In your small business, you’re looking to be successful. It doesn’t matter that you’re not some global enterprise striving for ever larger profit margins, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re putting forward a unique, daring product, or a straightforward, safe service, because the rules apply to every player in every industry: budget well, or don’t profit.
Of course, it can be hard as a small business, whether you’re still in the early days or you’ve been flourishing for some time. In your quest to grow, or simply to stay on top of the game with other competitors that might be operating in your industry at a much larger level, you may find that you run into numerous costs that you hadn’t expected and the profit margin begins to shrink away at a gradually increasing rate.
How can you put a stop to this? Well, you have to put together a plan of action and begin to trim off the fat. There are excess costs lurking at every corner, and it’s your job to find them, so you can knock them off.
Create a more streamlined business.
The key to a more profitable and less costly business lies in streamlining the company, which involves not only narrowing the scope of your business’ operations, but streamlining in terms of staffing positions and the roles of staff in certain positions. You can’t oversee everything within your business, no matter how small or large it may be, and it’s all too easy for oversights to occur when you don’t spread some of the more important tasks or responsibilities to employees throughout your business.
You need to think about the hierarchy within your company, first of foremost. Cutting costs and streamlining your organisation, along with its operations, does not involve cutting out important elements, as much as it involves simply better organising them. You need to ensure that there is a clearly-set hierarchy with somebody in charge, and perhaps even a sub-leader, who can help to organise smaller projects within your organisation.
How does this prevent money and other valuable resources within your company from being wasted? Well, delegation of tasks to sub-management means that you and your employees can better focus on making smaller tasks as efficient as possible in terms of reducing over-production, time-wasting, money and other inherent flaws which cost companies time and money every day.
Communication needs to be encouraged, if it’s the right kind of communication.
Your business’ success or failure will depend not only on your efforts, but on the people who work with you to help build it into a successful enterprise, even if only a local level, and keep the company progressing ever onwards. Communication is crucial, then, to a business’ success, but it’s all too easy for employees to lose focus and have the adverse effect of bringing company productivity down by engaging in unrelated conversations, miscommunicating, or simply disagreeing with a fellow worker.
How can you stop this? How can you ensure that company time and money is not being wasted on people simply being people? Firstly, encourage open communication, cooperation and collaboration. If employees are under the impression that they can’t do this, they’ll begin to feel stifled and might be more inclined to communicate in an unproductive manner when things go wrong, or they begin to grow restless.
Socialisation in the form of cooperation, however, should be encouraged, as it improves workflow. Disagreements should be encouraged within this setting, because it allows employees to work together towards solving the issues at hand. This is part of why a streamlined, organised process with smaller teams and sub-leaders is so crucial, because it welcomes a more manageable and less overwhelming environment within which you and your employees can work without feeling burdened by the weight of too many tasks. Better communication means faster solutions, which means less time wasted.
Put together a plan when it comes to the matter of sick leave.
Companies spend incredible amounts of money each and every year simply covering for staff who are on sick leave. If you want to ensure that your small business isn’t swamped by crippling costs, you might want to start thinking about putting together a proper sickness absence policy for your employees.
Why does this matter? It matters because a proper policy ensures that your staff understand that certain procedures must be followed if they are sick. This may involve producing a certification from a doctor to prove their illness, allowing a certain number of sick days within a given period, or other safety guards to deter employees from ‘faking’ sickness simply to take a day or two off. The more difficult you make it, and the greater restrictions you place, the more you demonstrate the company’s intolerance for short and frequent days off in the name of skipping work.
As soon as you restrict the ability of employees feigning sickness in order to take some extra time off work, you’ll be saving yourself huge amounts of money each year as members of staff realise it’s only worth the hassle if they’re actually feeling sick.
Remote working and internships can work wonders.
Remote working can offer numerous benefits for the majority of small businesses, because so many elements of business now take place through the internet. If your business involves a role which requires only online or computer-based work, then you can save company money by allowing certain employees to work from home either on a full-time or part-time basis. Given the money they’ll save on travel, you can alter future salaries to fit this new form of operation.
Of course, remote working may not always be an option for your line of business. This still doesn’t mean you need to take a chunk out of company profits to hire a new employee for a specific, but perhaps quite simple task which needs to be completed within the business. Hiring an intern could be the solution you’ve been seeking, and this benefits you not only in terms of lower pay, but the fact that you might actually be hiring the best person to get the job done.
Interns are desperately seeking entry-level positions in the businesses or industries of their choice, which means that, no matter the role in which they begin their career, they’ll work ten times harder than anybody else, because they’re young and determined to succeed. You’ll save money and increase productivity.
Incorporate some environmental methods into your small business.
Many companies turn their noses up at the sound of environmentalism, because it sounds like another chore that they have to do. In business terms, this can lead people to fear wasted time and slower operational processes all in name of doing things the ‘green’ way.
Of course, this myth couldn’t be further from the truth. Something as simple as cutting out paper in favour of paperless mediums will not only save your business substantial amounts of money, but it will promote a modern and more secure approach; documents can be stored digitally, copied and shared to employees endlessly without incurring any costs that come with re-printing or scanning documents.
This isn’t the only area through which your small business might currently be wasting resources. You’d be surprised how much money could be saved through simply using energy-efficient appliances in the workplace, installing fluorescent lights, and turning off all lights or computers when they’re not being used.
Every small business is different, and costs are required in order to make profit. However, there are so many areas that companies neglect to smooth out in order to avoid wasting money on excess. Incorporate whatever methods work for your business, but always keep an eye on where your profits are going.