Atop many lists of New Year's Resolutions will be to slim down in 2016. This holds true for individuals, as well as small businesses. Companies' becoming "lean and mean" is a frequent aspiration, and it is important to remember that running a profitable business hinges on both increasing revenue and cutting costs.

Accept Only the Most Profitable Jobs
Is it possible to scale back the amount of work you do and become even more profitable than before? The answer is a resounding yes! In fact, according to small business expert Dawn Fotopulos, limiting the amount of assignments you accept (taking the ones that are less labor intensive) is a simple way to gain profitability.

For instance, a photographer might decide to scale back from packaging in wedding videos for a bride and groom. Producing video often requires hiring additional professionals to handle sound and lighting. In the end, the extra profit from the assignment may be negligible once the additional labor costs and package deal discounts are factored.

"Taking on additional assignments might not make sense," said Fotopulos, author of the award-winning business book, Accounting for the Numberphobic: A Survival Guide for Small Business Owners. "Instead, that time can be used to identify and target other, more profitable activities, rather than accepting every assignment."

Mind Your Accounts Receivable
Contract negotiations must include discussion of both price and payment terms. Sales people must be responsible for payment terms, not just agreeing on the price. Be sure to include payment terms each invoice. Further, be sure to invoice promptly. According to Fotopulos, up to 90 percent of small business owners do not invoice on a timely basis.

While it may seem like a no-brainer, business owners must invoice customers who owe them money. If you are not going to get paid, why be in business? Keep track of receivables by printing out and reading aging reports each month. It is critical to cash flow -- and a company's ultimate survival -- to collect payment for goods and services provided. Don't be shy; use the telephone and call each customer who owes money over 30 days past due. If you are not serious about having customers pay on time, they won't be concerned about it either.

Evaluate Your Cost of Capital

While the Federal Reserve announced a small interest rate hike at the end of 2015, borrowing rates remain quite low. Small business owners who have borrowed at high rates but have been steadily paying down their debts are building their credit ratings and may qualify for better products at lower rates. Now is still a good time to renegotiate terms of small business debt. Doing so can save hundreds -- even thousands -- in interest payments, depending on the size of the loan and the current payment terms.

All of these tips are important for the growth and valuation of any company. At some point, an entrepreneur will look to expand his/her business in the future or perhaps sell it off for the highest valuation possible. Dawn Fotopulos will offer advice on how to do this in her upcoming webinar, How to Build a $ Million Business on Weds, Jan. 27 at 3:00 p.m. EST. It's free to register and attend.

Published on: Jan 12, 2016