01 Jun Big Goals, Little Dollars – Your Business on a Budget
Let’s face it, even the largest companies are smart about how they spend money, and try to keep expenses in check. But there’s a difference between being Coca-Cola and being a new business. You can grow your top line, but to have a great bottom line, you need to keep costs down. So how to run your business on a budget but still get the job done?
Here are tips for running your business on a budget:
Invisible assistance. This is the digital age, so take advantage. You can have virtual assistants that help with everything from bookkeeping to sales to administrative help.
If you live in an area of the country where labor is expensive, consider using a staffing agency or other resource that can find you team members who live in less costly areas. Or if you live in a remote area with limited personnel on the ground, reach out to an agency in a more populated area.
Track your time. Tools like toggl.com are especially useful for people who bill their clients by the hour. It lets you assign projects and clients, and then runs in the background until you move on to the next assignment.
But even if you don’t have that kind of pricing structure, some sort of tracker during the day can help you recognize where you are being inefficient. The old adage “time is money” is truer than ever as we have so many demands and so much information coming toward us.
Take note if you are spending too much time answering emails or talking to your accountant, instead of out meeting clients. When you run your business on a budget you need to be hyper-aware of how every hour of your time is being used – your time is your most valuable asset.
Know thyself. Understand the unique cycles of your business, and the industries you serve. If you have a product or service that is more in demand during certain times of the year – pool maintenance, tax services, wedding planning – this should inform most of your other decision.
Hire temporary help for the peaks, and keep full time staff based on the leanest periods.
[bctt tweet=”Amp up advertising dollars when it makes sense for your sales cycle, then dial down during your off season.”]
Running your business on a budget doesn’t mean every month has to stick to certain numbers, but every month’s expenses need to make sense.
Annual analysis. Review your expenses and sales every year. Even if you are buying from the same vendors, and have had a loyal client base for years, you need to see if what’s coming in and going out need adjustments.
Consider raising your rates annually – send a note out in October or November, while clients are assembling next year’s budget and can accommodate the increase. Similarly, revisit the prices you pay for goods and services.
Technology that was expensive when it was first introduced often drops over several years, or new competitors will offer introductory rates. Ask your vendors if they will give you a discount if you buy in bulk, or just for being a good customer. (Hey, the worst that can happen is they say no.)
Running a business on a budget takes discipline.
When you are the person in charge, late nights and early mornings make it hard to stay clear headed about the long run. But you need to plan ahead and make sure that your economic strategy is sound.
If this kind of thing isn’t your strong suit look for online business budget resources. Or, find someone who does this professionally.
Once you know your limits, you can actually breathe easier, knowing that your purchasing has been “approved”, whether by yourself or someone who can look over your shoulder. With the financial questions settled, you’ll have the mental energy to keep doing what you do best and make your business thrive.