My staff think I am a tight-arse. Can I cut more?

My dear Aunty B,

My business is going well and we have a good cash flow thanks to a new payment system my CFO has put in place. But my end of year figures are looking pretty shabby. I think my staff regard me as a tight-arse, and I am reluctant to cut back any further. Any suggestions?



Dear AD,

What do you mean you think they regard you as a tight-arse? You want to be SURE they regard you as a tight-arse – that’s your problem.

You, my good friend, are too nice. You should want to hear a few snide jokes in the office, a bit of name calling behind your back at the pub. Only then can you smile, knowing the staff have the message loud and clear – don’t spend a cent unless they have to.

Even then they should grimace and reconsider – is there a better way? A cheaper way that would work as well?

So the simple answer is: Yes! Cut away. In fact you should always be thinking of ways to cut. Here are 20 ideas to get you started.

  1. Raise your prices. You’ll be surprised how few complaints you’ll get about a 5% price increase.
  2. Sack a customer. Think about abandoning demanding customers who eat up too much time for too little reward.
  3. Drop a product from your range. Most companies carry products or services that are just not working or cost too much to produce.
  4. Change your bank. There’s plenty of big and small financial institutions out there, so shop around for the best deal.
  5. Put your printed materials online. Posting documents such as manuals and brochures on your website saves on printing, storage and postage.
  6. Change suppliers. China, India, Vietnam and Thailand are full of companies that can supply products cheaper than in Australia. If you can’t beat the importers, join them.
  7. Put lots of information on your website. This will help reduce the amount of time you spend on the phone answering customer queries.
  8. Bill customers promptly. Get your invoices out as quickly as possible to get them back faster.
  9. Create incentives for creditors to pay faster. Offer a small discount to clients prepared to pay within a week and your cash flow will improve.
  10. Weed out slow payers. Before taking on a major customer, check their credit worthiness and references. Bad debts are bad news.
  11. Use email. Cut postage costs by migrating customers to email.
  12. Cut your inventory. Don’t tie money in the warehouse. Get that money out there working for you. Or better still, get it back in your wallet.
  13. Consider different property options. Moving out of the city can save you a bundle on rent.
  14. Barter. Look for companies with which you can exchange goods and services. It keeps cash in your pocket and helps you network at the same time.
  15. Add a new product or service to your range. Then bundle the new product or service with your new offering and watch revenue grow.
  16. Pay your bills online. It saves on cheque fees and postage costs.
  17. Consolidate your loans. Multiple loans mean multiple sets of fees. Consolidate and save.
  18. Change your phone company. Communications — particularly mobile phones and internet — can be expensive. Review your supplier and don’t sign a contract longer than 12 months unless you’re sure prices aren’t going to fall.
  19. Do things out of season. Conference facilities, hotels and airline flights are cheaper at certain times of the year. Plan around this and save.
  20. Negotiate. It makes some people uncomfortable, but haggle away.

Your Aunty B

Aunty B - Your problems answered by SmartCompany's business bitch

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