Are your business expenses starting to spiral? Are you starting to get worried about your business’s future? Don’t panic. Small changes in everyday practices can make a dramatic impact on your company’s finances. Here are five areas where you can start making improvements ASAP:
1. Energy Use
If you run a large office or factory, you could be wasting hundreds of dollars a year through wasteful energy use. But it’s a lot easier than you may think to lower your overall energy costs — simple changes in the workplace can save your business a small fortune each and every billing cycle.
- If you have an office or warehouse with a full-time workforce, train your employees on reducing usage. This includes switching off computers and machinery after use, unplugging mobile phone chargers and handwriting information instead of printing it.
- Consider replacing dated hardware with modern, energy-saving equivalents.
- To lower heating costs, invest in wall insulation and replace old windows with double or triple-paned alternatives. Although these changes may be costly, they will save you money in the long-term.
- Replace incandescent lightbulbs with fluorescent lamps, and you will lower your lighting costs up to 75%. Don’t forget your exit and fire escape signs! They’re often permanently switched on, so invest in some LED lightbulbs to make them run more efficiently.
2. Furniture and Equipment
If you regularly have to buy new furniture and office equipment for your business, paying full price can prove extremely costly. A great alternative is to source deals on almost-new furniture and hardware instead.
- Visit local auction houses — you may come across a range of office essentials that are being sold for a fraction of the retail price.
- If another company goes into liquidation or needs to unload their assets, you may be able to purchase items from them.
- If you’re a savvy online shopper, check out Craigslist or eBay — with caution.
If you are currently spending a lot on hard copy advertising your business, you may want to consider switching to Internet advertising instead. Besides being extremely affordable, online advertising can open up your business to a worldwide market and help you reach customers that you were unable to before.
- Start by launching a company blog — if you’re tech savvy, manage this yourself to keep costs down. If you’re an expert in your industry, many people may be interested in what you have to say. Build your network!
- If you regularly send out a printed newsletter, email it instead.
- Social media marketing is extremely popular right now — many consumers would even consider it a “must.” If you plan your campaigns well, Facebook and Twitter can be extremely cost-effective advertising tools.
- Beyond these examples, PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising is well suited for small businesses, and usually offers a brilliant ROI. If you run a medium-sized business, you may want to look into other avenues such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
4. Payroll Expenses
No one wants to lay off staff. But if you’re desperate to lower your business expenses, you may need to make some tough decisions and consider outsourcing certain business functions. Doing this will let you maintain your critical business services and lower your payroll expenses.
- By outsourcing work to dedicated professionals on an ad-hoc basis, you can keep your expenses down by removing the need to hire a dedicated staff member on a full-time or part-time basis.
- Professionals working in the far-east or other locations will likely charge a much lower hourly rate than you may be used to paying.
- Outsourcing your IT in particular may not only be a much cheaper alternative, it can save you time, too. Just think: no more maintenance, installing updates or troubleshooting pesky problems.
5. Telephone Costs
There are huge savings to be made in this area, and every penny you can pinch can be poured into more crucial aspects of your business.
- Consider changing to cell phones. Many mobile phone contracts are more cost-effective than landlines. You may also get additional perks such as a free device or other piece of hardware.
- Continually comparison shop to make sure you’re on the best deal available on the market. If you find something better, the new provider may be able to buy you out of your existing contract. If they can’t, you’ll at least know whom to switch to when your contract ends.
With small improvements in these five areas of efficiency, you’ll see your business crawl out of the red and jump into the black in no time flat!
Jason Smith is the owner of businesselectricityprices.org.uk, a website that helps consumers and business managers reduce their utility bills. Jason has been helping businesses reduce their costs and increase their energy efficiency for over 10 years.
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