As an entrepreneur, you are constantly looking for ways to maximize your business’s profitability. You want to make sure you are bringing in enough money to cover your expenses and take home a little extra for yourself.
There are many ways to increase the revenue of your company. You can implement innovative ideas and strategies that will lead to more sales. You can also expand your business and reach out to more customers so you have the potential to earn more.
However, there are also some simple ways that you can increase profits that don’t require a lot of time or money.
Amanda Doll, Owner and CEO of Amanda Doll Consulting, offers 10 ideas to help you increase your profits, with minimal hassle.
1. Track Income and Expenses
A chart of accounts and a profit and loss statement are musts for your business. The chart of accounts tracks revenue coming in and expenses going out. This chart of accounts then feeds your profit and loss statement, which will calculate where you’re profiting versus spending money.
Ideally, you’ll want to hire a CPA or an accountant to handle your chart of accounts and profit and loss statement. You can give your CPA access to your business bank account and credit card statements so they can keep track on your behalf.
2. Renegotiate With Preferred Vendors
A word about that profit and loss statement: Always look at it at least once a month. This way, you’ll be able to recognize any areas where you can trim expenses or examine recurring costs for opportunities to save. “You should be able to see what you’re netting every month,” says Amanda.
For those vendors you use on a regular basis, the profit and loss statement will help you see any areas where you could trim costs. They might be willing to renegotiate if you ask to downgrade or cancel your services or request a discount because you’re sending them a lot of business.
3. Get Your Current Customers to Buy More
We need new customers, but what about the people who are already customers? Is there an opportunity to upgrade them or funnel them into another service?
For example, says Amanda, not everyone is ready for her one-on-one coaching, but they may be willing to upgrade later after getting a taste of her services. Whether it’s educational classes, masterminds, or a higher-tier subscription, there are always opportunities to transition current clients into another arm of your business.
4. Audit Your Time
Over the course of two weeks, carry a notepad around everywhere and write down everything you do in your business. Document every activity with a timestamp so you know how long it took you.
After you’ve written everything down, circle everything that is dollar-productive, i.e., making the business money. Everything else is the minutiae of the business that has to be done but could be outsourced or given to an hourly employee.
When you get to the end of the two weeks, you’ll have clarity on where you’re spending the bulk of your time. This log also becomes the job description for the person you can hire to handle any tasks that you can offload on someone else!
5. Get Leverage
Whether it’s a system, a process, or a person, there is always a tool you can leverage to make your life easier and free up your time.
Amanda offers the example of calend.ly, an online scheduling software. For a low monthly cost, she’s able to automate appointment scheduling and gain back at least seven hours in her week. There are plenty of similar free or low-cost tools out there that can help you manage your time.
6. Get Sponsorships
Find other ways to make your relationships with vendors win-wins! Amanda recruited lenders, title companies, and other regular vendors to sponsor client events. You can also get sponsors for team-building events so you don’t have to incur that cost.
In this case, vendors get additional exposure; meanwhile, you don’t have to pay for events out of pocket—nor do you have to take the time to carve out a budget for such expenses.
7. Hire Interns
Hiring interns can be a cost-effective way to hand off smaller tasks, such as data entry, errands, or envelope stuffing. Amanda ran an internship program for four years with both high school and college students.
In some cases, interns are required to work for free if they’re getting credits for college, or you may pay them minimum wage. Check with your local schools to inquire whether they run an internship program and how you can tap into their pool of interns.
8. Run Contests and Giveaways
Running a contest or a giveaway builds excitement and won’t cost you a fortune. Maybe you run a contest among your salespeople where the person who gets the most qualified appointments or leads within 30 days gets a cash prize or a weekend getaway.
You can also run a giveaway among your sphere of influence, offering a prize in exchange for referrals. The small amount you spend on a contest or a giveaway will be worth the return if you get qualified new leads.
9. Ask for Referrals
As you’re working with clients, don’t be afraid to ask who else they know who could benefit from your services. Amanda explains that if she’s helping someone with one of the most important purchases of their life—a new home—she’s going to ask for referrals.
A simple “Who else do you know who could use our help the way we’re helping you right now?” could help you discover new clients. If you’re working hard and delivering results for your clients, they’ll be happy to connect you with their network.
10. Establish a Business Plan
Hopefully by now, you have a goal and you’ve identified what and why you want to accomplish it. The plan of action, your business plan, is the how.
“I’m not married to the how,” adds Amanda. It can pivot and course-correct as needed. So while your goal and your why are fixed, the plan can and should change along the way.