10 Simple Tactics Business Owners Can Use to Increase Revenue

Increase RevenueAll business owners want to make more money in less time.

But how? There’s so much to do and so little time to do it.

No matter how you look at it, you will almost always have to trade some of your time for money. But that’s the key — making sure you spend your time wisely and in the most impactful way.

Here are 10 tactics you can implement to increase revenue, be more productive and spend less time wasting money.

1. Make Your First Hire a Smart One

A lot of business owners get overwhelmed with the idea of hiring help–and I’m not just talking about small store-front businesses, I’m talking about solopreneurs and LLC’s too.

But not all businesses have to hire employees, thanks to the growing supply of virtual assistants and remote workers who can perform daily and routine tasks. Either way, it’s vital you make your first hire a smart one.

So who should your first hire be?

Well, depending on your industry, without a doubt your first hire should almost always be a knowledgeable bookkeeper, accountant or lawyer.

You want to start your business off on the right foot, so make sure you spend time researching the best people who can set your business up correctly and keep it running smoothly.

2. Store Papers and Receipts Digitally

Along the same lines of hiring a bookkeeper to organize your financials and bank accounts, you also want to get every last tax deduction you can legally claim. As a small business, every penny saved can go towards making your business more successful.

In order to accurately do this you can store everyday invoices, receipts and paperwork digitally. It will not only make filing a breeze (and reduce the mounds of paperwork), but can prove what your exact expenses were throughout the year.

Some of my favorite apps are Shoeboxed, SignEasy and Dropbox. Each of these tools have the capability to save and store your documents and receipts for easy accessibility on the go.

Now the papers are off your desk and onto your tax return and getting you the most tax savings possible.

3. Sign up for Automatic Payments and Invoicing

Completing something without you having to actually do anything — what’s not to love about that?

These days you can automate everything from paying bills to invoicing to collecting payments from customers, which means you can spend less time running your business and more time on big money projects and customer service.

This also helps out your bookkeeper or accountant (and saves you money) since they aren’t having to make payments manually. Writing checks and mailing them via snail mail is both time consuming and expensive.

Sign up for automatic bill pay, paperless statements and recurring invoicing. You won’t regret it.

4. Update and Enforce Current Contracts

Customer contracts, policies and other business procedures can get outdated quickly. Our technological society is moving at a fast pace, so it’s important you re-evaluate your processes and contracts on a consistent basis.

Maybe one small change or tweak can save you (or your clients) time and money. Plus, reviewing your current contracts will reveal who your best — or worst — customers are, so you know where to put the majority of your time and energy.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Utilize Spreadsheets

Using spreadsheets might seem daunting at first, but don’t be afraid to put them to work for you and your business. They aren’t that complicated once you get used to them.

Google Doc spreadsheets in particular are great for sharing among team members and employees when working on projects. You can easily track income, expenses, project budgets, goals, progress and more. All of which keep you on target to reaching your six-figure-income-a-year mark.

Two heads are better than one, so why not employ the creativity and smarts of all your team members by tracking your business goals in spreadsheets?

6. Keep Meetings and Phone Calls to a Minimum

Phone calls, customer service inquires and constant staff meetings break up the flow of smoothly running a business. All of these things can disrupt your day and cause stagnation in productivity.

This is why I love email so much — it’s not invasive (you can check it at a certain time every day), it doesn’t interrupt meetings, and you can reply when it’s convenient for you.

Yes, sometimes it’s better to make a quick phone call to discuss details, but the constant chatter and interruptions can be kept to a minimum if you embrace the use of email more. Plus, you’ll have written documentation of ideas, conversations, tasks and to-do’s.

7. Document Daily or Repeated Tasks to Outsource Them

Before I left my full-time accounting job, I made a complete list with a detailed step-by-step guide on how each of my daily and weekly tasks needed to be done. This cut the training time of the girl replacing me in half, and since then I’ve only gotten 3 emails with questions for clarification.

If you want your team and your business to run like clockwork, without you always having to micromanage and interfere, then you must document daily tasks.

Once you’ve gotten the tasks and projects outlined, it will be very easy to outsource them to virtual assistants or interns.

Even if you’re a control freak like me, you know your steps will be followed to the letter because…well, you wrote it out in black and white. All of the questions, follow-ups and guessing is taken out of the equation. And you get your sanity back!

8. Embrace Online Tools and Apps

Mobile phones and tablets have made it very accessible to run your business — or at least manage it — from anywhere. No matter where you are, you can answer your emails, check your bank accounts or sign important documents without ever being at your office.

Start embracing online tools and apps that will help your business run more efficiently. It took me a long time to come around to this idea, since I liked setting aside time to sit in front of the computer and work.

But once I saw how freeing it could be to get work done outside of the office, I started embracing it more and more.

9. Limit Social Media Accounts

Not all businesses should be on social media, and some shouldn’t be on them at all. What really matters is who your target audience is, where they hang out and what channel they prefer to use for customer service.

Trying to be on all types of social media accounts is just a time and money suck for your business. Instead you should focus on 1-3 main channels and forget the rest.

You’ll be much more successful, and have a higher level of customer interaction if you spend time on a few good social media channels, instead of being bad at all of them.

10. Batch Weekly and Monthly Tasks

This is something I learned from the very smart (and very successful) Marie Forleo. Every Tuesday she releases a new episode of Marie TV. Sometimes she’s in Italy, at her summer home in Los Angeles or on vacation, and yet, each Tuesday an episode still lands in my inbox.

How can she do this and never skip a beat?

Batching! Whenever she’s at her office in New York she spends hours and hours filming episodes for her show. Her entire team and all the equipment is already assembled, so they go right into work/creative mode.

Then she’s free for the next 2-3 months while each new episode is released every week, whether she’s in the office or not. Using batching — doing the same type of tasks in groups —  can make you much more productive and free up a lot of extra time.

Next time you’re answering emails or writing a newsletter, set aside time to answer all of them. After an hour or so, you’re free to spend your time on more productive and revenue increasing tasks.

What’s one tactic you use to make your business run more efficiently?

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Last Edited: March 8, 2014 @ 11:07 pm
About Carrie Smith

Carrie Smith is an ex small business accountant who now helps freelancers and entrepreneurs get out of debt and organize their lives, so they can fund their dream business. Find her on Twitter @carefulcents.

Comments

  1. amandaabella says:

    Awesome post Carrie! Definitely applying some of these to my own business:)

  2. YourDailyFin says:

    NIce tips Carrie the one I used the most was storing things digitally.  I saves on time and effort and allow me to do other things to be more productive with my time.  Collecting payments by Paypal on recurring bases makes thing a lot cost effective as well.

  3. EmilyChaseSmith says:

    I love #4.  Entrepreneurs need to have the cajones to ask for the money they have earned.  I think sometimes we, especially women, walk away without engaging in solid collection efforts.  Sometimes a “reminder” is all a client needs to get you paid.

  4. anonymous says:

    Stopped in the middle of reading and sent another email to my recalcitrant customer who has neither paid nor answered my emails and phone calls.  Next up — actual snail mail.  And, in reserve – I will ‘review’ him on his local Yelp and BBB and maybe Angie’s list. (I will warn him ahead of time that I will be publicizing his nonpayment. His choice whether it happens or not.)