It costs a lot for a small business to exist, and striking a balance between finding new growth opportunities for a product or service while keeping an eye on financial outgoings is one of the toughest challenges a business owner can face.
But driving increased sales without focusing on the cost of doing so can see businesses fall backwards in their financials, and forcing costs down to the bare minimum can lead to an inability to service existing customers, let alone win new customers.
ShortPress spoke with John Corias, a senior partner at small business accountancy firm M.A.S Accountants, to uncover the things you need to keep in mind when seeking to lower your existing overheads.
Corias says rent is normally a small business’ biggest expense, and a standard three- or five-year lease is a cost that can have long-term impacts on your bottom line.
He says careful research and planning to ascertain the suitability of a rental site, its size and its future potential are critical for businesses.
Tools and equipment
Financing costs of buying the tools you need to carry out your business need to be paid whether or not the equipment is producing anything. For this reason, structuring your finances to suit your business circumstances is hugely important.
Build a strong team that covers the key areas of your business, then tailor the remainder of your workforce around them.
Corias, whose Melbourne and Sydney-based firm offers financial advice to everyone from doctors and dentists to architects and interior designers, says many small businesses have a key group of individuals working for them that can be considered a fixed cost.
“Build a strong team that covers the key areas of your business, then tailor the remainder of your workforce around them.”
Banking and Insurance coverage
Banking options in Australia have never been more competitive, so Corias suggests using that to your advantage by shopping around before setting up merchant terminals and signing up to any long-term contract.
Making the right decision from the word go also ensures you don’t incur additional costs when switching providers. Insurance coverage is an essential business expense, but also one that can be highly variable depending on the provider selected and the level of cover required.
He says shopping around and getting fresh quotes each year will help contain costs.
Competition between energy suppliers is something that can be used to your advantage. Try playing one of another to get the best deal. Consider using energy efficient appliances and lights also. While they may cost more initially, they will save you in the long run, he says.
Tracey Porter is a career journalist whose mug shot appears everywhere from daily newspapers and online news sites to business and consumer magazine titles.