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Control your Margins

Everyone know that selling price – costs = profits; the market will control your base selling price based on economic conditions and demand for the product or service but you always control your costs.

Consider the following:
Human Resources: Human Resources will always be a businesses largest expense.
  • Time off paid or unpaid affects productivity; offer the opportunity to work remotely which will save you on the cost of office space. It will also increase productivity because the employee can schedule work and family time more efficiently. They may be at work but are they thinking about or taking care of family business and not working on your business?
  • Offer employee perks through outside products and services. While traditional benefits may be hard for a business to supply; there are many perks that while attract and retain the best available employees for your business. It costs a lot of time and money to hire and retrain new employees.
  • Train your employees, rinse and repeat. You know your business but do your employees? Take the time to make sure each employee has a clear job description and the knowledge to preform their job. This will create satisfied customers and positive reviews which will attract new customers.
  • Train your employees how you want your customers treated. How does your staff answer the phone or greet customers as they come through the door. It is your job to train them and after they are trained it is their job to do it. This will create repeat customers and save you the cost of attracting new customers.
  • Offer profit sharing and/or employee stock options; this will create a new attitude from your employees and invest them in the success of the company. You can use this to pay less of a salary and make the employees income performance based which will motivate them and increase your cash flow and therefore your buying power.
  • Ask for terms with your vendors and suppliers; then use those terms to buy larger quantities which will get you a lower price
  • Establish your business credit so you can qualify for lines of credit which will allow you to buy in quantity and get the discounted price from your vendor or supplier
Service Providers:
  • You should review your contracts and invoices with your service providers on an annual bases and preferably a quarterly bases. Many companies offer low costs to get you to sign up and then after a period of time the fees increase. They will lower them again if you ask and if they do not get pricing from their competitors.
  • Review your bills and look for small add on fees; many companies quote a low price but when the bill comes they add on small fees and become more expensive than their competitors.
All these things take time but as a business owner, controlling your costs which controls your cash flow will often be the difference between being profitable and failing; especially in hard economic times.

Robert Ritch

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