Small businesses are lauded as the backbone of the economy, creating local jobs and opportunities for the communities of which they are a part. The outlook for these entrepreneurial efforts have been positive in the last few years, with the Kauffman Foundation reporting last year that the survival rates of small businesses were at a three-decade high with 48.7 percent of businesses making it past their fifth year.
Small businesses face unique challenges, and survival often depends on streamlining and maximizing resources while reducing waste wherever possible. After all, they often don’t have the luxury of volume that larger companies already have, nor potential access to millions from investors to tide them over if they run into cashflow issues.
Here are 4 overlooked areas that may be costing small businesses money, and what small business owners can do to avoid losing money.
You’re not simplifying administrative tasks
Small businesses owners may not have robust departments handling HR, payroll, accounting, administration, etc. In fact, many owners or managers may be handling many of these tasks themselves. But that does not mean that there aren’t tools out there to make these processes easier. With a plethora of apps designed to help with everything from employee scheduling to office supply management, there is probably some software available to help small businesses manage these routine administrative tasks at low or no cost. While it may not be necessary to use software to manage every aspect of your business, simplifying administrative tasks with helpful software tools can free up time for business development and other more important aspects of running a small business.
You’re not tracking patterns in your business
There is an ebb and flow to every business – whether it’s based on vacation times, seasons of the year, or even time of day. Getting a feel for the timing or seasonality for your business will help you plan better for traffic or inventory needs. If you have 5 employees working when there are only a few customers, or 1 employee during peak hours, your either wasting money or losing businesses, both resulting in a net loss of revenue. Make sure to pay attention and track the timing and patterns of your business to make better more informed business decisions.
You’re not integrating your business software
So you’ve taken our advice and gotten software to help you manage and schedule your employees. Maybe you also have payroll software, and expense and budgeting software. What doesn’t make sense is to enter the same data into each of these software platforms separately, wasting your time and money. It’s a tedious job, and no one has to do it. If you are using software to help manage your business, make sure they feature integration with other software so you aren’t creating more work for yourself or your staff.
Your employees are costing you and you’re not fixing the problem
Absenteeism, buddy clocking, late arrivals and missed shifts – these occurrences are all costing you in lost productivity, additional administrative time, and revenue. Fortunately, with nearly everyone having a phone in their back pocket, it’s easy to send shift reminders and manage last minute schedule changes. A study by Ximble, which specializes in software solutions that offer robust scheduling and time-clocking features, found that that usage of shift reminders reduced late time by 21% and reduced total missed shifts by 16%, which can save employers thousands of dollars annual.
As small businesses continue to grow and thrive, it is important for business owners to mind all the areas where they can reduce waste and loss. While these four areas may not seem as important as gaining new customers or marketing their businesses, reducing waste wherever it occurs is key to the success of any small business venture.