On this page
- Customers and sales information review
- Controls for handling cash
- Review expenses
Victoria's Small Business Festival happens in August. It's a great month to try new ways to increase sales and cut costs.
Review your information on customers and sales
Often small businesses earn the majority of their income from a small group of customers or product base. If you understand these patterns, you can spend more time in these areas to quickly increase your sales.
How to do it
- review your sales data in detail. List the sales in order of sales amount per customer or sales amount per product sold
- calculate the gross margin for each customer's sales or each product sold
- make a list of those customers or products that provide the highest gross margin
- look at ways to increase sales to those customers in the list or increase the volume of the products in the list, such as targeted marketing.
When reviewing sales (and between reviews):
- consider implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. A CRM system allows you to collect and manage comprehensive details on your customers' buying habits and other important information
- regularly check your product pricing to ensure you maintain the appropriate gross margin on each product
- once you understand your sales better, you can look at marketing to create more demand. Try a marketing event at Victoria's Small Business Festival.
Review your cash handling controls
Minimise the risk of theft or fraud by maintaining strict controls over cash.
- look at all elements of your business where cash is involved and note each
- for each cash element noted, review the controls and procedures to safeguard this cash
- make a list of the areas where cash handling procedures can be improved. Use our Financial policies and procedures template to help you write new procedures.
At a minimum, ensure that:
- your accounting and financial policies include a petty cash policy, a policy to protect employees who are handling money and a policy of banking regularly.
- cash receipts are kept separate from cash payments – this will make record keeping more accurate and reduce the temptation to inappropriately spend business takings.
Lower expenses - even for a short time - to help you get through financially difficult times. Even in good times, keep a close eye on expenses and actively manage your cash flow.
How to do it
- run two profit and loss statements – one for the past year and one for the year before
- review all expenses in the past year, noting where there have been substantial increases in expenses
- look for ways to reduce these expenses, or evaluate if they are really needed by the business.
- don’t forget to include a review of staff costs. Increasing productivity or improving rostering can reduce these costs
- look at business contracts such as mobile phone, bank charges etc. and research alternatives to reduce costs
- negotiate pricing with suppliers. Don't limit this to stock; you can also look at services provided to your business such as cleaning, accounting support etc.
- use benchmarking to look at the costs other businesses in your industry are paying.
Want a financial reminder in September?
Sign up for the Small Business Victoria update to receive fortnightly tips, trends and tasks. It will include our handy financial improvement tasks for September.