Give your profits a leg-up

A new financial year is a fantastic opportunity to forge ahead with strategies for increasing profits.

A new financial year is a fantastic opportunity to forge ahead with strategies for increasing profits.

According to the Sensis Business Index, 53 per cent of the 1800 SMEs surveyed in April were confident about the year ahead.

Christena Singh, the report author, said SMEs were expecting increases in sales, prices, profitability and capital expenditure in the next 12 months.

Giving profits a leg-up can come from increasing revenue or decreasing expenses or a combination of the two.

Here are some tips for improving profits.

■ Benchmark key financials: how do your costs compare with your competitors'?

■ Target major overheads.

■ Switch suppliers: a new financial year can be a good opportunity to do some comparison shopping, reviewing such things as bank loans and insurance and freight costs.

■ Wangle a better deal: get a better deal from an existing supplier.

■ Target loss: better systems and procedures can reduce the impact of theft, errors or waste.

■ Increase your prices: Lisa Penson, business mentor, Clearly Business, says often small businesses are reluctant to raise prices and they can end up out of step with their competitors.

■ Find new markets and distribution channels.

■ Target referrals: Olivia Maragna, a co-founder of Aspire Retire, says it aims to turn clients into "raving fans". The result? In its 10 years in business it has built a referral rate of more than 95 per cent.

■ Listen to your customers.

Andrew Graham, of RSM Bird Cameron, suggests listening to your customers' problems and thinking about how your business can provide a solution.

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