In business every penny counts, especially if you’re a new business just trying to get off the ground. You have to be careful with your money and the old adage of ‘time is money’ is never truer than in your first year of business. What’s more if you’re in the retail sector it can be even harder to achieve success.
The margins are small, there’s lots of competition and the current economic climate globally has seen retailers among the worst hit.
That said it’s also very rewarding if you can make a go of it. Apart from a great idea and hard work you have to have a business head on at all times. This blog has a few pointers on saving time and money so your business is as strong as possible:
Make use of wholesale ‘cash and carry’ stores
There are plenty of warehouse style cash and carry shops that directly serve the needs of retailers. These specialise in bulk products so are able to offer them at lower prices than family supermarkets. You usually have to be a registered business to get membership, making the savings exclusive to you- a measure that’s in place to help businesses thrive. Cash and Carrys also sell some items tax free so you’re getting an even better bargain.
If you only associate Cash and Carry warehouses with bulk food supplies, think again. Every retail business will find useful items e.g. cleaning products, toilet roll, electricals and a host of onetime special offers. Every penny counts so if you can afford to buy in bulk now you’ll save money down the road.
This will also save time over multiple regular shopping trips as you won’t have to shop as often.
Employ temporary staff during busy periods
Increasing your work force to match the demands of your business is the best way to make sure your staff costs are affordable. Too many staff during quite periods will drain your money, whereas too few staff during busier times will compromise the quality of service you can offer. Contact an agency that can provide trained staff on very short notice. No matter what sort of retail staff you’re looking for e.g. trained low level staff, supervisor level assistants or unskilled workers, you should be able to source them through a dedicated agency.
Stay on top of your paperwork
Nothing wastes time more than procrastinating doing your administrative work. You might be of the idea that sitting down for a whole day to cover the past month’s paperwork will equal the same amount of time as small amounts of daily admin. However there are a few reasons why this method is a waste of time:
- Leaving paperwork until the end of the month means you may have to refresh your memory of the details and so it will actually take you longer. Add all the month’s paperwork together and you’re adding time for each document.
- Not dealing with paperwork as and when it comes could get you trouble. E.g. if you fail to fill in work sheets or cleaning sheets and a surprise audit arrives you could face getting in serious trouble with auditors. Similarly if you fail to pay bills on time you could get in trouble with your suppliers and service providers. Failing to pay your bills could also result in fines so by paying on time, perhaps by direct debit, you’ll save money.
- Lastly if you have to spend a whole day on paperwork that means you’re away from the frontline all day too. If instead you set aside half an hour everyday to some paperwork during the quietest business hour then you’re still available to deal with busy times, customer queries and unforeseen issues.
Get stuck in
If your idea of running a business is sitting in the office while your worker bees do all the front of house work then let me tell you now you’ll probably fail in the first year. You have to be willing to put in a lot of the work yourself, whether that’s on the shop floor selling to customers or it’s cleaning the toilets, you need to embrace it all. The more work you can put in yourself the fewer staff you’ll need, saving you costs in the first year.
As mentioned above if there’s a particularly busy time temporary staff is great for bolstering your team numbers. Once you’re established and you see the need for a permanently larger team then go ahead and hire. Staff hired by you will in fact be cheaper than agency staff but only if you need them on a fairly regular basis.
So the golden rules really are to make the most of your time, considering how you can work most efficiently and always identify where you can save money. Good luck!