With the start of the New Year, most small and medium-sized enterprises will be looking at two things – cutting costs and chasing growth.
As a small business owner, you’re always looking to bring in more business and increase profits. However, another way to boost profits that is often overlooked is cutting down on expenses. Even if you’re having a good month full of increased sales, out-of-control expenses will quickly eat away at these profits.
Whatever the size and stage of your business, there are plenty of savings on offer. Keep a close track of your expenses and cut them every chance you get.
1) Bring in Interns
Every so often, you just can’t make use of remote workers, like when the paper filing in the office has piled up or you need other hands-on tasks to be completed. A lot of the time, businesses will use temporary employees for these jobs, but this can prove to be costly.
Rather than hiring ‘temps’, you can take on interns from local colleges or business trade schools to help take care of these tasks. When getting work experience or college credits, students work for small fees and sometimes for nothing at all.
Furthermore, you can make use of a virtual assistant – many college students who aren’t able to find an internship in their areas look to the internet to work remotely. Sites such as Internshala will post an internship opportunity for you, making them visible to thousands of students who are looking to take on virtual internships.
2) Collaborate with small businesses
Work with other small business owners and collaborate with them to save money on supplies and other business necessities.
You can even team up with business owners who function in the same niche as you. This is known as ‘co-opetition’, and is thought to be one of the latest trends in business. By no means will you be cutting yourself short by forming these partnerships and saving on business costs.
3) Cut down on account purchases
Many entrepreneurs and business advisers can agree with this simple tip to save costs. Frequently, at all levels of business, employees turn to accounts with suppliers without thinking about the cost. One common account that is overused is the stationary provider, according to serial entrepreneur, John Starr.
“Each year at random I ban stationery purchases for a month and it gives a saving of around 8-9%,” he says. “In all the years it has never caused a problem as staff manage to find huge amounts in their desk drawers, on shelves and so on. It has to be at random or stocks will build up.”
4) Manage your time
As a small business owner, anything that you can implement to save time will also save you money in the long run. Time is a limited resource and owning your own business requires you to put in a lot of hours. If you find that you’re not managing your time well, you can look into some effective time management techniques.
5) Save Power
As an entrepreneur, you can encourage your employees to be as energy conscious at work as they are at home. Desktops and laptops should be shut down or set on hibernation mode when not in use, particularly overnight and on weekends.
Lighting systems should be set separately, so that different parts of the office can be lit independently when required. Rather than using traditional incandescent bulbs, try to make use of compact fluorescent bulbs. Not only do these bulbs last longer, but also use about 75 per cent less energy than standard light bulbs.
6) Live in the cloud
Cloud computing reduces hardware costs. If your company needs to use a heavier management program, you do not need to invest in new servers or a powerful machine – through cloud computing, you can ‘rent’ the required hardware capacity and hire a plan that suits its needs, therefore paying only for what you need. Cloud computing allows small businesses to have access to high-tech features for a much lower price.