Treat your business like a small business? Are you crazy?

Modern people doing business, graphs and charts being demonstrated on the screen of a touchpad

I have talked about visualising your window cleaning business into the size of business you have set for your goal. I have talked about this in previous posts. And there is nothing more powerful than visualising your goals.

You cannot teach it, but you need to own it.

When I started out, part of my visualisation was to be a big company. So what would you say if I said, ‘treat your business like a small company’?

‘I think Mr Burbidge needs medication because he has gone all crazy on us!’ you might be thinking. I must admit this does sound kind of crazy. After all I have been talking about thinking BIG in business for a very long time, its how I roll in my own business.

Examples of thinking BIG – You use the word ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ when talking to clients.

Your website has to look so professional, it almost looks like you are a national player but in reality you might only have two vehicles.

Your uniform is so smart; you must be a massive company with that corporate look, when there might only be 3 in your crew.

Now you are telling us we have to treat our business like it was a small company?

Ok, not exactly… let me explain. Business has two massive components common to all. Outgoing expenses and incoming sales.

Treat everything connected to selling your services BIG, but treat your approach to your outgoings just like you were a small company.

Do you remember when you started your business, when every penny counted? How many times did you work out your incoming and out going to see if you were on track for making your outgoing payments next month? You did it regularly, you wouldn’t overspend or use services for your business that was not essential, right?

Theo Paphitis star of Dragon’s Den would have his staff collect the paper clips that arrived in the mail and reuse them. This guy is worth millions! And here he is asking his staff to save paper clips from the mail.

How many millionaire stories do you hear where they are always trying to get that discount on a deal, they are shrewd businessmen.

Blue-chip companies also drive prices down on services they need in order to get to that bottom deal. What works for them is that everybody wants their business. Yet they have Billions.

Maybe you have heard of a wealthy businessman who was really ‘tight’ with his money? Is this bad? Or is this a case of ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’ mentality?

Firstly, I’m not looking to change you guys into Scrooge McDuck, but I am asking you to consider a quarterly or six monthly task. One that will increase your profit margins and avoid a waste in cash.

My business, just before the Bank crash of 2008 was thriving. Money was flowing in thick and fast. Our staffing level was 60 and I never looked at my finances at all – I had people doing their stuff, my outgoings were, well – ‘going out’.

To me I just signed cheques and didn’t care less as long as the business bank account was bulging.

It was not until after the bank crash that I started to take a closer look at our outgoings. I started to discover waste and unnecessary out goings. The accountant was charging 15k per year for 3k worth of work. When I asked him, he told me that he would come to my office every Thursday for a cup of tea and sit with Julie my payroll and invoicing lady to, ‘make sure everything was ok’.

Sure, I knew he was there, I got kind of used to seeing him at my offices on a Thursday. I never asked him to visit. I saw him as an ‘uncle’ character since he had been with me at the very start of my business. I had no idea he was charging for these visits. These visits were so unnecessary.

Mobile phone usage, do you need that fourth company mobile? Does that cleaner really need to take that van home? Why do we have a rental agreement on the damn photocopier? I thought we had paid for it out right…. The list goes on.

Today in my company I have set a schedule, every 6 months I go through my business outgoings. I am look at the figures as if I was going bust. Do I need that expense? Why is that payment still coming out, I thought that ended? What is this fee for? Why are the cleaning products and their prices not reviewed?

It is the same principle as Mike Michalowicz book called Profit First only applied to expenses directly.

In Mike’s book he talks about the formula he figured out where by instead of taking profit (if any) out of your company last, after all your overheads and expenses. You instead take the profit out first! And you work to that. (By the way I practice this too in my own business and it works! – You will not believe how much cash build up you will have in your reserve business account)

So, if you mentally apply the small business approach when it comes to your expenses review you will ensure that your profits will be maximised, wasteful expenditure is not allowed to roll on year on year, and value for money will be achieved for the services, items and products your business needs to function successfully.

Look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves. Think BIG on sales, think SMALL on expenses.