Start-up entrepreneurs are often control-freaks. No, not in the negative light, but because their business is more like their newborn baby, these entrepreneurs want to control every aspect of it. Over time, this leads to a culture of multi-tasking and no-delegation which is neither healthy for them nor for their business. Instead of doing more things themselves, small business owners need to focus more on improving cash flow and sustaining profitability for that’s what keeps the ship afloat.
Here are 7 tips for start-ups and small businesses to boost profitability without breaking the bank:
#1 Trim operational expenses: Administrative tasks such as bookkeeping, auditing, invoices & document management, vendor payments, etc. are things that can eat into your or your staff’s time significantly but by the time you realize that, you would have likely lost a few potential customers. Thankfully, all of these mundane corporate administration tasks can be easily and reliably delegated to a virtual assistant firm. Reduced operational costs without any employee overheads is just what your start-up needs at a time when every penny counts.
#2 Improve cash flow: If you find it difficult to sell your products/services individually, bundle them up into an attractive package or offer subscription-based plans. The idea is to sell smart and keep cash coming, rather than waiting to make bumper sales.
#3 Leverage virtual communication: Today, technology has made it easier for businesses to operate without boundaries, sans the hassle & cost of travelling. Use telecommuting tools, Skype for business, Gotomeeting, etc. whenever you can, minimizing business travel only to cases where absolutely required.
#4 Network more to be seen: People buy from those they know and trust. So, instead of mass marketing and advertising, participate in industry events, online forums, and social media groups where chances of meeting prospective customers face-to-face are higher. Besides customers, networking has two more added advantages – you may get to meet venture capitalists and investors who might be interested in a start-up of your kind and you may meet the right kind of people you’d like to hire to fuel business growth (again, sans exploding hiring costs).
#5 Outsource procurement services: Searching for the best and reliable vendors, drafting/renewing agreements, ensuring contract compliance, etc. are tasks that can quickly add up costs as well as time. Outsourcing procurement services to experienced virtual assistants can bring complete peace of mind and smoother business operations.
#6 Optimize your greatest cost sucker – staffing: Are you over/under staffed? While over-staffing obviously leads to costs spiralling out of control, under staffing can stretch your resources too thin, leading to higher employee dissatisfaction and turnover, ultimately impacting hiring and operational costs. The best bet for start-ups and small businesses – leverage virtual assistant services to keep fixed salary/employee benefits costs, and the burden of managing employees at bay.
#7 Motivate your sales team to increase their ’Direct Sales Time (DST)’: How many hours per week does your sales team spend engaged in direct sales activities with prospective buyers? When you are a start-up business, DST matters much more than advertising. Whether it is through web, social media or mobile – your sales team must maximize 1:1 time with potential customers to set the cash registers ringing, while also improving brand awareness, perception, and getting real time feedback from customers, so you can improve your products and services. What can you do to maximize DST? Offload employees from their non-core tasks by delegating as much as you can to outsourced service providers.
Better delegation, smart management, and adapting to change quickly are the hallmarks of a successful business. Have you identified your business’ core and non-core priorities right?