Business Owners: These 6 Proven Strategies Help You Do More With Less
If your bottom line isn’t where it needs to be, it’s time to start thinking about how your business can do more with whatever meager resources it has on hand.
While these six proven strategies won’t rocket your company to profitability overnight, they can improve your cash flow picture and reduce your reliance on outside capital. Here’s what you need to know about each.
- Barter or Trade Services
What is this, the Stone Age?
No. It’s smart business. Nowhere is it written that you have to pay cash for every good or service your business consumes — nor that your business has to accept such consideration for every good or service it provides. Look for sensible opportunities to make win-win barters with vendors, suppliers, and even clients: for instance, trading whatever service you provide for website development help or free marketing labor.
- Use a Rewards Credit Card
It won’t change your financial picture overnight, but responsible credit card use can make a big difference. Look for cards that pay you back for everyday purchases, such as office supplies or utility expenses. Products that can honestly claim the best rewards credit card mantle return 2% or more, on average.
- Tap Low-Interest Financing Sources
Credit cards count as low-interest financing sources — as long as you pay off your balances in full each month. If you need a longer float, look to alternatives such as home equity lines of credit.
- Use More Efficient Transportation
If your business requires your team to spend lots of time on the road, invest in a more efficient fleet. Look for hybrid or all-electric vehicles that sip (or completely eschew) conventional fuel. Even if they cost more upfront, you may qualify for state and federal credits. Fuel savings will boost your long-term savings too.
- Invest in Word of Mouth Marketing
Why pay for advertising when your customers are willing to do it for free?
That’s the goal, anyway.
Implement a lean marketing strategy that encourages, then magnifies, word of mouth. There’s no wrong way to do this: referral programs, new account bonuses, above-and-beyond customer service all have their place. The most important thing is to get your customers talking in positive terms about whatever it is you have to offer.
- Make Sensible Cuts to Overhead Expenses
It’s all too common for decision-makers at high-growth businesses to glaze their eyes whenever the conversation turns to overhead expenses. After all, they’re unavoidable.
Or are they? You’d be surprised just how much you can trim from supposedly fixed expenses — whether by investing in efficient fixtures and appliances in your office space, negotiating a better deal on your lease, or opting for a more flexible, scalable coworking plan instead of a traditional long-term lease agreement.
What’s Your Secret?
Every business is different. That means your precise money-saving formula will likely be different from your competitor’s across town — and certainly your distantly related peer business two states over.
All the more reason to take a hard look at both sides of your balance sheet and ask tough questions about what you need to do differently. Your company’s future may well depend on it.