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Spotting waste in your business budget in five steps

Digesting all of your operating expenses with these five steps can go a long way toward freeing up funds to expand or pay business debt, and in a down economy, every penny counts.

Making each dollar count

With thanks to the current economy, both businesses and consumers are cutting back and making each dollar count. As a small business professional, you know most of all how tight your budget already is. But when you have a tight budget, it can be difficult to expand your outreach and try new ways to improve your business. So, it’s time to free up some of those funds by analyzing and identifying waste in your business budget. And it’s as simple as these five steps:

1. Get input

1. Get Input from Your Employees – Assign everyone on your team (including yourself) the task to focus on their day-to-day responsibilities and find monetary waste or ways to cut back financially while retaining efficiency. It can be easier to identify areas of waste when everyone pitches in, especially because you may not have a hand in some essential job duties. Allow everyone to work on their own to compile their reports and then meet together to discuss. Holding a discussion meeting can help get the creative juices flowing, so your team can tighten up that budget.

2. Streamline

2. Streamline Business Purchases – If you can buy office supplies or even supplies for your inventory in bulk for a reduced rate, do so. If you can get a discount for being a frequent shopper some place, shop there. If you get cashback rewards on a business credit card, use it as often as possible. These are simple ways to cut down on basic expenses or to be awarded financially for your company’s loyalty.

3. Maximizing efficiency

3. Become Operationally Efficient – Sometimes it comes down to the nuts and bolts of your operations. Are you maximizing all of the office space you’re paying for? If not, can you cut back and move to a smaller office location? Do you or your employees work remotely part or all of the time? If so, consider renting a meeting space for your weekly or monthly meetings instead. If you have multiple employees, is there enough work to keep them busy during the entirety of the work day? Are all of your employees and their skills being utilized appropriately?

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4. Modernize

4. Modernize Your Business Approach – You can increase your employees’ levels of productivity and cut costs by allowing them to telecommute. You don’t have to allow 100% telecommuting options, but once a week or even once a month can cut energy and office space costs. With the remote-work option, also consider having employees with alternating schedules share desk space. Or, you could take the approach that many government agencies did not too long ago – working four ten-hour days rather than five eight-hour days.

4. Analyze ROI

5. Know the ROI – Everything you purchase has a calculable ROI. Make sure every purchase is worth its cost. If you don’t know the ROI on something, this is your chance to figure it out. Understanding the ROI can also help you make important business decisions and streamline your business expenses.

Free up your money

Spotting and rectifying waste in your business budget will take a little extra work and attention to detail, but it can free up some of your money so it can be applied elsewhere. Doing so can enable you to improve and expand your business and your brand while using the funds already available to you. Knowing how to use your business budget in the best way possible can give you room to breathe and will put you ahead of your competition. And in the modern downturned economy, any advantage is monumental.

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Written By

The American Genius Staff Writer: Charlene Jimenez earned her Master's Degree in Arts and Culture with a Creative Writing concentration from the University of Denver after earning her Bachelor's Degree in English from Brigham Young University in Idaho. Jimenez's column is dedicated to business and technology tips, trends and best practices for entrepreneurs and small business professionals.

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