Want to make more money in your small business? Who doesn’t? Usually, when small business owners think of ways to make more money, they consider things that are pretty tough, like developing new products or services, opening new locations, or adding an eighth day of the week so they can work 24/8 instead of just 24/7.
Relax. There are ways to put more money in your small business bank account at the end of the month—some are absurdly easy—that won’t take too much time, and most won’t cost you much.
1. Rent out unused space
Have extra office space or a conference room that often sits idle? Rent it out on a site like LiquidSpace or PivotDesk. If you own a retail shop and have extra space, consider renting part to a complementary business. For example, if yours is a toy store, find a maker or local craftsperson who makes children’s clothing.
2. Cut expenses
Cutting expenses boosts profits. Are you paying for services and subscriptions you no longer use? When’s the last time you renegotiated your Internet service? Your insurance? Utilities? Service providers slowly raise prices, especially on long-term customers. With the FCC about to end net neutrality, expect your small business Internet prices to rise, so renegotiate rates now.
Do you only have one priced product or service? Consider adding more function-rich, pricier versions. Here’s an easy example: say a spa offers only one-hour massages. They’ll make more money when they also offer 90-minute massages, hot stone massages, aromatherapy massages. What’s the equivalent of a hot stone massage in your business?
Another way to get more money from each customer is to offer complementary products or services. Remember that spa? They also offer body lotions, scrubs, and candles for sale, too.
5. Charge more
Maybe you’re just charging too little. Take a look at what your competitors charge. Has it been a long time since you raised your prices? Could you raise your price by five or ten percent? It’s likely most people won’t notice.
6. Get found, free
The easiest, cheapest advertising is to make sure you’re listed on the search engines, with details about your offerings, hours, even pictures. “Claim” your business on Google My Business, Bing Places, and Yelp. It’s free and helps you get found when someone in your area looks for a business like yours.
7. Pay for targeted ads on Facebook
These are incredibly easy to set up and you can target your market very narrowly. For example, a seafood restaurant can target people who like oysters, dining out, and live within one or two zip codes of the restaurant. Where else can you advertise like that?
8. Buy ads on Google Adwords
Maintaining social media campaigns—writing posts, taking or finding accompanying pics, responding to comments —takes time. You might be better off buying ads from Google Adwords which makes your business more visible when people search and just put your ads on autopilot.
9. Give yourself a sales quota
Need more customers and already have leads? Every day, make at least three sales calls. These calls add up. Over a month, you’ll have made 20 to 60 new sales calls. Contact prospects, current customers, and referrals.
10. Get referrals from existing customers
Ask your best customers to tell their friends and family about you—and then reward them when they do, with discounts on products or services.
11. Take your three best customers to lunch
People do business with people they like. Don’t make your business lunch seem like a sales call. Instead, ask for an informal get-together. The holidays are a perfect excuse for an invitation. Once you’ve taken the time to get to know your guests, setting up a sales call in the future will be easier.
12. Stop wasting time
Spend less time on tasks that can be automated and free up more time for sales. Send invoices with a few clicks using QuickBooksOnline, Xero, or FreshBooks; collaborate on documents with Google Docs or Dropbox rather than sending a gazillion emails back and forth; schedule social media posts with Hootsuite or Buffer; and definitely check out the new Microsoft 365 Business, which offers a full range of small business apps in one online package, including invoicing, document sharing, email marketing and more. It’s time to enter the 21st century.
Copyright, Rhonda Abrams, 2017
This article originally ran in USA Today on November 29, 2017