Here are some of the tips I found useful for freelancers:
1. Improve profits by analyzing return on investment by customer and product line. I can very easily see from past result reports who are my most profitable customers and also which business activities that generate the most money (translation in my case).
2. Maintain customer loyalty (we all know this one, but it can never be repeated too much). Fix the problems, do something extra, follow up and ask for repeat business.
3. Sales and marketing - spend money to make money, but spend it wisely. Luckily we freelance translators have many low cost alternatives through Internet and social media.
4. Have the right tools available for your business - accounting tools, translation tools, project management tools
5. Implement a quality improvement program
6. Facilities - downsize, renegotiate lease terms or work from home. Insulate roof, attic, weather-strip doors, energy-efficient lighting, auto shutoff, check out tax credits.
7. Recycle and reuse - print on both sides of paper, buy reusable water bottles
8. Accounts receivable - be sure to put payment terms on your invoices and have a clear collection policy. Follow up with customer via phone and mail consistently and persistently. Consider requiring down payments of some portion for new customers.
9. Forecast cash flow and plan for future, retirement, have an exit plan
I also left the meeting feeling grateful that I work in a business where the level of financial investment is low and gladly skipped all tips about loans and financing. Now off to do some more translation work and improve my cash flow.