Order # 001
Cost & Overhead Analyzer
Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet
a Cost & Overhead Spreadsheet
to Improve Cash Flow
Here's a helpful way to use your cost and overhead data to make your business more successful. Using the techniques that follow, you can improve your cash flow and make your company thrive.
As a small business, cost factors such as labor, insurance, and rent can be major drains on your checkbook. A cost and overhead (C&OH) worksheet can be a valuable asset in managing costs and improving cash flow. As you watch your bottom line, watch your costs closely to see if any are growing beyond your acceptable limits.
Print out your C&OH analyzer spreadsheet. Circle the costs that are the highest. Calculate the percent that each cost is of your company's gross revenue. This becomes an initial cost baseline for your company. From now on, your goal is to reduce costs below this baseline. Each dollar that you cut costs adds a dollar to your gross profit. And profit is what it's all about.
A common error occurs when you have no idea what the proper expense should be, so you accept this as normal and use this historical data to evaluate future expenses. If your cost is abnormally high to start with, you could perpetuate the same over spending. The last expense could be much more than your competitor's or much higher than it should be. You need to determine what is an acceptable expense for your industry. Here's how.
Compare your list of cost factors with that of your competitors. Glean what you can from their handouts, press releases, and bragging at conferences and trade shows. Ask your professional associations for trade data. Check with government organizations such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
When you compare competitor or industry cost with yours, you'll get an idea where your company stands against your peers. If the results show that your costs are low, it suggests that you're operating better than your competitors, but you may not be operating as efficiently. However, it does give you a reference point from which to compare future snapshot looks.
A better approach to cost analysis is to use “zero-based” budgeting. Every year, each cost must be justified to see how much you “should” be spending. Changing conditions drive changing expenses, and you want to be on top of cost factors every day.
Each year, when you plan for the following year, re-justify every expense. By looking closely at costs, you'll discover a number of common expense areas when you can save dollars. These include shipping, inkjet and laser printer toner cartridges, paper, postage, benefits, training, and the real biggie, labor (part time, full time, freelance or subcontractors, and scheduling work).
Here's how we use ours. As we collect current prices to update our pricing tables and hourly rates books, we conduct a LOT of research. We noticed that our printing costs were pushing pretty high. (We can go through 10 inkjet toner cartridges a week.) So we looked for a better inkjet toner cartridge supplier. We found several and immediately cut our toner costs in half. This equated to a $100 a week savings. This weekly savings represents $100 more in gross profit to the company — each week.
Likewise, we found that by modifying our staff mix (PT, FT, freelance), we were able to save another $400 a week through smart scheduling and work task assignments.
All of these savings show up on our Cost & Overhead Analyzer worksheet. And these drive new baselines from which we evaluate future expenses to see how well we manage the resources in the company. You can do the same thing.
It all starts with a good Cost & Overhead Analyzer spreadsheet. And we have one — an Excel spreadsheet that's not locked, so you can modify and customize it for your own company. The small $12.99 investment makes a printout from this product worth its weight in gold. We'll email it to you today. Just click over to www.brennerbooks.com and place your order. We take all major credit cards.
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revised April 2011