When you want to boost your business’ profitability without taking on more customers, the best thing you can do is look at where efficiencies can be made in your day to day operations.
Not all businesses aspire to be the biggest and boldest in market. In fact, many of the business owners I meet think growing a business simply means more hours and less free time.
Instead the majority are looking for ways to streamline costs and make their businesses more profitable so they can enjoy the benefits of being their own boss – whether that means more time with family or adding to the pension pot.
If you are looking for ways to make your business more efficient, here are five key points to consider.
Where are your profits coming from?
Regardless of what business you are in, customer and market needs change. Ask yourself whether your services are still relevant to your customers and are they generating a profit? The profit and loss account figures will help you decide which services are becoming profit drainers so you can decide whether they are worth your time, or if you would be better off using resources elsewhere in the business.
Are your costs too high?
When was the last time you looked at your base costs? There’s plenty of research to suggest that switching suppliers can result in operational savings, yet for many business owners it is a task best left to another day.
Could you renegotiate deals with suppliers or, if you had unused office space, could you lease it out? These are small things that require a bit of time from you in the short-term but could mean big savings in the long term.
Use technology to boost productivity
The wide variety of technology available to small business owners means its now possible to automate many of the tasks involved with running a business.
Essential tasks such as bookkeeping, for instance, can be outsourced so that you can get on with doing what matters most to you. At Ozlop customers simply photograph invoices and receipts and email them to us for processing and then leave it to us to do bookkeeping.
Recently I heard from a contact, John, who was seriously concerned that his sales team was spending too much time organising client meetings. He decided to monitor the situation for a few weeks and discovered that up to 6 hours a week was being spent on organising diaries – time that could be much better used elsewhere.
John decided to use an automated scheduling tool that makes it easy for customers to book a time that suits them and allows his people to be focused on more profitable tasks. It has proved to be a great way of making his business more efficient – his salespeople are getting to more meetings each week, so they are turning more leads into solid prospects and the customer experience is much improved.
Tell your customers what you are doing
Big businesses understand the value of repeat business and they know they have to tell customers what they are doing to keep them coming back. Smaller businesses, however, can get so enthused about winning new custom, that they neglect the people they have worked for before.
Christmas provides a great opportunity to get in touch with all your customers from the last few years to wish them well but also remind them of your services. It may be that you’ve expanded your services, in which case let them know what you have to offer. Staying in regular contact with all your customers means you are front of mind when it comes to the next job or may even lead to a referral. Whatever market you’re in, your customers need to know what you are doing.