Hints of spring are finally in the air, and winter is behind us. For businesses, that also means taxes are done and dusted for another financial year.

Before the Christmas decorations start appearing in the shops, it’s a great time to take stock of your business finances and undertake a business health-check. Consider it a fresh new start to the financial year ahead, before the slowing down of January and warmer weather takes its toll on our time and energy.

Here are 6 simple changes you can make to improve your business, that are easy to implement and well worth your time.

• Review your staff mix

There’s no better time to review your operational costs than when you can see them in action. For the childcare sector, the months between winter’s end and the start of summer are peak season for activities, events and supporting busy families in the rush towards the finish line of the year.

Look firstly at your staff mix and ask yourself, is it optimized for your current occupancy? Generally speaking staff costs should be running at around 40-50% of turnover. If they are outside of these parameters, it’s vital to address it now and not later.

• Assess your marketing budget

If you’re still relying on traditional – and more expensive – marketing methods such as letter box drops, flyers and ads in the local paper, why not shift your focus to digital marketing opportunities? Social media allows you to run cost-effective and highly targeted ads on popular platforms such as Facebook, where you can measure the return on your investment much more accurately.

You can also trial Google Adwords campaigns, content marketing via your website or consider joining and posting to local Groups on Facebook where childcare is a relevant topic.

• Switch providers and save costs

Potential costs savings can also be had by something as simple as switching electricity or other service providers.

You’ll be amazed with the savings you can pocket by asking your provider for a better deal, or connecting with a competitor to see how they can beat your current rates.

• Revisit your fee structure

It’s important to sit back and ask yourself if your fees are truly reflective of the quality of service you’re delivering from time to time. Reviewing your top line is as important as your bottom line!

Do you charge flat flees across all age groups? Are you factoring in the unrecognised benefits and extras your business is providing parents?

It may be time to implement some discriminatory pricing depending on the age group your service provides for, and the additional outputs and resources required to manage each group.

• Explore opportunities for funding

By staying connected to your local, state or indeed federal government websites and social media accounts, you can be aware of any funding opportunities that your centre may be eligible for.

Applying for and succeeding in securing government funding could open out great opportunities for development and investment in your centre, as well as partnerships or programs that could generate positive press in the local community.

• Invest in your centre

It’s also vital that owners continually improve and invest in their centres.

With Sydney being an increasingly crowded market place with lots of new centres continuing to open their doors, it’s important to stand your ground in the market and ensure you stand out for all the right reasons.

Invest in new equipment, outdoor play areas, painting, flooring, furniture and resources or training and development. It is almost always going to earn your centre a return on investment and will have a positive flow-on effect on your reputation in the community.

So make the most of the new financial year before the Silly Season begins, by taking these simple steps towards as stronger business.