
• Monitoring accounts receivables will enable you to keep track of your aged receivables in order to reduce the number of days an outstanding claim remains unpaid.
• Likewise, ensure timely payments to your suppliers (of goods, small office supplies, rent or facilities). It makes no sense on losing money on late fees and interest charges. Moreover, many suppliers offer a rebate on early or timely payments.
Payments for Services
• Operational Service Providers: Take a look at some of the services you require like internet or telephone connection and find out whether better and cheaper options for these services exist. Chose the rate plan that’s appropriate for your business. You can even talk to your existing relationship manager and negotiate a better deal on the current services.
• Financial Services: Compare fees, from time to time, charged by your financial institution. Are you paying more in monthly banking fees than is prevalent in the market? Can you find a better banking relationship somewhere else? If your answers are in the affirmative, talk to your current bank’s manager and ask for the same terms that you can get somewhere else.
• Professional Services: Are you paying more for consulting or professional services (legal, accounting, advertising etc.) than you should? Would you save money by hiring someone full-time for this work, or are there other less expensive ways of getting these services?
It might seem like a small value, but such small savings counts a lot in the long run. Little expenses like office supplies, tea/coffee, and washroom supplies for the staff can add up to be a big expense. This doesn’t mean you should cut out all the extras.
Just be a little more attentive on what you spend, make sure you shop around for the best prices and don’t purchase things that aren’t needed or used. Fixing a leak doesn’t necessarily mean simply cutting staff or expenses. It’s not just about the cost either. It’s about justifying your expenses as per your requirement and to keep a close check on the specific areas that warrant a review so that the avoidable expenses can be plugged and the entire savings scenario re-worked. ********************