I often write about small businesses here. Small business finances are very similar to personal finance and many of my readers are self-employed. In a way, most of them run small businesses, isn’t it? While it’s essential that you separate your finance with your business’s finances, you should become equally cognizant about managing these two different kinds of finances.
Often the reason why big businesses are making all the money is due to how efficient they are. Small businesses are much more personal but often spend too much time on the little things making them far less efficient.At the same time, small businesses have certain advantages that are missing in a large company. Small businesses should take advantage of the agility, that comes with a small size.
Below are a few tips to make your small business more efficient and in turn more cost-effective:
Make sure your online presence is as prolific as possible. This means giving your business maximum exposure using mainly free channels. Setting up a website may be costly but it will definitely pay off, whereas social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts are free are will be hugely beneficial.
Ensure all your communications appeal directly to your target market and have the same brand voice to give customers confidence in your businesses’ identity. When we try out a new restaurant, before going there physically, we check their website and menu first. Honestly, I won’t go to a restaurant, if they don’t have an online presence.
Similarly, if you are a small manufacturing unit, every time you pitch for a new supply contract before you even be called, your online presence will be checked. Other customer’s opinions would be sought.
Review your Postage
One of the biggest bills small businesses often have to pay is postage, especially in the e-commerce industry. Reviewing your courier service can be really beneficial; for example, TNT UK offers a fantastic domestic delivery service which is timely and will speed up delivery.
Assess whether the packaging needs changing too. Does everything really need to boxed? If smaller items could go in envelopes or bags rather than boxes this will significantly reduce postage costs.
Not all businesses need a printer but if yours has a lot of paperwork it’s likely the printer will be whirring all day. It’s essential to encourage employees to be eco-conscious and only print when necessary and to ensure they always print double-sided. If possible, ask them to shrink it down even further so two pages print on one page and watch your electricity bills whittle down.
This also helps with recycling and ensures there’s much less unnecessary paper cluttering up the office. And it goes without saying, anything that doesn’t need to be printed should be kept online so you can save space on the shelves for the important documents.
Avoid unnecessary processes
Being a small business, you can’t afford some of the luxuries of a large business. You can’t have unnecessary processes. You should have one person taking care of multiple aspect fo the business. The guy who manages delivery can also double up as a inventory manager. The same guy can become one of your sales guy as well.
In a large farm, they have different departments to take care of these tasks. And to manage these departments, all sorts of clerical posts get created. To create synergies, between two departments, a central governing body is required. And this adds the overhead of people who are not involved in customer facing work or production work but are still retained and paid.
Reduce unproductive tasks
If you’re constantly checking your emails then this can be counterproductive as it can distract you from getting on with the more important tasks. Set out two or three times a day where you’re going to check your emails and reply/sort out important tasks.
Outside of these times concentrate on getting the day to day workings under control and try and spread this ethos to your employees. Check on your employees regularly, it’s best to have a family member manages and supervises the employees directly.
Readers, how would you want to advise others in becoming more efficient in running a small business? Share your thoughts.