As your business grows, you’ll likely have more capital in rotation. As you bring in more money, you will also need to spend more to continue growing.
However, it’s important to ensure that you’re not spending in excess and are still saving money where you can. Otherwise, you may find yourself in the red and facing some exceptionally difficult financial decisions.
Below, 15 members of Forbes Coaches Council share their best advice for business owners looking to keep their operations lean and save money.
1. Observe, Plan And Earn Before You Spend
Understand, observe and become fully aware of your industry and the needs of your business. Learning to optimize your costs takes time, errors, small tests and planning based on the data you collect every day. Ask yourself what you can change or improve in your current cost structure. – Michelle de Matheu, The Mind, Body & Soul Stylist
2. Say ‘No’ More Than You Say ‘Yes’
In a growing company, it is easy to say “yes” to a new product or service, to a client that does not fit your ideal client profile or to a new business category or opportunity. If you want to stay lean, say “no” to anything that is not part of your core. Focus is powerful and leads to extraordinary results. – Chuck Gulledge, Chuck Gulledge Advisors
3. Use A Variable Staffing Model
Staff your business for the valleys and supplement with contractors for the peaks. Too often startups take their funding or early revenue and hire staff too quickly. It’s smart to use a variable staffing model to cover services effectively and find that quality mix of people on staff, on contract or freelancing. – Joanne Markow, GreenMason
4. Automate Your Savings
Automate it! I am forever grateful that I set up automated payments to save for taxes and investments when I first started. It became so addictive to watch these accounts grow that I started automating savings for travel and business education as well. Learn to live off of the remainder, and you won’t even have to think about it. – Elise Montgomery, Coach Elise Montgomery
5. Consider The ROI Of Each Expense
Consider every expense an investment and determine the return you’ll get from each. This includes your time as well as your money. Sometimes the best thing you can do is get help with the things that others do better so that you can focus on those things that only you can do. You are a CEO, even in a business of just one person. Leverage and investment will help you grow profitably. – Sharon Richmond, Richmond Associates Consulting
6. Invest In Expert Tech Support
Invest in expert support to leverage your technology investments. For small businesses such as ours, it’s critical to leverage technology for invoicing, accounting, document storage and calendar management, to name a few areas. We are experts at what we do, which is coaching and consulting, but not technology! We should invest in experts who can help ensure that we get the most from our apps and tech. – Antonia Bowring, ABstrategies LLC
7. Don’t Be Tempted To Rebrand
Don’t be tempted by the idea that you have to rebrand and redo your website as your business grows. There are only a few types of businesses that require continuous updating from a branding and website point of view. You’re better off saving your money and refreshing your website with your own personal emerging content. Your business ultimately boils down to the value it offers, not how it looks. – Ashley Good, Ashley Good Coaching & Consulting
8. Align Your Use Of Resources To Your Business Objective
Ask yourself, “What is my goal for my business, and how should I use my resources to achieve that goal?” If your goal is growth, you have to invest in branding, marketing and product development. If your goal is to manage cash, then focus more on shorter-term sales. – Bill Berman, Ph.D., ABPP, Berman Leadership Development
9. Hire Slow, Fire Fast
It’s all in your team! First, hire slow, fire fast. The longstanding phrase stands the test of time. Second, invest in developing your people who truly represent the brand by living the company values daily with your customers and suppliers. With them, co-create those values about cost and company sustainability and define exactly what living them every single day looks like. Third, model the way. – Linda Allen-Hardisty, Allen-Hardisty Leadership Group
10. Develop Your Leadership Team
The best way to save money as you grow is to invest in your leadership team members to help them effectively work together and build their teams in a way that drives effective planning, coordination, collaboration and joint problem-solving. Otherwise, silos will take over, which breeds power struggles, politics and blame-game behaviors, resulting in poor handoffs, conflicts and duplication of efforts, which are all costly. – Mark Samuel, IMPAQ Corporation
11. Stay Laser-Focused On Your Priorities
Know your priorities and stay laser-focused. Make certain that investments are made and money is spent only in those areas identified as critical to your objectives—nothing else. Temptations and opportunities to sidetrack will be everywhere. When they arise, bring your purpose forefront. Does making this move get you one step closer? If not, do not do it. Saving today means having more to go forward. – David Yudis, Potential Selves
12. Surround Yourself With A Diverse Set Of Peers
Surround yourself with a diverse set of peers who run other businesses. Peer-to-peer organizations will pair you with between eight and 18 non-competing organizations with whom you can compare best practices. It is lonely running a business, and joining a peer group gives you a trusted set of advisors you can lean on. This will save you from running into the same potholes your peers have experienced. – David Galowich, Terra Firma Leadership LLC
13. Shift Fixed Costs Into Variable Ones Wherever Possible
Growing a business while staying lean and solvent requires taking an optimistic yet cautious approach. Find ways to turn fixed costs into variable ones. It is easy to fall into the trap of hiring too many people and inflating inventory. Look to maximize the productivity of people by putting the right incentives in place. Use artificial intelligence technology to predict patterns and manage your inventory costs. – Rick Itzkowich, Vistage Worldwide, Inc.
14. Leverage Free Marketing Platforms
Building your professional brand doesn’t have to cost a lot. Leverage your free social media platforms. You can create quite a following by writing articles and posting vlogs and blogs. Consistency is key. Remember that, as you’re building your empire, you need to keep in contact with your followers. Make sure to keep up your engagement. – Joyel Crawford, Crawford Leadership Strategies, LLC.
15. Outsource Instead Of Hiring Full-Time Staff
When it comes to growing a business while trying to remain lean and save money, outsourcing is important. No one can achieve exponential growth without a team. However, it is not necessary to have a full-time staff to succeed. Outsourcing through contractors and freelancers can be a great way to get the job done while not having to contend with the overhead of employee wages or other expenses. – Lori A. Manns, Quality Media Consultant Group LLC