Susan Ward wrote about small businesses for The Balance Small Business for 18 years. She has run an IT consulting firm and designed and presented courses on how to promote small businesses.
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Updated December 05, 2019
Diversifying your income stream to make more money in business is old advice, but in tough economic times, it’s advice worth taking. One of the least risky (and least costly) ways to successfully increase your business income is to make better use of your existing assets and resources.
All of the ideas below are ways you can bring in more revenue for your business without spending a lot of money to do it.
If you own or lease commercial space, do you really need all of your current space? If not, you can make more money by renting out some of your space to another business.
There are a lot of small businesses that only need a corner or cubicle. Or maybe you have an unused room that another business could use as office space. Also, consider the unused warehouse space or empty garage/storage shed that could be rented (in urban environments storage space can command a high premium).
You can further increase the revenue from spare office rental space if you’re able to throw in some add-ins, such as the shared use of a conference room and access to the Internet (direct or WiFi), printers, copiers, coffee machine, etc.
You can gain even more advantage by subleasing space to a business that is complementary to yours, giving the opportunity for cross-promotion. For example, if you own a vehicle repair business and sublet a bay to an auto detailing company, you can cross-promote each other’s services and attract more customers.
If your business primarily involves selling services, you can make more money by packaging your services and assigning set prices. This will increase sales because it will eliminate clients’ reluctance to sign on for what they view as open-ended projects, and it makes your work appear tangible.
One of the easiest ways to make more money is often overlooked: getting your current customers to buy more of your products and/or services. Shifting your sales focus to your current customers rather than attracting new customers makes excellent economic sense because your current customers are already converted prospects. They know your company and your products and are easier to sell to.
If you want to increase sales to existing customers, though, you have to make sure you treat them right.
Do you have talented, marketable people working for you? Maybe you could sub-contract them to other businesses. For instance, if you have exceptional managers, you could hire them out to other enterprises to run exercises in team-building and management skills. From an employee perspective, working for another business can be advantageous in that it allows them to gain valuable experience in a different organization.
Another twist on this idea is to lend out employees to avoid having to lay them off, loaning employees to another company for a set period of time and then getting them back when you need them (an arrangement to be made by contract only.)
Including value-added services or products is another great business move. Some examples are a carpet cleaner selling bottles of spot remover, a store selling kitchenware offering cooking lessons, or a financial services firm offering a seminar on investment strategies during tough economic times. Another example includes a farm offering delivery service (for a fee) for the products it sells. These are all examples of adding value-added products that customers and clients might be willing to pay money for.
Make more money by examining your products and services and brainstorming additional services or products that your customers might be interested in. Then choose the one you think will make the most money for your business and test it.
Your business premises, your intellectual property, your products, your services, your customers, and your employees are all assets and resources that may or may not be producing as much income for you as they could. With the five “how to make more money in business” ideas above in mind, take a hard look at your business and see if some of your assets are being underutilized. Often the ways our businesses could make more money are right in front of us; we just have to recognize them.
One of the other ways you can increase profits is to cut expenses, and there are many ways to do so. See the following articles for ideas on how to reduce your business expenses: