Operating a Leaner Business: 4 Tips to Achieve It

For smaller businesses, it’s often necessary to be smarter than the average bear. What do we mean by that? While larger corporations got there by being successful, they’re often not that efficient. Size creates a degree of complacency because they can usually afford to spend more, make additional mistakes, and overcommit to things… and still deliver a healthy earnings report.

Small businesses don’t have the same degree of slack. Smaller companies must find ways to operate leaner than their larger competition. They don’t have the same pricing power, so usually, the margins are thinner. Running lean helps them to still compete at the same level. Here are 4 tips on doing just that.

Make Better Decisions, Sooner

While you want to make good decisions, taking too long can be costly. Resources can be deployed into projects that don’t gel with the subsequent change in direction. This can lead to losses that could have been avoided. Make decisions quicker but avoid making them so quickly that they’ll need to be reversed later. Know what’s needed to have as many facts as necessary to analyze the situation, decide, and then pull the trigger.

Maintain Well to Avoid Expenses Climbing

Some lean businesses tend to cut all expenditures across the board. This may look prudent to either keep cash balances higher or to temporarily increase earnings, but it’s not a sound policy for the medium to long-term. All buildings need maintenance to keep them in good shape. While some aspects of a lease agreement may make the commercial landlord responsible, this won’t apply to that many things. Most of the time, it’s necessary to get problems fixed sooner and not wait.

For example, if there’s a roof problem due to a recent storm, it’s best to call in a commercial roofing company to address it quickly. Otherwise, the debris that has accumulated could shift with further winds creating additional damage. To select a commercial roofer, start here: advantage-construction.com.

Don’t Only Think Short-term

A short-term mindset can focus on immediate matters in a business, but it does leave something to be desired. A good example of this might be companies that are run so lean that they won’t invest in staff training. Subsequently, employees will often be unprepared for more advanced roles, see that there are no opportunities for promotion, and move away to other companies. This will increase the turnover as well as recruitment costs to replace them.

By being too penny-pinching to stay operating as inexpensively as possible, it can create a bad knock-on effect. So, don’t just think short-term – cast an eye out to the consequences of a cutback.

Perform Tests to Validate Decisions

Pivoting to a degree on a project is a good idea when it can be shown that it makes sense to do so. Performing tests to validate the right product design or to confirm a sizeable market for a new product is useful. Adding features that no one asked for or wanted is a good way to waste money and prevent a business from succeeding.

Small businesses are prone to failure. It’s said that two out of every five startups won’t make it. So, smaller companies need to operate lean, but also smart, because cutting their nose off to spite their face never makes good sense.


Dee is a well-respected business journalist with a deep understanding of global financial markets and a talent for uncovering the stories behind the numbers. With over 20 years of experience covering the business beat, Dee is known for his in-depth reporting and analysis of industry trends, as well as his ability to make complex financial concepts understandable to a wide audience.