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Managing sales on a tight budget

accountant37004762.jpgManaging a business can be stressful and frustrating, but it can become tricky and complicated as you need to deal with a tight budget and still have the pressure of getting sales to sustain the business. Sales directly impact your salaries, inventory and literally every business related activity you can think of. When you are on a tight budget, your sales need to be changed around so you can still get the word out there about your products but for a low cost. The staff will rely on the different sales promotions you offer for direction as your distribution team work is completely derived from sales.

Part of managing sales starts with your ability to forecast future sales. To perform correct sales forecasting, there are a few things you need to look upon:

  • Current economic conditions

  • Prior years sales

  • Back orders

  • Customer satisfaction ratings

  • Industry trends

  • Competitors marketing strategies

  • Seasonal promotions

  • New product launches

As you gather all of this information and organize it, you can do a good analysis of it to find out what sales promotions have been working and which ones need to be dropped. A lot of managers use the past numbers to base their future sales predictions. While this is a great tactic for good economic conditions, it can be the downfall of an organization during times of peril. When times are tough, you have to start cutting back on your sales budget. There are a few primary areas where you can focus to cut down on the amount of money you spend on sales:

1. Raw materials
2. Vendors
3. Shipping
4. Advertising

Starting with your raw goods, how much are your paying per item and is your mark-up covering the costs? There are a number of ways to reduce your raw materials costs, one way is to try and combine things like your printed materials. Combo runs will save you per item, although you may have to wait a little while for it to be delivered. However, the savings is usually far worth the investment.

Next, talk to your existing vendors about reducing your prices. Talk to multiple vendors to get quotes. This is a great way to make sure your vendors are remaining honest with you and it's a simple way to let them know you are going to work with the company that can offer you the lowest price. If you have worked with the same vendor for several years, they can easily become lazy and they don't continue to give you the best deal out there. Obtaining quotes from other people shows them that you are committed to staying competitive and that you mean business.

Third, take a look at your shipping options. How much are you paying your shipping companies to send out your packages? Instead of using UPS and FedEx consider looking into using the US Postal Service. Their shipping options are normally cheaper and they usually offer the same services as FedEx and UPS.

Fourth, advertising is a big part of your sales budget and it's the perfect place to cut down the budget if necessary. Take a look at the campaigns you are running and how much you are spending on them. Talk to some of your partners to find out if you can split advertising costs by combining your campaign. You might also try online marketing campaigns versus printed campaigns. Once you successfully learn how to do SEO marketing, you can save yourself a ton of money and still get the exposure you need for your small business.

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