There are a million-and-one ways to run a business, but few of them are going to push you further than your dodgy website on the internet.
Just think of the competition you’re facing – galumphing corporate giants like Amazon court millions of sales a week, while high street behemoths and supermarkets give the average small business about as much of a chance of surviving as a bluebottle careering towards a windscreen.
That’s why the savvy business owner has to know their limits – and how to cut the right corners.
So where can you cut yours to make a smashing profit in your business?
Know when to deliver
We’ve all suffered at the hands of dreadful delivery drivers. You’ll either receive your package 15 days late, not at all or with more damages than a tricycle pushed through a thrashing machine.
A nightmare. And it’s a fate you don’t want your customers to endure.
Whether you need a courier to China or Timbuctoo, shop around to find the best delivery service you can.
Since Royal Mail fell under the thumb of privatisation, a ton of smaller, peppier delivery firms have opened up to plug the gap. Some of them will offer everything from recorded delivery, real time tracking options or other VIP treatment.
So the lesson is to shop around – for your business and your customers’ sake.
Know your demographic
Behind every great business is an in-depth knowledge of their audience.
And it’s easy to spot when the failures don’t have a clue what they’re selling to customers. Funeral homes aiming for the teen market; vintage clothing stores aimed at pensioners; comic book shops aimed at fashionistas – each every one of these ventures knows diddly-squat about who’s interested in their products.
Yet finding out about customers isn’t necessarily simple. Some businesses pay marketing agencies thousands of pounds to help connect with audiences.
But if you already know your product, you can cut back with simple, good old fashioned common sense.
Send out surveys to users of your product via Facebook, Twitter or your website. That way, you’ll know exactly what customers you should be courting.
With that knowledge in hand, you’ll be able to tailor your marketing budget towards the right market.
Find a freebie
Paying for services is so old hat, right? Well, maybe not quite, but there are plenty of opportunities for freebies in your business.
Contact local companies to see if they’d be willing to work on a tit-for-tat basis; check the web for newbies in your industry searching for free internship experience; find free trials and web-based programs instead of shelling out for pricey software.
The frugal business is ultimately the one that will succeed. Just be sure you don’t skimp on quality for your customers.