Seven Top Money-Saving Ideas for Small Businesses

Small companies in the UK are growing fast, according to research by the Federation of Small Businesses. Many are planning to invest and take on staff as the recovery boosts economic confidence. However, to maximise profits small companies still need to make savings and constantly review their spending – since unnecessary expenditure can make a big difference to any company’s bottom line. Here are some tips from The Gattinetts, who offer affordable office space at their business centre near Colchester, on how to cut your operating costs.

1. Flexible Working: Part-time working has become increasingly popular, with a change in the law giving more workers the right to request this type of arrangement. However, even before the Government legislated, small companies were already showing the way forward on flexible working. Many of Britain’s SMEs tend to employ a number of part-timers and encourage job shares and similar arrangements.

This not only saves on staffing costs, but also helps to build engagement. It is a valuable way to keep key staff with other responsibilities, such as young children or elderly relatives, on board. This means there is less risk of having to recruit replacements and spend a lot of time training them to take the place of the staff you have lost.

2.Delegate and Outsource: When you start up a small business, it can initially seem like a money-saving idea to do as much as possible yourself. Unfortunately, this is likely to prove a false economy if as a result you need to spend a lot of time on administrative work.

Delegating to other people within your company and outsourcing some functions, such as finance or HR, can help to free up your own time and that of key staff to concentrate on the core business. Outsourcing also means you will benefit from the expertise of the professionals you are entrusting tasks to, and they may find further ways of cutting your costs, such as pointing out tax breaks.

3. Work Smart with Technology: While using technology involves an initial outlay, this can often be quickly recouped, as technological solutions will save a lot of staff time and money. New software and apps are being developed all the time to streamline routine tasks. Free or low-cost apps can often serve your purposes just as well as expensive top brands. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on what software you are using and avoid automatically renewing licences you don’t need. Cloud services are another money-saving asset, replacing filing cabinets in the office and making it easier for staff to work together on projects.

4. Go Green and Save Energy:One disadvantage of technology is that it will increase your energy bills if equipment is left running when it isn’t needed. Many larger companies have had “green audits” in recent years, looking at how to improve their eco-friendliness and avoid waste. Small companies can also find this approach worthwhile. Simple steps like turning computers off at night instead of leaving them on standby, and also making sure that any replacement equipment is energy-efficient, can reduce bills. Saving on paper by not printing out where possible, and using email instead of post, also cuts your costs – and your carbon footprint.

5. Use Networking: Building goodrelationships with other small companies can help to cut costs if it makes it possible for you to help each other out, or swap products and services. Working together also means you can sometimes place bulk orders and save on costs, instead of placing a small order on your own.

6. Chase Unpaid Bills: Nationally, small companies are owed huge sums by companies who pay late. It can be difficult to pursue customers, but they should understand that you need to keep your cash flow in order. Putting a “pay by” date on invoices is one useful step, and you could also consider sending out email reminders. Business debt collection services can be used as a last resort.

7. Choose a Cost-Effective Location: Choosing office space to let in the centre of a large town is likely to add to your costs. The workspace will be more expensive than it would be in a rural Essex or Suffolk location, and it is also likely there will be pressure on parking nearby for both your staff and customers.

It’s more cost-effective to choose affordable office space in a complex such as The Gattinetts Business Centre, near Colchester. It offers lower rents and free parking. By choosing this location, you can be within easy reach of London but without paying its prices. Business units can be rented on short-term leases, and the site also offers secured storage space at affordable rates. Follow the link above if you would like to find out more about us.