Cutting Costs as a Small Business

By Jessica Sullivan, Guest Blogger

Small businesses generally have it tough. You don’t get the benefit of economies of scale and you don’t have as much influence on the wider economic and political environment. What can you do? You can specialize, innovate and fill a unique role in the marketplace. So whether you have a physical location, online presence, or both — there are some ways you can scale back your outgoings and keep your finances out of the red.

Use Outsourcing

Small businesses sometimes get caught up in paying someone to fulfill a job role that, quite frankly, doesn’t need to be done everyday. This could include human resources, digital marketing, accounting or recruiting.

Most small businesses hire people for these roles because they think that’s what they should be doing — but it’s not what they need to be doing.  Identify the agencies that specialise in these areas and compare it to a cost-per-hour approach. You may find that while the cost per hour increases, the overall spend decreases.

Increase Technology Use

Initial outlay in technology can be expensive but over time it can reduce costs and increase productivity. One example is using video conferencing as an alternative to travelling to meet clients.

Video conferencing technology for small businessSome services can cost but will ultimately save time and money for you and your clients. Of course, the best option is to use a high-quality, reliable free video conferencing provider and set up a video conferencing room. Get extra tips on setting up a modern conference room on a small business budget.

Also, there is a variety of software that is designed to meet your needs, that traditionally you would need to hire an employee for. This includes PA duties, accountancy, HR, and recruitment. For PA duties, I would recommend apps such as Cortana and 24me, as a smart alternative to Siri, as they learn your preferences and can access other platforms for information.

For companies with employees, Sync HR allows you to easily manage human resources duties, such as holidays, absences, payroll, personal details, and timetables.

Start Online Marketing

With online opportunities such as Pay-per-Click (PPC) by Google or social media sponsored ads, you can reach a large volume of people who might be looking for something your product or service offers.

Having an up-to-date, functional website is a must to make the most of these platforms, and it is worth outsourcing to a website designer and digital marketing agency. This way, you can spend time focused on what makes your business successful while increasing sales volumes.

Reduce Office Supplies

Paper is effectively a needless commodity these days. By making your office paper-free, you can make big savings. That means no more printers, ink, pens/ pencils, correction fluid, staplers, folders, hole punchers, and (of course) paper. All of these can be replaced with computer software and whiteboards, if you really have to write something down.

Evaluate Office Space

Is your business making the most of the space you are using? Could you survive with something smaller, or a less costly location? In the UK, for example, commercial property agents in Manchester have documented a recent influx into the city. Large finance companies have been shifting call centres and offices from London to northern cities in an attempt to keep rental costs down and use cheaper employment.

Keep in mind that a property management agency can be more cost-effective than hiring an on-premise employee, and waiting for a contractor can lead to long delays — restricting business.

Buy Refurbished

This is a simple tip that often gets overlooked. Office or industrial equipment can be purchased at a discounted rate through suppliers who also sell refurbished equipment. This practice is most common when it comes to purchasing office furniture; however, it’s easy to find reputable suppliers of  refurbished industrial equipment and IT equipment.

While some of these suggestions may sound obvious, it is easy for new businesses to lose sight as they focus on targeting new business. Therefore it is useful to maintain practice in looking for ways to save money, and constant evaluation of your business to find ways to improve the bottom line.