It’s always a good idea to keep a regular check on the health of your business, but it’s vital if you are thinking of selling anytime soon.
Taking the time out to analyze your expenses, crack down on cyber security, as well as outsourcing tasks and reducing piles of paperwork will really help to tone up your business and get it looking its best for prospective buyers.
Here are our three top tips to quickly and easily improve the health stats of your small business:
Burn off excess expenses
Unnecessary operational costs can build up over the years and can be neglected in the everyday running of a business. These surplus expenses can have a very negative effect on profits.
Vigorous financial analysis is the only way to buff-up your assets. Take the time to study all outgoing expenses and work out actual value versus cost:
- Minimize phone/internet expenses by negotiating a better contract—or, better still, call it on calls altogether and invest in a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) system which will be a lot cheaper in the long-run.
- Make sure you are not being over-charged by suppliers: look out for incorrect invoice amounts, double billing and missing discounts.
- Research cheaper suppliers where possible, or ask for discounts and/or better payment terms from existing ones.
- Analyze the financial benefit of all marketing and get rid of what isn’t working
- Scrap frequent, small bills and organize larger upfront payments. Request early payment discounts for all bills, including rent if possible.
Build core muscle
Getting your business fit to sell isn’t all about reduction. Reinvesting any savings into new technologies that streamline management of tasks, customer relations, finance and marketing solutions will strengthen your enterprise from within and seriously improve saleability:
- Invest in one of the latest task management apps. They are great time-saving tools that enable the assignation and management of tasks and the sharing of files, calendars and progress reports. Hitask and Basecamp are great examples.
- Streamline your financials with a budgeting tool such as Expensify or Freshbooks. The pain of managing receipts, expense reports and creating invoices will miraculously disappear.
- Investing in a great CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system is a must. Sales, marketing and customer service will be synchronized saving you hours of labor. You will find it far easier to interact with customers and, in turn, leverage the most income out of those relationships. Try Zoho or Colabo.
- Today’s marketing apps allow you to monitor your company’s presence in the outer parameters of your industry and across social media. Automatic analysis of the success/failure of your online marketing enables you to tailor your approach. Mention, Follerwonk and Hootsuite are market leaders.
- The once trusty filing cabinet is fast becoming extinct and every self-respecting business owner is now ditching paperwork and jumping on the cloud. BYOD (bring your own device) is a growing trend within the business community and cloud services have developed quickly in line with this to enable businesses to securely store and share any type of data online.
Another way to tone-up a business is to farm out time-consuming tasks.
Almost anything can be outsourced these days including marketing, web-design and accounting. The extra time saved will enable you to focus on the core growth and development of your business.
As a small business owner operating today, educating yourself about cyber-security and taking steps to prevent attack is essential. Adequate protection will be on any business buyer’s checklist.
In the wake of the high profile hacks of Sony and Target, President Obama kicked 2015 off by placing the combating of cyber-threat high on the agenda of his State of the Union address.
Cyber crime is now considered one of the biggest threats to online enterprise and any business, big or small, can fall prey to an attack.
In fact, a small business is potentially at greater risk. According to a recent report, the number of bots (automated applications that scan websites) now outnumber human visitors and smaller websites receive a relatively higher percentage of bots—up to 80% of all traffic on websites with 1000 or less visitors a day.
Employing relevant security measures to protect your IT system, equipment and sensitive information is vital in an ever-expanding digital work-space:
- Review your existing security on a regular basis. Use a web scanner to detect potential vulnerabilities.
- Get yourself some DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) protection. Small businesses, in particular, can’t afford to stop trading for long periods whilst under attack or pay the ransoms that are frequently demanded to stop it.
- Use two-factor authentication solutions such as Google Authenticator.
Follow this simple three step workout and see your business glow with health!
Author: Nicky Tatley, Senior Writer at BusinessesForSale.com, the market-leading directory of business opportunities from Dynamis. Nicky writes for all titles in the Dynamis Stable including PropertySales.com and FranchiseSales.com.