Be strategic when setting out to cut business expenses and you can fuel business continuity.
A penny saved is a penny earned…it’s a saying that’s all too familiar to most entrepreneurs. (After all, all those pennies can add up to some big dollar amounts.) It’s also an extremely useful piece of advice when managing your cash flow and trying to outlast or prepare for an economic downturn.
Knowing what costs and when to cut is a balancing act that, if not properly executed, can put your business in jeopardy. However, when done correctly, it could help set you up for business success.
Goodbye emotions, hello strategy. Cut business expenses with clarity.
When making budget cuts — big or small — be careful not to act on emotion or jump too quickly. Instead, take a strategic and analytical approach to deciding which line items can be adjusted or deleted completely.
So dust off your calculator, sharpen your pencils and pull out your company’s financials. Here are six areas that you should look at when starting to cut business expenses.
1. Cash flow: future and present
Creating a plan for where you think your business will go is crucial to future success. It helps you to understand where the business is going so you can future-proof it against economic uncertainties. But you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are starting from now. So the first step is to calculate your current cash flow and identify areas of improvement.
2. Audit both variable and fixed expenses
Once you understand how cash is flowing through your company, you can look at adjusting the speed at which it leaves your coffers.
You may be surprised to find that expenses once considered fixed, are now variable, and can be reduced or cut. For instance, with the recent shift many companies have made to remote work, you may find that you can downsize or make a transition to a partial or fully remote workspace.
When looking at cutting your variable expenses, think outside of the box (even the smallest line items can add up). Office supplies that you regularly ordered may no longer be needed when your workforce is at home. Speak with vendors to take advantage of discounts and adjust your delivery schedules where applicable. Improving relationships with suppliers combined with better inventory and supply chain management can reduce expenses.
3. Industry benchmarks
Measure your performance against industry standards, which will help you better understand how your business is doing in comparison to the averages. Once you know how you stack up, you can take action to separate your business from the competition and increase profits. This will also help you create target goals for the next quarter or year. Make sure to share those with the entire team, so they know what they need to collectively achieve.
4. Implement time management strategies and tools
Time is money, so make sure you and your employees are making the most of the workday. Using apps like Focus Booster or Rescue Time can keep your team on task and focused on results. It’s also important to set expectations within your organization for how long certain tasks should take so everyone is clear on how their time should be spent.
5. New technology investments
Constant investments in new technology can yield long-term improvements along with more efficiencies across the business — and reduce costs over time. Focus on maximizing ROI when building your tech stack.
Is that new project management software going to speed up your team’s workflow and will they use it? Would better accounting software spot costly errors and pay for itself? Would AI improve your inventory management, or should you invest in other areas with a more immediate return? Carefully select tech investments based on your business goals — and watch out for tech trends that are just a flash in the pan. When you need to cut business expenses, don’t be the guinea pig.
6. Employee incentives to cut business expenses
Creating loyalty amongst your staff and offering creative ways to reduce waste can go a long way. Listening to your employees can give you further insight into areas that could be cut or reduced. It may even spark some creative solutions that you wouldn’t have necessarily thought of alone. Set up a brainstorming session or survey as a starting point, and you may even want to delegate a team to find efficiencies and cost savings. By rewarding them for their efforts, everyone wins!
About Liquid Capital
At Liquid Capital, we understand what it takes for small, medium, and emerging mid-market businesses to succeed – because we’re business people ourselves. Our company is built on a network of locally owned and operated Principal Offices, so whenever you’re talking to Liquid Capital you’re talking directly to your funding source and a fellow business person.