Saving money while maintaining maximum efficiency is the dream of every business owner. You want to make money while only spending what you have to, even though the market favors those who bring a lot of capital into it.
But if every startup out there had a massive wad of cash behind them, there’d be little to no worry over whether you’ll make it! That’s why marking the 12-month period on the calendar is such an achievement.
However, once you’ve passed that first year, things will only get more challenging. Whether you work from home or you’ve got an office filled to the brim with staff, this is the time when you’ve got to prove your success wasn’t a fluke. You have to showcase an ability to be ‘in it’ for the long haul.
That’s where these tips come in. They’re essential to keeping your cash flow on the green side now you’re at least 13 months in. Check them out if you’re in need of some handy financial advice.
Have a Yearly Overlook
If you want to budget your money effectively, you’re going to need to come at it from an annual angle. This way, you take every fixed cost into account, knowing the range of the variable costs you’ve got to deal with (more on that later).
Without this yearly overlook, you could miss out on a vital payment and even fall into arrears if you’ve been happily spending elsewhere. Don’t let yourself be surprised by a bill like this! Have a sense of it well beforehand to keep your money matters straightforward and fairly easy to deal with.
Monitor Daily Costs Closely
You’re going to have quite a few of these, so make sure you track each and every cost that comes out of your business bank account. These daily costs tend to be the biggest long-term expense in the small business life cycle, so don’t think you can just hand out the company card whenever you like!
One of the biggest costs is the need to commute. So, say you’ve got a business fleet. First, check out a guide like Fuel Monitoring 101: A Guide To Optimizing Fleet Fuel Usage, and then consider the amount of vehicles you’re running and what they cost, on average. You’ve probably already got a fuel budget on hand, but are you keeping to it? This is where you need to check the numbers and make sure they align as closely as possible.
Maximize Marketing Effectiveness
Never walk into a marketing opportunity blind. What are you likely to get out of the campaign, and how does that align with what you want to get from your market overall? You won’t know how to answer this without some proper market research, which you should always take your time with.
You don’t even need to conduct this yourself – you can find any number of relevant statistics online. But make sure you talk to your current customer base as well. Send out surveys for direct feedback and put out polls on social media to get a general idea of what they think.
Understand What Your Product is Doing Well
How is your product performing in the market? What sales thresholds has it crossed? And what do your customers think about using it? Asking these questions will allow you to see where you’re going right with your offerings and what could be done better.
If you find there are common constructive or negative points about a certain feature, that’s something you need to focus on for the future. You could be losing out on profit without fixing or redesigning it, and ignoring advice from past customers is the worst way to try and save money past your first year!
Refine Your Website
Your website has done quite a good job up until now – could it do better? It’s a question business owners should ask on a monthly basis. Websites undergo redesigns all the time, and the more you try out new things, the easier it’ll be to find what really works.
New layouts, new headlines, and new product copy are all elements to change in your quest to find the best-performing website layout possible. And the sooner you decide to test pieces of the puzzle, the sooner you’ll get to the perfect combination – that’ll certainly save you a lot of money in the long run!
Only Hire When You Need To
Hiring someone costs a lot of money. It’s why many small businesses avoid bringing in anyone new for upwards of two to three years. When you have a proper payroll, and you’re not just paying yourself a salary, you give yourself big money responsibilities to deal with.
Most businesses don’t feel up to the task. And in a world where there’s a real crunch on small business profits, it’s smart to be hesitant here. As such, only hire when you really need to. When you really need that extra pair of hands on deck, or you’re missing a core skill on a regular basis.
Never Stop Making Connections
Networking is the life’s blood of the small business world. We can all pitch in to help each other from time to time, but we’ll only be able to do that if we’re connected! So get your face and name out there, make introductions, and get your card on the right tables.
Set up regular meetings, go for a coffee or ‘do lunch,’ and even make friends with the contacts on your LinkedIn page. When you’re connected, you can call on someone in a time of need without wasting any further time – that’s very good for money-saving efforts.
Look into Support Schemes
The government regularly puts out grants for businesses to depend on. Keep an eye on both federal and state level governments to double check you’re not missing out on money you’re eligible for.
You’re allowed to apply for grants whenever you need to, and even when you don’t, just to be sure you’ve got capital behind you. In case of emergency, this ‘vault’ can be the difference between sinking and swimming.
Take Another Look at the Budget
We mentioned making a budget earlier on – have you still got yours? Take another look at it and double-check you recognize the way your money moves and why you’ve made the decisions you have. You can also have an accountant look over the books; a professional eye on the margins is never a bad thing.
The budget will also need changing from time to time. As your cash flow needs change, the way you manage it should adapt, too. Maybe you start making more profit in a couple of months’ time? Don’t stick to a more restrictive budget when it’s not strictly necessary. If you’ve got finances to make good use of, use them!
Getting through the first year in business is a big thing, so recognize and celebrate the milestone you’ve got to. After that, get right back on the ball and make a plan for the next few years.
Where do you want to go next? How do you plan to get there? And how will you avoid spending too much money on your quest to achieve the next big thing? This is where you can make a proper plan and put in the time for research. Use tips like these to start off on the right foot.