Whether your business is thriving or struggling, there’s always room for improvement. And every business owner should always be on the lookout for the next big thing that provides a boost to their operations

To help inspire you toward your next big improvement, this article will cover eight ideas to improve your business, including:

  1. Trust the numbers.
  2. Know your business.
  3. Prioritise cash flow over cost cutting. 
  4. Stop misusing social media.
  5. Recognise opportunity costs.
  6. Try the 60/20/20 approach.
  7. Don’t do it all by yourself.
  8. Separate your personal and business expenses.

1. Trust the numbers

Numbers don’t lie, people do. Or, at least, people get things wrong sometimes, including you. 

By this, we simply mean that your business decisions should be guided by concrete information, rather than feelings and intuition. This can be a particular issue for business owners who’ve experienced a lot of success, or at least have a lot of experience in their field. 

For example, if you’re excited about a new product, it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that the product is performing well in terms of sales. You might pay attention to the purchases you see and the good reviews you read, while ignoring the amount that never left the shelves. 

Always refer to the numbers to tell you what’s actually happening. If something’s not performing well, change it. 

2. Know your business

Following from the last point, information is generally your friend, so surround yourself with as much of it as possible. You should know the financial details of your business at all times. Not last week’s details, the current details. 

As long as you know exactly what’s going on at the core of your business, you won’t be caught off-guard by nasty surprises

3. Prioritise cash flow over cost cutting

Running out of cash is one of the biggest reasons that small businesses fail. We’re not talking about profit, but actual cash. It’s possible for a business to be profitable on paper, but without any immediate cash, you won’t be able to handle your immediate financial obligations, like bills and employee wages. These are the kinds of things that will stop a business dead in its tracks. 

The habit that some business owners fall into is spending too much time cutting costs and finding creative ways to lower their taxable income. Everybody likes finding clever ways to save money, but focus your energy on increasing your cash flow first, then supplement your earnings with tactical financial management. 

4. Stop misusing social media

It’s tempting to use social media as another point of sale, some platforms even encourage it by giving you the option. But try to avoid it if you can. 

Most people don’t appreciate adverts when they’re scrolling through Facebook, because social media is a place for building relationships. 

Instead, use social media to market your business by finding followers and keeping them engaged with unique, interesting content. Your focus should be about promoting your brand, not selling your products. 

5. Recognise opportunity costs

Because money is often an issue with small businesses, owners sometimes make decisions that seem like good financial moves on the surface, but actually have hidden “opportunity costs”. 

Opportunity cost means the cost of not using your time to its fullest potential, and it can play out in a number of ways. 

For example, hiring custodial staff might seem like an unnecessary expense. After all, you can clean your own office, right? But the time you spend cleaning could be spent doing something else, something that might lead to more income in the future. Suddenly, the money you’ve saved on hiring outside staff is negated by the money you lost by not growing your business. 

Alternatively, you might decide to take on a new client that isn’t the best fit for your business. Maybe they’re difficult to work with, or they don’t align with your business values, but the income is too good an opportunity to pass up. While you may be getting income from this client, the resources you’ve used could have been spent finding a better client that actually grows your business and your brand. 

Start thinking about yourself as an investment. Learning to recognise opportunity cost will help you get the best possible return.

6. Try the 60/20/20 approach

The 60/20/20 approach is a time management strategy that encourages business owners to use their time more effectively. 

Instead of powering through tasks 100% of the time, split your time up into blocks. 60% of your time can still be used to focus on tasks, but they should be essential things that can only be done by you.

Then, set aside 20% of your time to plan how you’ll use the resources you currently have for business operations. The final 20% should be used for strategy, thinking about how you can improve your business moving forward.  

7. Don’t do it all by yourself

Being in charge can be a lonely experience. At the end of the day, all the big decisions, worries, and successes are on you. 

But nobody can work completely alone for too long, so surround yourself with a support network that can help with difficult situations and share in your accomplishments. Whether its advisers, peers, friends, or family, use your support network when you need it. 

It’s not just for emotional support either. You should never hesitate to ask others for advice and guidance, especially from people whose opinions you value. 

8. Separate your personal and business expenses

When you’re starting your own business, it’s important to keep your personal and business finances separate from day one – to save yourself from time-consuming admin further down the line. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that makes this easy. The simple app allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Find out more here.