As we approach financial year-end, particular attention is paid to the financial fitness of a business. Keep in shape all year round by following these three steps:

1. Increase sales
Growing your customer base and product or service offering is a sure way to keep money coming in. Keep customers engaged through embracing social media and sending regular newsletters and keep them coming back by offering quality customer service, online and off.

Attract new business through selling to larger retailers, partnerships with complementary businesses, and experimenting with routes to market such as PopUps and trade shows. Depending on your niche, there’s also a world of opportunity to go global by using powerful sales platforms such as Etsy, Elance and Alibaba.com

2. Manage costs
Keep overheads low by basing the business at home, making the most of free or low-cost technology, and bartering for resources. Consider outsourcing work to experts and professionals on a freelance basis as opposed to hiring full-time staff.

You use energy every day to keep your business going, but it’s easy to forget about the cost. There are several ways to manage the cost of energy, from adopting energy efficiency measures to advice on how you pay your bill. Visit British Gas’ Energy Made Simple website for help and advice on how to better manage your energy: www.britishgas.co.uk/business/smarter-working/energy-made-simple

Whole industries have developed around the small business owner to help you in the mission of managing costs. Virtual and serviced offices from companies such as Regus allow you to keep property rents low by renting high-quality space by the hour. And telephone answering services from the likes of Moneypenny enable your business to create a professional first impression and responsive service to customers for a fraction of the cost of hiring a PA.

3. Stay on top of admin
It’s the job that not many small business owners enjoy, but it still has to be done! Ensure invoices are going out on time, money is coming in, and that your own suppliers are being paid. Seek help to do this; maybe through accounting software such as Intuit, FreeAgent or Sage or hiring the help you need through an accountant who manages monthly accounts and files returns on your behalf to avoid heavy late-paying penalties.

The best-performing businesses follow these business practices throughout the year; they stay nimble and lean and fully prepared for financial year-end!

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