Are Your Costs Killing Your Business?

Effective Strategies for Managing Costs in Small Businesses


Is your cost killing your business? Your costs may be killing your business. In the competitive landscape of Ghana’s small business sector, managing costs effectively is crucial for success. Many small businesses face challenges related to high expenses such as rental expenses, which can negatively impact their operations and profitability. However, it is important to recognize that some costs can be avoided or reduced. With respect to rent, a prime location or an expensive shop does not guarantee a steady stream of customers. This article aims to provide practical solutions for small business owners in Ghana to manage costs efficiently while building a strong customer base and maximizing profitability.

Let’s see an example of how costs impact your profiles

Let’s consider two hypothetical scenarios where a small business has two options for monthly rent: $1000 and $400. We’ll calculate the impact of these rental costs on revenues and explore ways to reduce costs.

  1. Rent of $1000 per month: Assuming the business generates an average revenue of 30,000 GHS per month. To calculate the impact of the higher rent, let’s assume that the cost of goods sold (COGS) is 40% of the revenue (12,000 GHS), and other fixed costs (excluding rent) amount to 4,500 GHS.
RevenueGHS 30,000
COGS (40% of revenue)GHS 12,000
Other fixed costs (excluding rent)GHS 4,500
RentGHS 12,000
Profit = Revenue – COGS – Other fixed costs – RentGHS 30,000 – GHS 12,000 – GHS 4,500 – GHS 12,000
Profit = GHS 1,500
Option 1 with a lower rent expense

In this scenario, with a monthly rent of $1000 (GHS 12,000), the business is left with a profit of GHS 1,500

  1. Rent of $400 per month: Using the same revenue and cost assumptions:
RevenueGHS 30,000
COGS (40% of revenue)GHS 12,000
Other fixed costs (excluding rent)GHS 4,500
RentGHS 4,800
Profit = Revenue – COGS – Other fixed costs – RentGHS 30,000 – GHS 12,000 – GHS 4,500 – GHS 4,800
Profit = GHS 8,700
Option 2 with a lower rent expense

In this scenario, with a monthly rent of $400 (GHS 4,800), the business achieves a profit of GHS 8,700.

Please note that the GHS amounts are based on the conversion rate of 1 USD to 12 GHS for the rent. It is important to use the prevailing exchange rate at the time of the calculations for accurate results.

So you see, your Costs May Be Killing Your Business!

Some strategies for Managing Costs in Small Businesses

  1. Start Small and Focus on Excellent Service/Product Delivery: Instead of immediately opting for a high-rent location, consider starting small and focusing on delivering exceptional service or products. By prioritizing quality and building a satisfied customer base, businesses can generate positive word-of-mouth and develop a loyal clientele. This approach allows for organic growth and provides a strong foundation for future expansion.
  2. Keep Costs Low: Controlling expenses is essential for small businesses. Identify areas where costs can be minimized without compromising quality. Negotiate favorable terms with suppliers, explore bulk purchasing options, and consider shared resources or partnerships with other businesses. Implement cost-saving measures such as energy-efficient practices, waste reduction, and streamlining processes to increase efficiency.
  3. Generate Marginal Income before Investing in Physical Locations: Before committing to the expenses of renting a shop or investing in a physical location, focus on generating sufficient marginal income. This means ensuring that your business consistently earns a profit from each customer. Establish a strong online presence, explore e-commerce platforms, and utilize social media to reach a wider audience without incurring the high costs associated with a physical shop.
  4. The Impact of High Costs on Pricing and Sales: It is crucial to understand the relationship between costs and pricing. Higher costs often lead to higher prices to offset the expenses, potentially affecting sales. Conduct a comprehensive analysis of your costs, pricing strategies, and market dynamics. Consider adopting a value-based pricing approach, emphasizing the unique benefits your business offers to justify higher prices if necessary. Striking the right balance between costs and pricing is vital for sustainable growth.
  5. Consider Relocating to a More Affordable Location: If high rental costs continue to strain profitability, consider scaling back and moving to a more affordable location. Research areas with lower rental rates that still offer a reasonable customer base. Analyze the potential impact on foot traffic and adjust marketing strategies accordingly. Remember, it is the overall customer experience and value proposition that drive repeat business, not solely the physical location.


Managing costs effectively is a critical aspect of running a successful small business in Ghana. By starting small, focusing on excellent service/product delivery, keeping costs low (so costs will not be killing your business), generating marginal income before investing in a physical location, and assessing the impact of costs on pricing and sales, businesses can enhance their profitability and competitiveness. Remember, success is not solely dependent on an expensive shop or prime location; it is the combination of value, quality, and customer satisfaction that leads to long-term growth.

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