Managing Operating Costs: How You Can Stay Ahead While Keeping Costs Down

Part of being a savvy business leader involves managing operating costs to the best benefit of your business.  In many cases, this means cutting internal costs without cutting into the offerings or services that you provide to your customers.

So how can you do that?

That’s a question that many business leaders ask and therefore they need the right kind of guidance to ensure that their business is able to stay efficient and profitable.

So let’s take a look at some basic aspects of managing operating costs and you’ll see just what some of the things are that you can do to keep your expenses down as your business grows.

4 Basics of Operating Cost Reduction

  • Budgeting – Nothing in the world of business is guaranteed, but having a plan in place helps weather anything that might come your way as best as possible.Like having a strong business plan, having a budget for your business will help guide you in a way that can lead to efficiency.With a budget of where your funds are supposed to go, you can be sure that you won’t get caught off guard by rising costs as your business grows.
  • Follow the Trends – Just about every kind of business sees trends that ultimately affect the bottom line. By knowing what those trends are, you can plan ahead and keep costs down.Always use comparative analysis when reviewing your P&L, so you can see how expenses are moving around from month to month. Then, take a separate approach and compare your April P&L results of the current year to the April P&L results of the previous year. You will be able to spot variances much easier and that will create questions that you need to answer in order to get a reasonable explanation for the variances. For example, my sales were down this month compared to the same month last year. Why were my payroll expenses higher this month than they were in the same month one year ago? Why did I need more payroll expense to produce less revenue? See the picture?By keeping track of trends in this manner, you can quickly spot negative trends in your operating costs.
  • Monitor How Much Traveling You Do – This one can be a bit tricky for growing businesses, but it’s something worth considering when thinking about managing operating costs.You often need to travel to meet with new clients or to cement relationships with existing clients, but doing so too often can easily get out of control from a cost perspective.Consider using technologies like teleconferencing and video chatting for your meetings so that you can conduct the business you need to.

    Face time with clients and potential business partners is very important, so this is something that should be practiced in moderation. Still, by relying on technology to cover distances that you would normally have to travel, you can keep costs down while increasing your efficiency.

  • Prioritize – No matter what industry you’re in, there’s going to come a time when you and your team need to scramble to get something done.Outside of that, however, the way in which you handle your tasks can tie directly into managing operating costs.It’s only natural that some jobs will take longer to do than others, so you want to give priority to the big things first. This will give you enough time to get the important things done before moving on to the easier and simpler tasks.

    Not only will this reduce the chance that something important will be rushed through once someone realizes that it’s been overlooked, but it will save you from potentially having to pay for the overtime that’s likely to result.

Executing these four “basics” can assist you with your goal of managing your operating costs. That, in turn, will help keep your business healthy from a financial perspective.

Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated.  Keep it simple!

For more information on business analysis, business planning, and ways to grow your small business profitably, please check out our website www.portalcfo.com.  Follow us on Twitter @portalcfo

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