Improving Your Bottom Line: It’s the little things that count: a 10 percent increase in profit is more likely to come from 20 things that contribute a half a percent each than from one thing that gives you the full 10 percent. Here are 15 tips to help you cut costs and increase your bottom line.
Page 2 (Read the First 8 Tips)
9. E-Mail Rather Than Telephone. Use e-mail rather than playing telephone tag and incurring unnecessary long-distance telephone charges. Make sure your company’s e-address is on your stationery, business cards, invoices, shipping papers, advertising and anything else that reaches the outside world. And make the e-addresses relevant, i.e., on invoices, include the accounting e-address; on stationery, a general information e-address; on shipping papers, the shipping department and/or accounting.
10. Do Your Own. If you spend a lot of money on outside professional fees, considering hiring in-house paralegals, researchers, accountants, and lawyers, which can cut your professional bills substantially. In one venture where we were involved, we used law firms in 15-20 different countries, and our legal bills were extremely high. We hired a paralegal, gave her the title of compliance officer, and had her review and write all contracts, security policies and other documents, which were then reviewed by our lawyers, rather than them writing the document.
One simple legal process that you can do on your own without even using a paralegal, is to incorporate. I have incorporated dozens of companies using the Company Corporation, and you can select a particular state or register in the US if you are a foreign company. You can find them online at MyCorporation.com.
11. Shop Your Banking. Banks are continually adding fees to try and recover their costs. You should carefully review your accounts. Consider asking for bids on your banking business every three years, as you would your suppliers. You may have grown, and need a new type of banking relationship.
12. 101 Questions To Ask Your CPA. This free guide contains questions to ask about financing, analyzing the firm’s competitive standing, lease/purchase decisions, how to structure a business, business insurance, and more. Send a SASE to: Division for CPA Firms, American Institute of CPAs, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036.
13. Quicker Credit Checks. When you give credit to people, be sure they fill out an application. It should include not only business references, but also full name, address, social security and driver’s license numbers of the owner of the business. Why should a customer wait two to four weeks for you to receive their credit check through one of the large companies like TRW. Instead, ask for COD on the first order, and do some of your own credit checking until the TRW comes in. While banks are usually reluctant to release specifics about their customers, you can ask them if their balance is at least twice as much as necessary to cover your order. Then look for the banker to use words such as honest, respectable, and trustworthy in describing their customer’s abilities.
14. Cut Printing Costs. If you spend more than $500 on a printing job, it can pay to shop around. Contact local printers, mail order printers or search online. We recently bid out a business card order and sent the image to ten printers online. We got back ten different prices, and a lot of gobblygook – technobabble, that we didn’t understand. We chose the one who told us in plain English, which was also one of the most reasonable. We then had another larger tri-fold print job, which we asked them to do, and they were intellectually honest enough to tell us they specialize in short runs, and declined to bid on this larger job.
15. Reduce Telemarketing Calls. Do what I do when receiving a telemarketing call. Ask if they are buying or selling. If selling, I’m not buying. Also, tell your staff about the law that says when someone calls them, they can specifically ask not to receive any future calls. The company then has to put your company on the their list to avoid. You can also send your name, address, and phone number to the Telephone Preference Service, c/o the Direct Marketing Association, and you will be deleted from their members’ telemarketing lists. The operative word here is “members.”
16. The IRS, Pay Or Fight? When you get hit with an IRS additional tax levy, consider fighting it. According to IRS’s statistics, of 40,000 tax cases sent to appellate level 75 percent were settled by agreement. There are two methods of appeal: 1) directly through the IRS’s administrative process, or 2) directly to litigation in the courts. The second course of action is rarely chosen because most disputes are settled at the appellate level. If agreement can be reached at this level, a court challenge is still available.
George Matyjewicz, PhD is Global Strategist of GAP Enterprises, Ltd.His dissertation “Just In Time Payments And The New Global Currency For Conducting Business In A Global Economy” was compiled from 3+ decades experience in the business world. He was formerly President/General Manager of a global digital currency company with customers in 190 countries and Chief E-Commerce Officer for a global giftware company. He was a Principal/Partner at a top 20 U.S. CPA/Consulting firm. He is regularly published as an expert on global business, finance, technology and implementation and writes and publishes E-Tailer’s Digest which reaches retailers in 50+ countries worldwide.