Every penny counts, especially when the economy is uncertain.
Whether it’s finding equipment and supplies at a discount or staying on top of receivables; managing margin is in the spotlight more than ever.
Here are three resources that may help you keep a close eye on your profit margins:
(1) One place to check for discounts is the Government Liquidators website. It takes a little searching but if you are in need of big ticket items from computer equipment to heavy machinery to vehicles, you might spend a little time browsing the surplus site. They have locations around the country as well as Internet Auctions. An interesting find.
(2) Ryon Gambill has founded Bill Collector in a Box. It’s a billing and collection software designed for small business owners. Ryon offers biz owners a few suggestions for improving your ability to collect:
– Add a bold due date to your invoice
– Make certain customer service issues are addressed
– Get a customer’s signature acknowledging acceptance of the terms of your agreement
– Start collection efforts immediately when an invoice becomes past due
(3) Time is money, especially for freelance consultants whose primary product is their time and knowledge. Jan Lukacs “marketing guy” and friend of Small Business Trends let us know about an online service called Paymo designed to help business owners track the amount of time spent on a project. When estimating how long a project will take — using the hard data from a time management system will help you more accurately set your price. Paymo offers a free service for life for small businesses tracking time for less than three employees. If you have more employees — the fee is reasonable — $3.99 a month. Sign up is a breeze — I just signed up for a free account and it is currently ticking away how long it takes me to craft this post.
What steps are you taking to stretch your margin dollars? Have you seen a slow down in customer payments? Are you holding off on making large purchases? Or is it business as usual?