7 Ways to Boost Income
Use these tips to simplify your life, organize your accounting and boost your income in 2013 and beyond.
When it comes to your custom installation business in 2013, there’s no need to make overly ambitious plans. Here are seven easy steps you can take right now to simplify your life, lower expenses and boost your integration company’s net income in 2013 – and all the years to come:
Slash Communication Costs
Between your mobile phone, pager, broadband Internet access, and regular telephone service, staying in touch has never been easier.
Unfortunately, you’re probably paying a lot more than you realize for all that techno-communication. Contact your primary provider to see what bundled plans are available in your area. You may be surprised by how much you can save by consolidating your communications with one company. In addition to saving you money, dealing with one supplier will greatly simplify your bill-paying procedures.
If you already have just one communications company, give them a call and ask for an analysis of your account. Companies are constantly coming up with new bundling plans and one of them might save you a bundle. But don’t expect them to come looking for you; you’ll have to ask.
Give Your Accountant a Pay Cut
Sure, you hate all that paperwork and record keeping that has become part of your life. Don’t we all? But if you scramble to find receipts and other records for your accountant at tax time every year, you’re costing yourself some real money.
Chances are that your business records are well organized, but that may not be true for your personal tax records. Certified Public Accountant Tom Normoyle, Huntingdon Valley, Pa., says that even the simplest of filing systems – having one file for income and one for deductible expenses – can be a money saver.
“When clients present me with a shoe box full of unsorted papers, I have to charge them for the hours it takes to make sense of them,” says Normoyle. “A simple filing system that separates records of different types is one sure way to reduce my fee.”
Related: State of the Industry Report 2013
Save Money Even While You’re Paying Bills
No one enjoys paying bills, but new technology has made the task quicker, easier and cheaper. Nearly all banks offer free online bill paying. Once you sign up and choose a password, you log on to the bank’s website where you enter the payee’s name and address, phone number and the amount to be paid. The bank takes over from there, either by mailing a check to the payee or by making an electronic transfer of the money.
You only need to enter the name and address of a payee only once. Each entry is memorized so that the next time you need to make a payment, you need only to click on the payee’s name and enter the amount. The system will enter the rest of the needed information.
You save precious time, the cost of postage at nearly a half a buck for every check you mail, buying checks, and trips to the post office.
Slay the Credit Card Monster
Saying, “charge it” is quick and easy, but that habit, uncontrolled, can lead you down the road to financial oblivion. Independent studies continue to show that the more credit cards you carry around, the more likely you are to dig your business into a bottomless financial pit.
If your wallet or purse is bulging with plastic, now is the time to relieve yourself of that hazardous burden. Perhaps you have one of those “reward” cards for personal use, and a separate card for business. That’s all you need. Dump the rest and your wallet will instead be bulging with the money you’ve saved instead on interest fees.
Caution for small business owners: Avoid cancelling several credit cards all at once; that could affect your all-important credit score. Instead, cancel them over a period of months, and be sure to keep the two cards that you have had the longest; credit-scoring companies like to see a long history of good credit performance.
Dig Yourself Out From Under All That Paper
With all the paper you’re required to slog through for business purposes, you don’t need to add to the burden by hanging on to reams of paper because of the worry that you might need it some day. Most of it will never see the light of day.
If that sounds like you, organizing guru Maria Gracia has these tips for ending the nightmare of out-of-control paper:
Use the 4 D’s:
- Do it
- Delay it (File it in an action file or archive file)
- Delegate it
- Dump it
Also, open your business mail right over the wastebasket. Immediately get rid of mail you don’t need, such as catalogs or advertising offers of no interest. Then, use the 4-D system on what’s left.
Get Rid of Insurance You Don’t Need
The cost of insurance is a major burden for entrepreneurs these days. That’s why it’s important to cut through the smog generated by the insurance industry. In addition to business liability insurance, there are only five types that you must have: life, health, disability (as long as you’re working), homeowner’s, and auto.
Other insurances necessary for CE pros may include Errors & Omissions, worker’s comp and business interruption. Never agree to credit life insurance and never sign up for car rental insurance – your own auto policy or credit card will probably cover those, respectively.
Once you’ve pared things down to those five types, look into consolidating some of the remaining policies with one company. That’s often a money saver.
Grab the best publicity of all - free publicity
Advertising professionals know that free publicity is often more effective than the best paid ads. Most of your prospective clients will be far more receptive to a simple news item about your business than to a typical advertisement.
How do you get a free piece of the publicity pie? Your business endeavors don’t have to have eye-popping importance to gain a free spot in the media, they just have to be “newsworthy.” That means there is something about your or your business that the public might find interesting.
Even simple things like interesting news about you or an employee, changes in your business, or your own hobbies, activities, or accomplishments can be the seeds for free publicity.
To get free publicity, you have to seek it. The media isn’t going to come looking for you. While it isn’t necessary to have a “contact” in the local press to get your share, it doesn’t hurt.
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