All businesses, wherever you are in the world, or, however, large or small you are, should be looking to cut costs. It’s achievable – and manageable – way of boosting your bottom line. With this in mind, we thought we would give you some simple ideas for how to get started. Some of the biggest wastes of money and resources stem from the office. So, we thought it would be a good idea to focus our attention right there. Read on to find out more – and let us know if you have any more tips to add!
Go open source
What software do you use for your business? Many companies pay top dollar to get the best in show software – but do they need it? Open source software is an excellent option – as long as it gives you what you need. For example, Apache’s OpenOffice is a wonderful alternative to Microsoft Word. You can check it out here – https://www.openoffice.org/. Not only will you save money, but you will save on resources, too. Another example is GIMP. It’s a free photo imaging software that you can use instead of Adobe’s Photoshop. There are free alternatives to almost any high-ticket software you can imagine, so have a root around and see what you can find. While it’s true that they won’t be as feature-rich, you will save a lot of money.
Digitize your communications
Are you still using ancient fax machines and an analog telephone system? If so, why not consider updating to VoIP? It’s a great way for smaller businesses to get more control over their costs of communication. A lot more consumers expect you to have a modern communications system, and it can be a lot cheaper than a standard phone line. However, bear in mind that there are a few technical challenges with VoIP, as they are all running at the same time, through the same line. You can head over here for more details – http://electricalconnection.org/services/commercial/voice/. To keep your system in good working order, it’s worth investing in a third part to install and manage it on your behalf.
Promote more productivity
Want to know one of the biggest drains on your office? It’s your employees’ productivity. Try looking at ways you can manage each of your employee’s time more efficiently. They will have times of the day – which tend to be in the morning – when they are pumped and more productive. There will also be times when they are tired and don’t get much done – in the mid-afternoon, for example. So, give them lots of harder tasks to complete when they have the energy, and save less critical tasks for their afternoon slump. Absence management programs can help, too. They will help you get to grips with how many sick days your staff have, and come up with solutions to solve the problem.
Turn out the lights
Another big cost for small, office-based businesses is one that is entirely avoidable. The amount of energy you use can have a massive drain on your bottom line, so ensure that you have an energy saving policy in place. Train your staff to conserve heat and electricity wherever possible. Even something as simple as turning out the lights when they leave a room can help. Closing doors rather than leaving them open to drafts is also a good start. It might not sound a lot when you isolate each little thing. But, over the course of the month, and with every employee doing their bit, you will find the amount adds up.
Use less paper
We’ve already been through the process of digitizing your communications. But, digitizing everything else can help, too. Only use paper when it is necessary. Savvy business owners can save anything up to 40-50% of their paper costs by being more pragmatic. Try and set up online order systems with your suppliers, as well as your customers. In some cases, you might get a discount for going paperless. Utility companies, for example, will charge you less if they don’t have to send you a bill. Again, these all sound like small savings. But, when you add them up and spread them over a year – or even five years – it is a significant amount of money. And, you could easily use those savings to invest in better equipment, research and development, and more staff.
Hire at the right time
Speaking of staff, are you hiring people at the right time? While more employees are essential as you grow, you can make a lot of savings by using recruitment agencies or outsourcing. For example, if you outsource part of your marketing, you will pay a flat fee per month. However, if you hire an employee to do the same job, you will pay a full wage, holiday money, insurance, benefits and a whole lot more. It makes sound financial sense to outsource until a full-time hire is cost effective. So, take your time and outsource until you are in that position.
Better inventory control
Think about hiring a supplies manager, and keeping all your stock and supplies in one location. It will help you keep more control over everything you use – and it’s an effective way of saving money. Think about how many boxes of pens and reams of paper you get through every year. If you can manage the whole process, you will be surprised at how much you save. Sure, people will be unhappy at having to sign every Biro out of a supplies office. But, they will soon start to take better care of what they have. It just encourages more sensible workplace practices – and saves you heaps up cash.
Streamline your insurance
Finally, be honest with us for a second. When was the last time you checked your insurance? Or, did you even check it in the first place? Most business owners don’t, and end up paying a lot more for irrelevant parts of their plan. Lots of insurance plans are bloated with unnecessary expenses that don’t have anything to do with your business. So, our final point is a simple one. Streamline your insurance to cover you for what you need – and no more. There are significant savings to be had if you do.