There’s no denying that running a small business is a challenge, especially when it comes to finances. Money (or the lack of it) can place a real strain on your business’ ability to function and puts both owners and employees under stress. However, there are ways to relieve some of the pressure which you may not have considered. It’s crucial that you have a budget for all your departments so you can monitor spending. If you allow employees to spend without tracking it, you may find this leads to confusion and overspending. After all, every department believes their expenses are more urgent than another. Everyone in the business needs to stick to the budget. In the future, when you have a healthier cash flow, you may be able to relax a little.
Until then, you should concentrate on cutting costs where you can. If you’re struggling to work out how you are going to save money and increase profits in your small business, take a look at these simple, easy, simple and realistic tips which almost all small enterprises can use to save money.
1. Use a Digital Marketing Agency
Marketing is crucial when trying to find new customers. You need to raise awareness about your small business’ services, new products and what sets you apart from your competitors, but doing so can be very costly in terms of both money and time. To take this strain off your business, you may want to consider enlisting the support of an external marketing agency rather than hiring a marketing professional or a team. Instead of spending money on marketing, which may or may not succeed, these people will be experts in their field so should be more effective at bringing sales leads into your business.
2. Move Your Banking Online
In many cases, switching to online banking is not only a great time-saver and much easier to manage; it can also come with savings if you open an account online rather than at a branch. You won’t need to spend time or money travelling to and from the bank to manage your accounts and make payments and can spend more time focusing on your business.
3. Hire Freelancers and Contractors
Small businesses often rely on just a few individuals working on a part-time basis, so hiring freelancers and contractors who specialise in a particular field is a no-brainer for many companies. Why hire someone on a full-time basis if you only need their expertise on a semi-regular basis and the rest of their time is spent doing menial tasks? Paying for work on a freelance basis also means paying for the precise work which has been completed, not just for the time someone has spent in the office. It can save money through increased productivity.
4. Share an Office Space
Running an office or commercial premises can be very costly, and if you have a small or part-time team, it’s rarely worth the expense. Small businesses can save a lot of money by operating from home initially, but there are also shared office spaces and hot desking facilities to consider. These spaces give you a professional office environment as an when you need it. This could be rented by the hour, by the day or for a set number of days each month. It gives you somewhere to run the business which is separate from the distractions of home and a more professional environment to meet with clients or colleagues.
5. Buy Second-hand Office Equipment
Many businesses purchase new office equipment because they believe it gives a more established and professional impression to clients or business partners. However, in reality, there is a lot of high quality used equipment and furniture available at a fraction of the price, which does the job just as well. Recycling furniture is also more environmentally friendly, so it is another way to operate as a green business.
6. Advertise on Social Media
Marketing is no longer confined to printed materials, billboards, newspapers, TV, or radio. The internet has opened up a whole new selection of platforms, and each of these enables businesses to advertise for very low or even zero cost. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have launched many companies from obscurity to prosperity with minimal investment. You can also pay for cheap adverts in search engines such as Google to send customers directly to your website. It takes a clever strategy and some trial and error, but you could find great success with very little cost.
7. Find Cheaper Office Supplies and Goods
The majority of small and medium-sized businesses will buy some kind of goods, whether it’s bathroom products, coffee, tea or stationery supplies. Unfortunately, too many of us are guilty of buying higher priced branded products, and these are not necessarily higher in quality. To keep costs as low as possible, try to purchase unbranded products. If you are working with a regular supplier of products you use all the time, including toner, paper or ink, you may want to consider comparing the prices you’re paying with a new company such as Cartridge People. Other companies may be able to beat the prices you’re already paying so shop around as much as you can.
In addition, don’t be shy about asking about the possibility of discounts and special deals. If you have been a loyal customer to a particular supplier for a while or are considering starting a new business partnership, you might be surprised how many companies are willing to offer discounts.
8. Be Flexible with Employee Hours
You may be able to reduce the hours you pay your staff by giving them the option of more flexibility. Parents often need to be able to pick children up from school at least a few times a week, and some may prefer to end their week on a Friday lunchtime. If your employees can get their work completed in fewer hours and are happy to reach an arrangement that suits both them and the company, you may be able to save the business some money each month.