When finances start to dry up, our first instinct is usually to look for ways to increase our fees and income. What is often overlooked, however, is how cash flow can be significantly improved by stopping leaks and spills in your everyday accounts.
When you’re trying to run a business, time and money are your most valuable assets. In this feature, we’re looking at three ways you can spend a little time to save a lot of money, and keep your business above water.
#1 Tracking Transactions
Studying your bank statements isn’t a particularly fun or creative task, but it’s something all small business owners should get in the habit of doing. Taking ten minutes to check your transactions at the end of each month can uncover all kinds of leakages, including:
- Online subscriptions – how many times have you tested a new app or program with a ‘free trial’ lure. If you’ve handed over your credit card details in order to get the download, and haven’t cancelled the account when you discovered you wouldn’t really need said app or program, a new sneaky debit could be an expensive long-term leak.
- Increased service fees – monthly payments for insurances and other services are super convenient and can help your cash flow. They can, however, make us a bit lax when it comes to comparing prices at renewal time. When you’re keeping a check on your monthly debits, you may be surprised at the increase in premiums and fees between one year and another. When you see an increase, take action right away and investigate your options (more about that below).
- ATM and bank fees – withdrawing cash from random ATMs will typically incur a sneaky fee; a couple of bucks seems insignificant, but these ‘drips’ can certainly add up. The same goes for monthly bank fees – can these be negotiated with your bank? Will another bank offer a ‘no-fee’ account? What kind of interest rate are you paying on your credit card? Could you do better with another type of card, or perhaps another lending institution?
#2 Comparing Cover
We all gripe about paying insurance, but not having cover when you need it could cause a lot more pain down the track. Finding the best value insurance is essential: allow yourself ten minutes per week for the next four weeks to price check your business insurances (PI & PL, Vehicle, Office or Home & Contents and – while you’re at it – health insurance). Ask how much you’ll save by paying annually rather than monthly. Compare the savings you make to your hourly rate, and you’ll see it’s time well spent.
Note: when you’re looking at PI & PL, don’t forget our tailor-made group policy. This cover is designed for designers (so you know it’s a good fit), and with the benefits of a group buying power, it’s a hard-to-beat price. Learn more here.
#3 Managing your Mobile
The cost of calls is less of an issue than the drain of data in most mobile plans. Depending on your out-of-office (and away from wi-fi) usage, you may be well over-covered with an unlimited plan or way under-covered with consistent data add-ons. Check out the data usage for your most-used apps and services: web browsing is light on (around 60MB per hour), as is Facebook (80MB per hour for scrolling, 160MB per hour for cat videos). Instagram, on the other hand, is one of the most data-intensive apps you’re likely to use on a daily basis, sucking up around 720MB per hour. Ask your service provider to talk through your data usage, and see if you can negotiate a better deal. (And think carefully about where you’re using Insta!)
If you have some other small-business-savers, we’d love to hear from you – comment below.