Don’t spin the barrel: keep your business winning

Improving your business is a game of Russian roulette – you can never quite be sure of the result.

Will that office overhaul leave you grasping for cash at the end of the year? Will the markets suddenly plummet? Will your staff cut and run as soon as they’ve received a bonus?

You’re spinning the barrel with every major or minor purchase – but some risks are safer than others.

And without taking some chances, your business will atrophy.

With that in mind, we’ve come up with a few risks you can take that could make you a profit. So, spin the barrel and have a look.

Gimme some gas

It might not occur to you, but energy prices are one of the biggest outgoings for any business. Only staff wages pip it to the post.

All of which is hardly surprising. Just think of all those times you’ve left your office lights on when you’re leaving, kept computers buzzing unnecessarily or left the heating on full blast at the height of summer.

Very wasteful indeed. But there are ways to optimise that energy usage. Invest in new gas connections to receive a cleaner, more focused energy flow that’ll slash your bills.

Know the sharks from the plankton

If you’re an experienced boss, you’ll have suffered this before – a job applicant comes in and spurts more Don Draper-type ramblings than Don Draper himself. They seem to know it all, and they’ve got the confidence to match.

But then they show up on their first day. All of a sudden they’re like Bambi taking his first steps through the forest. What happened? Well, now they’re more comfortable, that confident veneer has slipped away.

You’ve got to root out the wheat from the chaff as soon as possible – otherwise, it’ll cost you profits.

It could be your interview style that’s ineffective. Throw a few curveballs your interviewee’s way. Having thrown them off-guard, you can really delve into their personality quirks.

DON’T overextend

Baby steps over leaps – this is the key to good business. Yet, companies fall foul of it every day.

Pie in the sky thinking is, admittedly, where most great business ideas come from. But you need the finances to make those thoughts a reality – and that’s where timing comes into play.

Although you can never quite be sure that there’s ever a right time to expand your business, there are tell-tale signs that you’re ready.

Make a few financial projections, consult with your accountant and make sure you’ve got some backup capital in your pocket.

It’s a big leap to take – but the profits could prove worth the risk.

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