4 Easy Ways to Cut Business Costs

As a business owner, you’re probably wondering about ways to save your small business money. It takes time to build profitable revenue streams and carve your niche in your industry. Therefore, you’ll need to be as profitable as possible in order to help your business grow.

Let’s take a look at four easy ways to save your small business money. These methods will give you some ideas on how you can help your business move forward through smart financial planning.

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How to Reduce Operating Expenses in Business

Cut costs

You can never have low enough overhead. Many entrepreneurs are always trying to figure out how to reduce operating expenses in business.

Let’s take a look at why you should reduce operating expenses in your business and what doing so can ultimately mean for a business owner like you.

1. Why Do You Want to Reduce Overhead?

With economic times being as unpredictable as they are, there are a number of reasons why you might want to keep your overhead as low as you possibly can.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

  • Customer demand for your goods or services isn’t what it used to be – It could be that what you provide is seen as something of a luxury that people feel as though they can’t afford to use at the moment. Or perhaps there has been a perceived decline in your product’s quality.

Regardless of the reason, people aren’t buying in the amounts that they once did. This could lead you to trying to figure out how to reduce operating expenses in business, among other things.

  • Revenue is down across the board – This could be tied to the decreased demand or could be influenced by other factors like you being unfamiliar with what your competitors are doing.

Either way, decreased revenue could have you scrambling to figure out how to keep your head above water long enough to work out a way to get a strong cash flow going again.

  • Revenue isn’t being used efficiently – Do you often find your business is spending money in areas where it doesn’t need to be?

Wasteful spending is every bit as much a hindrance to growth in business finance as it is in personal finance, so it makes sense that you want to look at ways to keep that sort of a spending to an absolute minimum or simply eliminate it outright.

2. What You Need to Know Beforehand

What many business owners don’t realize in figuring out how to reduce operating expenses in business is that doing so can often carries risks. This makes the process of lowering your overhead more trouble than it’s worth and could potentially leave you worse off in the long run than you were when you first started.

Before you think about ways to reduce your company’s operating expenses, there are several worthwhile questions that you have to ask yourself.

Namely:

  • How will my customers be affected? – Everything that you do should ultimately benefit your customers in some way.  If the actions that you take in reducing your company’s operating costs could conceivably alienate the people to whom you provide your services, then your plans will definitely need to be reevaluated.
  • Will the quality of my products suffer? – Offering product that is inferior to what you used to provide cancels out anything that you achieved through reducing your overhead. If they don’t notice right away, your customers will notice the decline in time and take their business elsewhere.

You want to make sure that your offerings remain the same so that you can keep your customers happy.

  • Will it put me at a disadvantage? – You always want to be able to keep up with your competitors, so your strategy on how to reduce operating expenses in business should never undermine your competitive edge.

If lower overhead means fewer offerings, a reduced service area, fewer business hours or anything else that competitors could take advantage of, then you need to rework your business plan to lower your expenses without having to resort to any of those potentially harmful measures.

3. What You Can Do

Knowing what you do about how your business can be negatively affected by lowering your overhead, keep in mind that there are still several ways to go about continuing your business while remaining profitable.

The question of how to reduce operating expenses in business without being detrimental can be answered in some of the following ways:

  • Look at your employees – It makes sense that most consumers hold good customer service above anything else when considering where they will spend their money. That’s why you want to look at your employees as a way of reducing business costs.

How is that done, exactly?

Train your employees and keep them happy!

By providing a high level of training, your employees will know how to deal with certain situations and will be able to meet the needs of your customers.

Show your employees how important they are to the company’s mission and you’ll keep turnover, which can lead to high costs for your business, low.

  • Consider outsourcing some business functions – Every business relies on important services like information technology (IT) for communication purposes, and accounting for bookkeeping purposes.

In figuring out how to reduce operating expenses in business, one thing you could look at is outsourcing these important functions to professionals who specialize in these areas.

With respect to IT, outsourcing can save you money be lifting the burden of having to maintain, install, and update equipment and software, as well as having to devote time and resources to dealing with troubleshooting.

With respect to accounting, having a consultant carry out your company’s financial oversight will allow you to take advantage of expert bookkeeping that will be able to oversee financial record keeping much more efficiently than you might be able to were you to take care of it yourself.

Outsourcing both IT and accounting are textbook examples of how to reduce operating expenses in business because they allow you to get business critical services while avoiding payroll expenses and other taxes you would incur if you had these professionals as part of your regular staff.

  • Look at your production costs – How much is it costing you to provide your services to your customers?

You want to look at the materials that go into what you provide, as well as your relationship with the suppliers who provide you with those raw materials.

Are there alternatives that you can use in your production without affecting the quality? Do you have a strong enough relationship with your suppliers that you would be able to renegotiate the terms of your contract?

Many times, figuring out how to reduce operating expenses in business can be as simple as forming and maintaining strong business to business relationships with other companies.

Other times, it’s a matter of finding alternative ways to do something that you’re already doing.

  • Conserve energy – This may seem like a very basic premise, but take a look at how much good reducing your energy bill can do and you’ll see why it’s such a good idea.

By taking small steps like turning off devices when they aren’t in use, using lower wattage light bulbs, and generally conserving whenever the opportunity presents itself, you can see a dramatic reduction in one of your recurring bills.

These are just a few of the measures that you can take to keeping your company’s operating costs low. You just have to remember that when it comes to figuring out how to reduce operating expenses in business, you want to look for examples that might be unique to your industry on top of the examples illustrated here.

Keeping your overhead low without sacrificing quality of service or withdrawing the affections of long time customers will go a long way towards helping your bottom line.

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

Check out our website at www.portalcfo.com for more tips on how to grow your business profitably.

You may also be interested in Learning How to Reduce Operational Risk.

How to Reduce Operational Risk

how to reduce operational risk in your business

The question of how to reduce operational risk is one that should be on the mind of every last business owner. It doesn’t matter if you run a hot dog cart or a multinational conglomerate. It doesn’t matter if you’re the only employee or you employ a workforce that could populate a small city.

Whoever you are, whatever you do, you need to know about the many different ways your company is constantly exposed to operational risk. You also need to know what you can do to reduce risks so that they aren’t as much of a hazard to your company’s success.

Doing so is necessary to maintaining a competitive advantage. It also ensures that your company is able to keep a strong presence in its sector. Because no businesses are alike, the risks that they face will differ, so this post will take a broad look at how to reduce operational risk. By the end, you’ll be able to take the principles of what’s discussed here and apply them to your own business practices. This should allow you to reduce the impact of the losses that your business could incur as a direct result of risk.

4 Steps – How To Reduce Operational Risk:

Step 1:  Managing Equipment Failures

For all of the good that technology has done for the world of business, the equipment that you use to conduct your operations can still break down. Depending on the severity of the failure, you could face crippling losses in revenue.

It’s because of the fact that technology has become so intertwined with businesses that extra steps have to be taken to:

  • safeguard information
  • make sure all equipment works properly
  • ensure alternate plans are in place in the event of a failure

If your company relies heavily on information technology (IT) infrastructure like a computer network, then make sure that programs and hardware are up to date and protected by the best security that you can afford.

If you operate in manufacturing, transportation, or any other industry that relies heavily on machines with a lot of moving parts, then the question of how to reduce operational risk can be answered by adhering to regular maintenance and making sure that small issues are addressed quickly enough that they don’t become large issues.

Step 2:  Keep Strong Business to Business Relationships

Your business wouldn’t be able to survive without the work of other businesses. Whether you rely on another company for supplies, shipping, or anything else that you need to count on in order to run your own enterprise, it pays to keep strong relationships with other companies.

In thinking of how to reduce operational risk in this respect, you have to look at common risks like miscommunications, accounting errors, delivery failures, incomplete or missing legal documents and vendor disputes as ways that business to business relationships can expose your company to risk.

With this type of operational risk, you want to make sure that you and your vendors and suppliers are always on the same page when it comes to your transactions. It never hurts to double check figures and make sure that invoices, quantities, and other aspects of the business to business supply chain are correct.

Doing these things can keep your relationships strong and reduce the likelihood that errors common in these sorts of interactions will have negative effects on either side of the transaction.

Step 3:  Having Adequate Insurance

You want to make sure that, in the event that something does happen, your business has the proper insurance it needs to cover the event.

It could be anything from property damage to a personal injury, but having an insurance policy that covers something that could negatively impact your business could mean the difference between a minor and major disruption in your business operations.

When thinking about how to reduce operational risk as far as your insurance coverage is concerned, go over your existing insurance policies and make sure that all possibilities are covered. It pays to consult with a representative of your company’s insurance broker to guarantee that you have all of the coverage you need.

From property insurance to liability, there are a number of different types of insurance that you can get to cover your business. Make sure you have them all and risk won’t catch you off guard.

Step 4: Know the Regulations

If you stay up to date on state and federal regulations as they relate to your business, then you take a huge step towards knowing how to reduce operational risk.

Whatever it is that you do, you want to make sure that all of your business practices are well within the confines of the law of the land in which you operate.

Things like health and safety standards, employee wages, licensing and certification, taxes, and permits all have an influence on how you’ll run your business. Don’t let ignorance of the law lead to trouble later down the road.

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.

How to Undertake a Financial Restructuring: Tips on Turning Your Company Around

how to undertake a financial restructuring - portal cfo consulting

how to undertake a financial restructuring - portal cfo consultingIf you’re a business owner who’s interested in creating the best possible financial environment for your company, then you’re probably wondering about how to undertake a financial restructuring that will make that a reality.

With the state of the economy being such as it is, you have every reason to examine the shape that your company is in.  Whether things are going well or not, you need to evaluate your situation so that you can come up with a clear, attainable plan as to how you’re going to be able to remain competitive. You want to reach a point where, despite economic conditions being what they are, you’ll be able to eventually grow and expand in the future.

Before you ask about how to undertake a financial restructuring, let’s get a quick look at common scenarios that warrant taking that path to see if this is your best option.

  • Does your company have excess personnel? – Many times, staff responsibilities can overlap to the point where teams, divisions, or departments are doing the same thing. In some cases, one of these can be repurposed for other tasks, or the department can be eliminated outright in order to reduce cost and consolidate workload.
  • Has Your Net Profit Been on the Decline? – There could be one big reason why this is happening or several smaller ones that are working together to hurt your company’s financial viability. Regardless of the cause, an expert financial consultant who initiates a financial restructuring can help eliminate these and put you back on the right path.
  • Has Your Company’s Offering Been Overshadowed? – This can happen in technology more than anything else but, when something new is introduced to the market and your company is unable to keep up, you may have to change the way to do business so that you can compete once again.

These are just a few scenarios that warrant restructuring your company’s operations but, despite the reason for a rearrangement, there are several things you can do to get back right on track.

How to Undertake a Financial Restructuring: Common Strategies

It’s important to remember that no two firms are exactly alike, so the advice provided here may have to be adjusted slightly to suit your company’s situation.

That said, these strategies have proven to help companies across a diverse number of sectors time and again.

  • Work with New Leadership – More often than not, a restructuring brings in new management. Whether this is a new CEO, CFO, project manager or any other position, this person may have new ideas and insight that can help get the company get back on track. Listen to what they say and take their advice. It could lead you to great things.
  • Consult Outside Help – When it comes to figuring out how to undertake a financial restructuring, a fresh set of eyes can make all the difference. If you bring in an expert who has no bias toward your company, you may be made aware of issues that you never knew about before.
  • Practice Transparency – The worst thing that you can do when your company is rearranging its operations is to keep people in the dark.

Everyone from your employees to your investors deserves to know exactly what’s being done to keep the company afloat and see to it that the doors stay open. Doing this doesn’t just make it so that there aren’t any surprises, but shows that you’re someone who can be trusted. People will be more likely to stay by your side during transitional periods.

  • Establish Your New Goals Early, Reiterate Them Often – In working through how to undertake a financial restructuring, you want to make sure that you never lose sight of the objective. Make it clear what the entire point behind your company’s restructuring is and, once you see what you want to do, pursue that vision as aggressively as you’re able to.

Regardless of the strategies that you use to turn your company around and make it profitable again, you’ll want to make sure that your practices are sustainable so that you can avoid turbulent times in the future.

Adopt many of the strategies used by successful turnaround companies who figured out how to undertake a financial restructuring.  Continue to practice those strategies even when you’re in the black and you can make sure that your own company sees a bright future.