Just so we’re clear… when I say keep ‘it’ on the down low, the ‘it’ I’m talking about is…
I’m gonna go ahead and say something bold, ’cause well… it keeps life interesting: I’m NOT exactly a fan of lowering costs.
Like, it’s not my number one choice.
I like more. More of pretty much anything you can name, and I know some people have a problem with that.
They say I have ‘big dreams.’
Well fine, but let me ask you – what feels better to you…
… running a company that flows more dollars to their staff + suppliers, or one that penny-pinches and flows barely any?
Which idea sounds more economically significant? Which would you rather be?
Food for thought, eh? But check this out, whatever style of company you’re aiming to be, there’s a time and a place and a way to lower your costs.
So let’s look at some great cost saving tips & ways to have some fun with it.
1. Assist ’em with systems.
Did you know that not “everything” is outsourced to India or China?
Things that can be boiled down to clear steps are outsourced.
Genius expertise and hyper-local tasks, not so much.
India and China rock at any systematized task. They’ve refined most things to require minimal expertise.
They have systems to design a blog header or an opt-in box, and they do it fast, cheap, and relatively well. They have systems to manufacture “widgets” for you, and even drop ship them.
And anything that isn’t systematized costs more.
Take neurosurgery for example: right now, it’s pretty expensive, but if we had a system for it?
(Yeah, I went there.)
What if some of it was automated? If even the prep work was automated… the cost for it would drop in a big way.
(So how about it, anyone gonna tackle my dream of systematized neurosurgery? :P)
Anyway, how did things like graphic design ‘get’ systemized in the first place? It used to be a very high priced service.
It happened through the Japanese principle of kaizen; which roughly translates to ‘continuous small change.‘ And what happens if you continuously improve something every day?
It gets better— crazy, I know.
And this happens in a shorter time than most people imagine.
Kaizen can make things very fast, very easy, and very cost-effective. And you can apply kaizen to almost anything.
We can see a few examples of it at work in a company like Ikea, and our own beloved Danny Iny’s Write Like Freddy program works so well because it gives people who blog haphazardly, an incredible system for writing.
This lowers the time, energy, resources and even money it costs to write a blog post.
Right now, how many things in your business could be systematized? And if you had a system, how easy would it be to get a virtual assistant to do it for you?
(Note: go here if you’re wondering “what is a virtual assistant?”)
2. Recycle, Re-use, Re-purpose
You’re sitting on a gold mine, and you don’t even know it.
Most people have tons of clothes they never wear. Most people have tons of stories they never share.
The point is most people are ignoring amazingly useful stuff in their lives.
Aaaaaand most businesses are spearheaded by a person.
And so… most businesses ignore amazingly useful resources too.
- Got an archive of articles collecting dust? They could be very valuable traffic-getters for another blog.
- Got old creations that didn’t quite work out? They might just need some polish, shine, re-packaging and re-branding to become very, very valuable money-makers.
- Got too much ‘garbage’ and not sure what to do with it? Take a look at someone like 1-800-Got-Junk who turned a ‘garbage problem’ into an empire.
What’s my point?
My point is that people bitch about not having money or profit, but at the same time they’re turning their noses up and throwing away stuff and ignoring things every day, that other people’d turn into tons and tons of money.
I ran a blog for many years with some excellent writing on it, but it was raw, rough.
It just didn’t have the polish, voice, and emotional impact that I have now.
So should I ignore my old work forever? Is it a waste? A write-off?
- Or would it be smarter for me to post them on article submission directories where writing guidelines are different?
- Or would it be smarter to resurrect ’em and refine them and deliver them beautifuly to people who are waiting for them, saving myself tons of time?
- Or would it be smarter to auction them off to blogs without content?
There’s some examples of re-purposing stuff to turn liabilities into assets.
It takes a fresh perspective and some work, but it’s usually worth it. Booyah.
And now what do you have? You have a list of really smart way to lower your costs.
3. Take what suits you.
Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “take what you need.”
Translation: “don’t be greedy”.
I’ll tell you a quick little story:
I was ‘saved’ from homelessness by my friend Jay, who gave me a place to stay. He offered me food, clothing, shelter, and he always told me… “anything you need, man, just ask.”
And he’s doing well for himself, he has tons to offer, and I could certainly have taken it.
But you know what? I barely asked for anything. I ate very little, I slept very little, I focused on my business and generating value for others.
I didn’t ask him for money, time, or investment
And you know why? Because it didn’t suit me. I certainly didn’t need it. I knew I could support myself. I knew I could re-launch my business, make money, and shine.
In life, take what suits you and don’t ‘over-eat.’
Don’t bite off more than you can chew; don’t take, take, take just ’cause you can.
Same goes for your business.
What does this mean for you?
It means that if a corner office feels like a ‘huge reach’ and doesn’t ‘feel right’ — don’t do it. Grow a bit first. Mature your business, Get confident.
Don’t just get one to show-off or fulfill some emptiness or prove something to your parents.
Doing that stuff murders your cost-to-income ratio; it increases your overhead in unsustainable ways.
Now, maybe you’re an expensive brand, positioning yourself for prestige with luxury marketing … then it suits you.
Maybe you’ve had a lifelong dream of a Nissan GT-R Skyline, okay, move towards fulfilling that dream.
Doing what suits you often (but not always) means keeping costs to a minimum. Just like a healthy, fit, trim body is pretty awesome – a healthy, fit, trim business is pretty awesome too.
In fact, there’s a whole movement based on this concept called “lean manufacturing” or “agile development.”
So, yeah, keep it on the down low.
Alright, at the beginning I said I wasn’t exactly a fan of lowering costs, because for me it goes deeper than “just” lowering costs. In my experience, focusing on lowering costs is not super-powerful.
Yes, keep costs down, but do it backed by powerful reasons and use the tools shared here on Mirasee.
Here’s some examples of good reasons to lower costs:
- Walmart lowers costs because that’s one of the #1 brand values, and they do it in very interesting ways.
- People who use Kaizen lower costs for efficiency and improvement, and they do it in very interesting ways.
- And you can even – <gasp!> – lower costs to pass on savings to your customer and be more valuable.
The number one most important thing, is that you know why you’re lowering costs.
The reason can be “’cause I want more profit”, but ask yourself… is that as strong as the reasons above?
Would your cost-lowering be more powerful if the reason was: “to nurture my family and community with the extra profit?”
What about lowering costs for the reason of “being an example of simplicity, elegance, and high-profit economic value to other entrepreneurs?”
Think about it.
One last thing…
Maybe you noticed that in this whole post on ‘lowering costs’ I talked barely at all about your ‘competition’ or trying to ‘compete on price.’
And for a very good reason.
It’s ’cause everyone is valuable and trying to make valuable people “worth less” by slashing prices is not cool.
I don’t recommend slashing your costs, just to reduce your prices down to some competitive bare minimum.
That kind of thing is appropriate for someone who’s truly a passionate rock-bottom-price provider…like Walmart
So listen up all you cost-cutters…you are not Walmart. You gotta do you.
And if you’re like most people – you think your stuff is valuable – then charge accordingly.
Cut costs for your own reasons, not because “the market” says you need to compete on price.
K, I’m done.
Whew, what a ride, hope you had fun and enjoyed my cost saving tips!
The principle of lowering your costs combines nicely with raising your prices, and together they drastically enhance everything in your business.
They rock, and you do too.
Ryze & Mirasee for the win, bitches 🙂