A business can't survive if you lose track of your overheads. Minimizing them reasonably is a big priority, and it's a priority because it can mean the difference between being in the green or in the red. For businesses in 2016, the expenses of startup and growing are far less than they were in the past, largely thanks to the availability of technology and software. Even so, keeping a clear understanding of your operating costs and outgoings is key, and should be something that is a regular part of your business' management.
Manage your staff overheads effectively
The answer to your business' problems isn't always to hire new people. And there are multiple tasks and operations that could be handled by experts rather than an expensive in-house staff member. For example, many of our clients at Charltons will ask us to take over their bookkeeping rather than have to maintain a bookkeeper themselves. It makes sense - we've got talented staff here to do it, and if it's on our plate, it's not on yours.
If you're keeping track of your processes and productivity, it's often easy to find which areas of your business would be better off managed or handled by other organisations, freelancers or consultants. Without the cost of having a full time employee, it can take your overheads down a notch!
Think about how you use technology
The possibilities are endless today. At Charltons now, we've moved to using software phones on our computers rather than having to pay for dozens of desktop phones! We've chosen to use some amazing cloud based software - including Xero - which can be paid for month to month and is constantly updated with no IT spend from us, instead of having to install and re-install and pay for endless pieces of software.
There are some highly streamlined ways to do business now, and you can avoid paying for many areas of technology that would've made a business prohibitive to run 10 or 15 years ago. Most companies starting up today wouldn't even need to pay for a server!
Become a paperless office
By avoiding paying tens of thousands of dollars for office printers, paper, ink and maintenance, you can reduce your overheads quite substantially. Paperless record keeping is certainly the way of the future, and it's also a way to cut down costs and increase productivity. That's a win-win for your staff and your office. When you can keep digital copies of all paperwork, files and correspondence, the need for paper based systems will reduce pretty substantially.
You'll find that the reduction in time spent running to and from a printer and worrying about whether or not it's working is also going to go to your employees getting more done a lot faster. We all know time is money - this is one way you'll definitely see it.
It really comes down to thinking creatively but acting firmly. If there's a more efficient, more cost effective way to run your business, making it a part of your plan is going to help you keep those overheads low and stay on top of your business' spending. There's no easy way to do this, but a little economy here and there and some prudent management makes all the difference.