When it comes to improving the bottom line profit, 9 out of 10 small business owners tell me they need to increase the number of customers or reduce their expenses. Funny how they rarely mention the need to improve their gross profit margin.
Whether you sell products or services, your gross profit margin is a key profit lever in your business. So here are five ways to increase yours:
- Promote the heck out of premium or higher margin products. A lot of small businesses promote lower-margin products and services, then try to up-sell the customer into something better. Why not do the opposite. Use your marketing budget to support sales of the good stuff — and let lower margin options become the alternate for those who can’t afford the best.
- Look for ways to reduce product or service delivery costs so more profit falls to the bottom line. Renegotiate with vendors, eliminate slow-moving products or streamline your delivery procedures to reduce labor costs.
- Find alternate, cost-effective ways to get your products or services to customers – joint ventures or the web are just a few.
- Identify effective ways to add value that customers will pay for – so you can raise prices more than the cost of the value added. Not sure what you can add? Talk to your customers.
- Differentiate yourself so you stop competing on price. Give them other reasons. What do you do well? What makes you better than your competitors? Price is certainly one consideration – don’t make it the only one.
Here’s one more to consider. When it comes to pricing, know the difference between markup and margin. They are not the same and a mistake here will cost you a lot of money on the bottom line. To learn more about this topic, check out my article on markup versus margin.