Refocusing on Expenses and Operational Excellence

Online Business ExpensesDecember was a month for me to refocus on the actual nuts and bolts of my business.  As you’ll see shortly, I spent a lot more than I should have this past year in unnecessary expenses.

I think it’s key to analyze the cash flow report of any business and see what makes sense and what doesn’t – and online business is no exception.  That’s why I did a detailed line by line analysis of my expenses and looked to what was truly needed, what could be cut back on or consolidated, what should be eliminated, and what could be added.

Here’s some of the changes I made this month to make 2014 not only the highest grossing year online, but also the most profitable.

 

Products and Services

The first area I looked at were products and services that I used on my site.  I spent a lot of money on random software and products that I didn’t really need or use – honestly, some of them just looked “cool” and so I gave them a try.  Way to blow money, right?

The first one I cancelled was Unbounce.  This is an awesome product that makes great landing pages and easy split testing.  But they charge $49.99 per month.  After using them for about 3 months, I decided I could do exactly what they did, but cheaper and easier.  So, I dropped them and now use LeadPages.  It does everything I need (and better) for only $16 per month.

I was also using a service called OnlyWire that helped with social bookmarking of your posts.  Well, since Google changed up how things work, the value of this service really became minimal.  Plus, I adopted CoSchedule, which does all my social media.

With CoSchedule as well, I was able to drop my HootSuite subscription down from the Pro plan to the regular plan.  This saved me $10 per month.

I also looked at software I bought that I just didn’t need or use.  One example was the plugin WP Courseware.  The plugin was buggy on my site, and I didn’t even need it for my course – I could do the same thing with pages in WordPress.  I emailed the developer and asked for my money back for this one.

Finally, I cancelled Aweber.  You may be thinking whoa – you’re crazy.  But, in this case, I opted for more, not less.  I moved to Office Autopilot, which is much more robust and had a lot of the tools I needed for my business built in.  Aweber is still a great choice for starting out, but once you have several products and sites, it may make sense to move over to Office AutoPilot.

 

Subcontractors

This is one area that I spent a lot (and I mean an awful lot) of money on this last year.  I really had to decide what ws going to get me the most for my money, and in a lot of cases, I opted to scale back.

One of the biggest changes I made was letting to of my virtual assistant.  She did a lot for me, but a lot of the new tools I’ve adopted took away a lot of what I really needed her to do.  I felt that the it was redundant, and so I decided to make this change.

Second, I let go of some of my writers as well.  This was also a conscious effort to scale back the amount of posting on several of my sites to once per week – which I think will make them more profitable over the long run.

Errors I Found

When I was going through my expenses, I noticed that I was getting charged each month for hosting.  I thought this was odd, because I swore I signed up for the quarterly plan (to get the discount).  I went through my emails, and guess what – they were billing me wrong.

Now, I love my web host.  And as soon as I let them know, they rectified everyone and gave me a free quarter of hosting.

It’s sad, but I was being incorrectly charged for 6 months and I didn’t notice.  Shame on me.

Also, I noticed that on my bank statement, I was being charged a service charge each month of $0.99.  Totally random, so I called and they said it was a debit card processing fee.  That’s annoying, so I made an effort to open a business credit card for my business.  I found a sweet deal with a 0% APR in balance transfer and purchases for the first year through Totally Money credit cards, so I signed up.

 

Stuff I Added In 2014

Finally, I did add some stuff in this year.  First, I added in CoSchedule, which I reviewed last week.  I love it, and it’s what enabled me to save costs in these other areas, like HootSuite and my virtual assistant.

I also added in Office Autopilot as my email provider and customer relationship manager.  It’s amazing.  I’m so glad I made the switch because it has everything I needed for my business, from advanced email lists and rules, to payment processing, to integration with QuickBooks.  Everything I need in one simple place.

Have you looked at your expenses lately?  Have you considered cutting costs in your business?

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Comments

  1. I started to look out and check my monthly expenses late last year and it’s a good way to track if you’re spending your money wisely. I discover things to adjust on my spending habit and it’s really working and I saved a lot of money through this.

    I am thinking of using CoSchedule, you got me interested for it. Thanks! =)

  2. This kind of self-auditing is a real key to success. Never heard of CoSchedule and Office AutoPilot so I am going to have to check them out. Thanks for these tips.

    Readers may also engage in year end tax planning. That can be quite helpful. For my article on this topic readers may want to check out Small Businesses: 8 Great Year-End Tax Planning Tips and Tricks: A Must Read at http://frommtaxes.wordpress.com/2013/12/22/tax-planning-small-businesses/. Hope this is of value to you and your readers.

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