APPRENTICE TIPS: Know how to identify hidden costs in business

Tuesday November 5 2019


By Julius Bulili

For the entrepreneurial mindset, the idea of starting your own business and all the freedom and potential for growth that come with that venture are very exciting. Too often, however, small business owners wind up miscalculating the actual, daily costs of running a company. In order to succeed, you’ll need to budget for expenses—both the expected and the unexpected.

However, an important key to succeed in business is managing your cash flow hence to have enough money on hand to pay bills when they come due. In order to do this, you need to budget for expenses, and expect to have unexpected. When planning your operations thoughtfully be aware of there under hidden costs

Firstly think of Shrinkage. When thinking of shrinkage, obviously theft (by customers or employees) is usually the first thing that comes to mind. Other kind of factors such as damage during transit or simple clerical errors does come later in mind. Compared to the other costs of doing business, shrinkage is relatively minor, but when combined with any number of other hidden costs, evidently your business could easily face financial trouble.

Successful small businesses are built on innovative new ideas, but success also depends on your ability to accurately predict the unexpected. When you’re starting a new business, you can avoid these nasty surprises down the line by designating 20 per cent of your budget to these hidden costs.

You can, of course, reduce your exposure by implementing loss prevention practices like employee training etcetera. It is hard to eliminate it entirely but do something to reduce. Some employees will steal no matter what and it will drain money from your business.

What about Employee Turnover? There are several employee expenses that must be taken into account when running a small business. You’ve probably already factored in the big things such as salaries, payroll taxes, benefits, and retirement plans.


What you may not realize is that there are many more smaller expenses that quickly add up.

While most of these expenses might seem optional, they usually aren’t. For instance, if you don’t invest in a clean, comfortable and enjoyable environment, you may end up paying for it later with a higher employee turnover.

As a small business owner, you can expect a variety of legal expenses. At the very least, you’ll pay to set up a corporation or an LLC.

By far the largest hidden legal cost is that of litigation. It’s easy to assume that you’ll never be the target of a lawsuit, but small businesses are the biggest targets for lawsuits because attorneys know that they’re more likely to settle out of court than pursue legal action.

Worse, the costs go beyond settlements and attorney fees. The time that you’ll spend dealing with a lawsuit instead of working is a loss for your business, and even if you win your case, you’ll probably face higher premiums on your business insurance.

As an Entrepreneur, Business associations and conferences are an invaluable way to connect with others in your industry and with potential customers. However, these two things come with costs that are rarely factored into a company’s overhead. Most reputable business associations come with annual membership fees that can cost you hundreds of dollars, so even if you only join one or two, that can add up.

In conclusion, the above aren’t the only hidden costs to consider. If time is money, as the adage says, then how you spend your time can be a big hidden cost for your business. Open your eyes to costs you may face so you can budget for them and be ready!!!

Julius Bulili – Business Coach Email: