6 ways to cut business expenses

Savings - Pixabay

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question,what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers. 

Whether your business is one with a physical product or one that provides a services, chances are you are always looking for ways to save money on reoccurring expenses. Here are 6 ways to cut some of those expenses: 

  1. Automate Tasks
    Hiring people to do every task in your office can be out of reach for most solopreneurs. You may not be in the position to hire someone full-time, but you might be able to afford to automate some of your minor tasks. Automation may mean using software and apps for things like scheduling, email marketing, mileage tracking and others. Consider making a list of the minor tasks and researching if there is a good way to automate them.
  2. Reach Customers by Using Data Wisely
    It used to be challenging for businesses to reach out to customers directly. But these days, all kinds of businesses can use customer data to their advantage. Think of customer data as similar to the way Facebook targets advertising. But without basic information, you can’t begin to find other similar customers. Consider asking for contact details when customers visit your website. At minimum, ask for contact information when you make a sale. Just make sure you follow all the relevant data protection laws.
  3. Search For the Right Hosting Service
    The hosting service you use is important because it dictates how your website operates. If you have a poor service, there might be a lot of downtime and you might end up with frustrated customers. Make sure you compare your options and read reviews of your hosting service. If you think it’s time to switch provider, you should make use of this hosting guide. That way, you can find the a provider that is cost-effective and suitable for your business and website demands. 
  4. Keep the Office Compact
    We’ve talked before about how your workspace is critical to your business. Whether the office is in your home or in your community, make sure you have enough space to do what is necessary, but no excess.
  5. Find Customers and Business People on LinkedIn
    You might think networking and advertising are expensive and highly competitive, but there are other ways to reach a similar audience without spending a lot of money and competing against bigger businesses with bigger budgets. Don’t be afraid to use LinkedIn. As you’re probably aware, LinkedIn is a social media platform designed for and dedicated to business professionals. LinkedIn is a good way to meet other business owners and offer deals and initiatives to customers. 
  6. Respond to Questions the Cheap and Easy Way
    Potential customers often have questions. In addition to a good About Us page, make sure you have a relevant FAQ page on your website. The FAQ page should answer key questions about your business. If you aren’t sure what to include on the FAQ page, think about the top five or 10 questions you get asked all the time. The questions where you don’t even have to think about the answer because you know the answers so well. 
    Questions - Pixabay
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How To Decrease The Stress Of Running A Business

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Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question,what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

As a business owner (big or small!) you likely work more than the traditional 40 hours a week. Over time, those long hours can take a toll on you and your health. There are a few tips to help reduce your overall stress even if you’re burning the candle at both ends.

  • Don’t Take Your Work Home
    If you do a quick browse of Google for business-related stress, this point comes up again and again. As a business owner, you expect to work long hours. However, 
    taking your work into your personal life sets you on a path to a stress-filled existence. You need to give yourself time to rest and recharge. Otherwise, you’re going to be burnt out on a permanent basis, and your work will suffer.
  • Work On Your Organizational Skills
    Stress often creeps in as a result of feeling overwhelmed. If this is the case, it’s probably because you aren’t organized enough! If you feel like there’s just too much work to get done, you need to start managing your workload and if you have employees, their workload more effectively. When it comes to business, a lack of organization is often a result of not planning enough or in some worst cases, micromanaging. You can even micromanage yourself! Having a clear goal in mind is important in order to put you on the right path, so it might be a case of simply going back to the drawing board and starting from what it is you want to accomplish.
  • Seek Help When You Need It
    Just because you’re the business owner, it doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to ask for help! This is the very point of outsourcing, so if you’re finding it tough to create an effective marketing strategy, get the experts to do it, like J & A Creative! If you’re suffering from financial problems and don’t know where to turn, seek business insolvency adviceThere is always help available, you just have to know where to look for it and ask.
  • Don’t Beat Yourself Up
    As a business owner, the blame always ends up at you. Things will go wrong in your business, and the key to improving is not to beat yourself up. Everyone makes mistakes, especially when they’re in a position of power, even if it is just power over yourself. Learn from their mistakes and use it as fuel to bolster future performance.
  • Take Things One Day At A Time
    Success is never instant, no matter how much you might like it to be. Even if you’ve been working tirelessly for a year, and you haven’t enjoyed much success, it’s important not to give up. Every day is an opportunity for something big to happen. Eventually, with the right perseverance, you’ll hopefully get there. For now, concentrate on the upcoming day’s work and nothing else. It’ll stop you from feeling stressed and overwhelmed about what’s to come in the future.

If you’re suffering from stress, and you can’t kick it, visit your doctor, who can help get you in touch with other experts as needed.

Quick Tips On How To Make Employee Management Easier

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Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question,what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers. 

You probably became your own boss because you liked working for yourself more than you liked working for someone else. If you’re lucky to have outgrown solopreneurship and need to hire an additional employee or employees, consider implementing a few elements that might have made you more likely to stay at your last position. There are a few universal tactics that when implemented correctly could help you have a great relationship with dedicated and loyal employees. 

Make Work Flexible
As a business owner, it’s not your job to coddle employees. But if you can take steps to improve their quality of life while achieving your business goals, you should. Clock watchers just make everyone miserable. If appropriate, consider making work time flexible and trust your employees to get the work done. Employers who insist on certain working hours often end up creating a lot more work for themselves.

There have been great advances in remote working tools and there are many apps help businesses manage communication with staff and conduct projects.

Automate Payroll
Most people without experience in business assume that wages are the only cost of employing people. But there are plenty of other expenses that go along with the hiring and employing process. One of those expenses is managing payroll. Businesses spend hundreds of hours filing payroll taxes and payroll paperwork and it costs time in addition to money.

Fortunately, the process can be automated by using payroll software such as payroll 1099 software ETC

Be More Transparent
Recently, the American Psychological Association posted a report on employee trust. They found that around a quarter of workers in the US don’t trust their employer. About a half of all those questioned said they didn’t believe their company was always candid. A lack of trust makes the job of managing people a lot harder because employees are always questioning motives and concerned about ulterior motives.

Another consequence of a lack of trust is that employees aren’t forthcoming. If they recognize a problem, they’re more likely to keep it to themselves than to inform you. Thus, companies that lack transparency are more liable to have to deal with crises that seemed to come out of nowhere when usually there was something small that could have been fixed early in the process for a lot less time and money.

The other problem is that it is a barrier to collaboration. Employees often want to work together to solve problems. But if the culture is closed, problem-solving becomes harder. People are unwilling to share information that could be used to solve a problem or make a process better.

Build A Community
Management might not like this fact, but companies that are peer-to-peer tend to be a lot more successful. We’ve all grown up in a world where hierarchy is assumed to be the best way to do business. But innovative companies are showing that this is not necessarily the case. Just look at the success that companies like Valve have had using the peer-to-peer model.

The lesson here seems to be that a community of equals is far more productive than a hierarchy. Employees are more likely to feel that they have support and a stake in the organization. As a result, they’ll work harder and enjoy their job more.

Five places to review business speed

Pixabay - Watch

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question,what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

These days, people don’t want to wait for anything. Your business goal should be to make sure your customers are not waiting longer than they should be for goods or for service. Here are five areas you should check your speed and response rate.

  1. Your website
    There’s a saying: no Internet is better than slow Internet. While that may not be true for everyone, if your business relies on an internet connection for processing payments or  getting clients and customers. While you don’t have control over the internet connection, you do have control when it comes to the speed at which your website loads, in this case, faster is better.
    Pixabay - Clothes
  2. Browsing
    If you have a brick and mortar store with products, the browsing process should be intuitive. A customer should be able to find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible. This means you need to have things categorized correctly. Make sure labelling is clear and accurate, and that you’re not mixing unrelated items with each other. If you have to rearrange anything, make sure you can quickly convey where the product is now. Grocery stores and beloved Target are notorious for rearranging product but not being able to tell customers where the product went. Don’t be like Target or the grocery store.  plans are made clear to consumers beforehand.
  3. The sale
    When the customer is purchasing a product or service, you should also aim to make this as quick as possible. This is, perhaps, more relevant to physical stores than it is to online stores. After all, a slow transaction time means that a long queue is more likely to form. Long queues frustrate people and can cause someone to step out of line and never complete the intended purchase. Be sure you know how to improve credit card transaction times to the best of your ability.
  4. Postage
    When people think about “speed” in retail businesses, this is usually what they’re thinking about. People love to shop online, but they hate that wait between the purchase and actually getting the item. Smaller businesses and startups might find themselves at a disadvantage in this regard, as super-fast delivery can be expensive. Some businesses (such as pizza places and food delivery) can afford to do handle deliveries themselves. Others have special partnerships with delivery chains. Others are simply willing to pay for the delivery in order to ensure customer satisfaction. See if you can find couriers that specialize in helping smaller businesses with ultra-fast delivery.
  5. Customer service
    Something isn’t right with your product or service and you have a potentially unhappy customer. You need to make sure you’re dealing with any customer queries and complaints as fast as possible. If you have the resources to hire more customer service representatives, do it. Also, don’t be afraid to use templates in email correspondence. Of course, make sure each email is personalised to some extent – people get annoyed when they know the response they got is just a copy-paste job!

4 Things Small Businesses Can Learn From The Corporate World

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Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question,what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Small businesses have some advantages over larger scale organizations but there are four specific things small businesses should be copying early on.

  1. They are built to last
    It’s easy to view large organizations as always being offensive, but more often larger organizations are defensive. They grow because they need to protect their market share and have the means to do so. They make profits because shareholders expect good returns. Large organizations have the ability to standardize everything from workplace safety and employee health to customer service. You should be creating those same foundations for your small business particularly early on.
  2. They delegate
    As a small business owner, you are probably used to doing everything yourself or maybe even micromanaging your staff. Larger organizations excel at delegation because they hire people who can take ownership of the necessary tasks. In some cases there is a CEO, then a team of directors below them, each responsible for an aspect of the firm followed by office department heads and all kinds of operations team positions. Everyone has a place and understands exactly what they need to do in clear terms. It’s something that all small business owners can understand a little more.Small Change - Pixabay
  3. They understand the numbers
    Large organizations understand everything is a cost and opportunity. Not everyone is an accountant, so when it comes to small business, it might be hard for you to get a grip on where every penny is going and what opportunities there are for making changes. For example, if you are a small ecommerce business, make sure you know exactly what is in your inventory and have a plan for tracking all items. This case study about tdp textiles highlights the big impact watching those numbers can have on a business. It’s not just your inventory. It’s the logistics costs, staff expenses, and even the amount of fuel you use for a vehicle every day. If you watch monitor (or have someone monitoring) those numbers, it will be far easier to get your costs down.
  4. They hire the right people
    Finally, large organizations take a lot of time to make sure they hire the right people. It’s a route that your small business should take, too. Forget about qualifications and credentials – they are just the starting point. Instead, look at a candidate’s interest in your business, and desire to do their best. You should end up employees who will help you drive your business to the next level, rather than someone who looks good on paper but doesn’t perform to the expected level.