Nearly every small business has superfluous expenses that make them less efficient.
Though they may seem small, these costs add up over time, and every penny counts for small businesses trying to survive in this dismal economy.
It shows how much a bit of frugality can pay off for your small business.
Does your administrative assistant have a Master's degree? Or maybe one of your customer service reps used to work in media? Be sure to key in on skill sets that might not naturally come out in employees' everyday work.
Talk to staffers. Take an interest in their backgrounds and interests. They might be bored. Chances are, many workers are not tapping into hidden stores of expertise that could both increase their productivity and propel your business forward in new ways.
Spending tens of thousands of dollars on outsourced projects can comprise a big chunk of a small business' budget. If such a project is ongoing or recurring, consider taking on a part- or full-time staff member to absorb the duties.
Not only will the new hire be hand-picked by company management, but he or she will also be completely available to do work for your company instead of splitting time between multiple clients and -- here's the kicker -- could save the business big time. In the first year of a salaried worker's employment, her or she will likely pay for him- or herself several times over.
The allure of technology today for business owners is unrelenting. Social lives happen on the Internet. Smartphones keep everyone tuned in, even when we're off the clock. So it makes sense to invest in tech tools to help you business match that trend, right?
Well, sort of. But there is a saturation point. If you're investing in software for its own sake, that's obviously taking it too far. Consider what you really need, and whether the operation cost of certain software yields a significant benefit. For example, if you're spending thousands of dollars on outsourced labour to maintain simple records using a sophisticated program, is it really worth it?
Trade shows can be a great way for a small company to get the word out about what it does. But there is a such thing as 'too much.'
These conventions are not the only way to gain exposure, for one. Instead of seeing trade shows as a key tool, small businesses should prioritise the ones that make the most sense to attend and steer clear of ones that aren't comfortably in the company's wheelhouse.
And at the trade shows, it's fine to not be showy. Skipping over-the-top booths will help drive down costs, too. If your message is a good one, it'll come across even without a fancy set-up.
Large companies can probably absorb a few underperformers. Small ones can't. When every employee needs to accomplish his or her tasks to keep the business moving forward -- and all this on a tight budget -- workers who don't contribute are a huge money-suck.
Even those who are only willing to work 'required' hours and who keep expectations low weigh your operation down. A growing business does not have space, or cash, for the unmotivated or unremarkable.
Small business owners who think they're too busy to keep track of expenses should think again. By not paying enough mind to what gets spent, companies could wind up with less than expected when the final tally comes through.
Plus, if business managers don't know how much they've been spending on standard supplies and services, vendors could hike up their rates without raising any concern -- a hidden cost of not paying attention.
By paying close attention to everything you're spending and what you're spending it on, you can save yourself a ton of trouble -- and money. How will you know if you're overspending if you don't have the numbers?
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