Year-end cannot get here soon enough for some business owners — especially those whose companies have exceeded their annual budgets. If you find yourself in this unenviable position, you can still cut costs to either improve this year’s financial picture or put yourself in a better position for next year.
Tackle staffing issues
It is easy to put off tough staffing decisions, but those issues may represent an unnecessary drain on your finances. If you have employees who do not have enough work to keep busy, think about restructuring jobs so everyone’s productive. You might let go of extra staff, or, alternatively, offer mostly idle workers unpaid time off during slow periods.
You also need to face the hard facts about underperforming workers. Few business owners enjoy firing anyone, but it makes little sense to continue to pay poor performers.
Take control of purchasing
Are you getting the most out of your company’s combined purchasing power? You may have different departments independently buying the same supplies or services (for example, paper, computers, photocopying). By consolidating such purchases, you might be able to negotiate reduced prices.
To strengthen your bargaining power with suppliers when seeking discounts, pay your bills promptly. Even if it does not help you land reduced prices, you will avoid late payment fees and credit card interest charges.
In addition, do not pay bills mindlessly. Review all your service invoices — especially those that are automatically deducted from your bank accounts or charged to credit cards — to confirm you are actually using the services. Consider canceling any services you have not used in 90 days.
Redirect your marketing efforts
Advertising costs can take a significant bite out of your budget, and the priciest efforts often have the lowest returns on investment. Cut programs and initiatives that have not clearly paid off and move your marketing to social media and other more cost-efficient avenues (at least temporarily). A single, positively received tweet may reach exponentially more people than a costly directory listing, print ad, or trade show booth.
Resist the urge to solve your budget shortfalls with one dramatic cut as the risks are simply too high. The better approach is to execute a combination of incremental actions that will add up to savings. Contact us for a full assessment of your company’s budget.