Private manufacturing companies in Sageworks' database have an average net profit margin of 6.5 percent, according to current estimates for 2012. That compares with an average net profit margin of just over 5 percent in 2011 and a recessionary low average of 2.7 percent in 2009.
Preliminary estimates show that private-company sales increased nearly 8 percent in 2012, and net profit margins, on average, increased to around 8 percent from around 5 percent in 2011.
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If sales volumes aren't improving or are volatile, business owners can still grow profits. Here are three ways to generate more bang for the bucks your business brings in.