We’ve compiled a list of 100 ways to save your business money by cutting costs in key areas.
The list is broken down into a range of subject areas.
Outsourcing a business function to a specialist, third-party company saves money on wages, pensions, and office space.
- Change rosters
Readjust your employee’s hours to maximise their productivity and give a better service to your customers. If possible, use flexible working to ensure staff are refreshed and motivated.
- Hire interns
An Internship gives inexperienced employees the chance to develop their skills whilst providing you with low-cost labour. interns are intelligent, skilled and enthusiastic. Internships also provide an opportunity to trial potential employees for an extended period.
- Cap redundancy compensation
Set a cap of 20 years’ service when remunerating redundant staff and set a minimum length of service term.
- Skills matrix
Map the skills of your workforce and utilise them in their best areas.
- Reduce employee turnover
A culture of effective, and open, communication, that engenders employees with a sense of responsibility helps retain staff loyalty, but if you want to buy their allegiance, company-wide benefit schemes work.
- Job-share scheme
Job-shares utilise two sets of employee experience, lead to higher staff retention, and result in fewer days lost through sickness.
- Automate tasks
If a software solution exists (such as an accountancy or stock handling system), take advantage, and it may pay dividends in the long run.
- Offer more overtime
Instead of hiring more people, offer your current workforce more overtime.
- Enforce annual leave
Don’t allow employees the option to carry over days from one year to another. Managing staff resources allows you to plan better.
- Hire freelancers
Hiring freelancers cuts costs significantly, and allows you to increase, and decrease, your workforce according to need.
- Ask employees for ideas
The workers, who are carrying out day-to-day activities, offer closer scrutiny of company procedures.
- Create savings culture
Set out an ethos, in company literature, of efficiency and dynamism.
- Move your store online
Is there a real need to keep a physical store front open, when you can minimise overheads by selling via an online shop?
- Move your operational hub to cheaper premises
Consider whether you can operate your business to the same level of efficiency at a site in an out-of-town location.
- Centralize services
Does it make more sense to centralise a business function in one location instead of having it spread over several sites? It may cut replication and staff numbers.
- Encourage homeworking
Not having to provide desk-space for employees can allow you to a rent smaller business property and save money on business rates.
- Lease equipment
Paying a monthly, fixed, leasing cost ensures your equipment is current and in good working order.
- Monitor energy costs
Smart meters can be installed to measure gas and electricity use.
- Go paperless
Discourage employees from unnecessarily printing out emails and documents, in order to save on paper costs and photocopier click-rate rental costs.
- Renegotiate maintenance contracts
Ensure service providers are reaching their agreed levels of service, and renegotiate service levels to suit your budget, if need be.
- Shop around for insurance
Business insurance operates just like regular insurance, and it’s well worth shopping around for the best deal when it’s time to renew.
- Local government schemes
Take advantage of all the support available to you from a regional government body.
- Go green
There are government schemes available that encourage businesses to consider their emissions, energy use, and the technology they use in exchange for tax concessions.
- Work from home
Claim for any costs incurred by working at home. If you are self-employed, claim tax relief on mortgage interest, council tax, home insurance, and general repairs.
- Cycle to work scheme
A salary sacrifice scheme that benefits both the company’s wallet and the employee’s health.
- Salary sacrifice low emission cars
Company cars with lower C02 emissions pay less tax.
- Be organized
Set aside specific times and dates to pay your bills; don’t let the constant hustle and bustle of running your business lead to mistakes.
- Pay yourself properly
Remember each year to check your tax code, just in case you end up paying the wrong amount.
- Pension schemes
Making greater pension contributions means you’ll also pay less tax
- Claim against tax for business critical equipment
If a piece of equipment is essential to the running of the company, its cost is deducted from your company’s profits when you pay your taxes.
- Donate to charity
If you make a charitable donation, you will pay less corporation tax.
- Renegotiate terms
Regular dialogue over paying terms may result in a better deal for your company, as suppliers will be willing to accommodate you in order to keep your business.
Making larger purchase orders can give you leverage to demand a lower price per unit, from suppliers.
- Pay quicker
Paying your outstanding invoices immediately allows you negotiate a cheaper price for your goods, as suppliers are often beset with debtors who are bad. Use your reliability as a bargaining chip.
- Reduce waste
Make more economical use of materials to repurpose and recycle.
- Streamline product feature
If an aspect of a product is functionally unnecessary, and incurs extra production cost, is it worth including in future iterations?
- Look out for bargains
Periodically, suppliers will need to sell stock at a reduced price in order to clear shelf space. Take advantage of any spare space in your warehouse and stock up.
- Maximise your warehouse
Organise your stock more efficiently; re-purpose, or rent out, unused space.
- Long term supply agreements
You can arrange lower prices for goods if you agree with the supplier to purchase them for a set period of time.
- Buy local
Transport costs add up; lower this expense by sourcing goods locally.
- Buy non-branded items
Cut down on unnecessary cost by sourcing non-branded components where possible.
- Online advertising
For a greater return on your marketing budget, invest more in online activity. A strong online presence gives you better visibility to consumers and business decision-makers.
- Repurpose content
Take a subject you’ve already written about and create an infographic or video about the same subject.
- Turn print to pdf
Replace direct mail with email marketing campaigns.
- Adopt an automated CRM system
Use your website to capture leads and regularly feed the information through a CRM system.
- Hire the right people
Hire experienced staff to minimise errors and the cost of rewrites.
- Analyse web statistics
Analyse your website’s bounce rates, and adjust the content on your website accordingly, to keep your audience’s attention and channel it to ‘call to action’ pages.
- Eliminate duplicate content
Essentially plagiarising yourself lowers your Google ranking. If you need to replicate information, try and say it in a different way, or through a different medium, such as an infographic.
- Create content plan
Having a structured annual content plan allows you to budget more effectively.
- Content marketing
Write optimised content that ranks well with search engines.
- Use social media
There are a plethora of social media platforms on which you can create a company presence, and reach new audiences.
- ROI and budget reviews
Regularly analyse the return on investment you are getting from a particular campaign. Is the budget you are allocating justifying the return?
- Get in the news
A success story in a local newspaper can help tap into their readership, both in print and online.
- Set a travel budget
On essential business travel, set a budget and make it a challenge to stay within it.
- Print in black and white
Print-outs in black and white use considerably less toner and printer consumables.
- Print on both sides
Double the use of your paper resources by utilising both sides of the paper.
Planning the delivery of key messages saves time and resources.
- Track energy usage
Office smart meters are a constant visual reminder, to staff, of how much energy they are consuming.
- Internet usage
Setting out a policy on internet usage, the type of sites that are approved, and the set times during which the internet can be used, increases productivity.
- Use of work phones for personal use
Save money by banning the use of work phone for private use.
- Personal mobile phone use
Create a mobile phone use policy for workers to adhere to whilst at work.
- Core working hours
Set a block of hours in the morning and afternoon when employees cannot use flexi-time. This ensures times of maximum productivity and availability during the working day.
- Pool Cars
A pool of lease cars, for business use, works out cheaper than paying to have a car each.
- Use mugs instead of disposable cups
This saves costs on consumables.
- Lighting sensors
Proximity lights, that turn on when they sense activity, save on electricity.
- Don’t hoard stationery
Only stock the amount you need.
- Buy second-hand office equipment
You can make massive savings by purchasing second-hand equipment from online auction sites.
- Audit equipment
Catalogue everything you own. Something is less likely to be stolen if it’s known that it has been accounted for.
- Keep desk space clean
Making employees responsible for the cleanliness of their work environment can cut down on the need to hire external contracts.
- Set subsistence allowance when on trips
Have a set allowance for employees’ meals meals, when they are on business trips, instead of allowing them to claim back any receipt amount on expenses.
- Clocking-in machines
Ensures employees are working their contractually agreed hours.
- Don’t leave monitors / PCs on standby mode.
This saves on energy costs and reduces your carbon footprint.
- Electric hot water taps
Cuts the cost of having to heat up and instantly produces hot water.
- Look into factoring invoices
Selling your outstanding invoices to a factoring company helps you receive up to 90% of the value of that invoice within 24-hours, with the remainder, minus fees, arriving when the invoice is settled. Factoring gives your company debt-free, working capital.
- Negotiate better rates on overdrafts and loans
If your company is able to get approval for a loan or overdraft, it is worth contacting your bank and trying to arrange more favourable terms.
- Arrange better terms on transactional charges
Your high-street bank may also make concessions regarding credit and debit card transaction fees.
- Contact late payers regularly
Keep up the pressure on debtors or, alternatively, engage in the services of an invoice finance company who deal with late payers as part of their service.
- Set project budgets
Adherence to strict project management principles (like Prince2) can bring projects in on time and within budget.
- Keep up to date on tax laws
Monitoring changes can help you find out if you’re paying too much or too little.
- Carry out credit checks promptly
Regularly analyse the reliability of a customer to pay their bills.
- Get all your insurances through one provider
Many insurance providers will give you a discount if you use multiple services from them, as a loyalty incentive.
- Spread out your bills
Paying your bills throughout the month can temporarily help with cashflow, but look into factoring for a long-term solution.
- Bank online
Cut down expense and time by doing all your banking online.
- Integrate solutions into business processes
An online store can trigger business processes and automate online marketing responses.
- Invest in multi-functional devices
A good photocopier, for example, can also scan documents to a cloud-based repository, send faxes, scan and email documents, and some can even bind them.
- Utilise the power of the cloud
Cloud computing cuts the cost of running and maintaining the servers that your company software is housed on.
- Only upgrade if necessary
Do the new features of the software necessitate the expenditure?
- Use freeware when possible
A multitude of open-source freeware exists which can, in many cases, do the same job as software from a more established developer.
- Utilise intranet
Your local intranet, whilst supplying company communications, can help automate a number of administrative processes such as booking holidays, pool cars, and meeting rooms etc.
- Second-hand printer cartridges
Using refills can save you a huge amount of money, plus its environmentally friendly.
- Shop around for cheaper web hosting
Make use of introductory deals and all the individual benefits the provider offers.
- Upgrade computers regularly
An old PC is costly to run and maintain when compared to newer models.
- Consolidate, virtualise and streamline
Virtual machines save on server costs and energy costs.
- Asset management
Systematically analyse all of your assets, evaluating each item’s value to the business.
- Review procurement
Can a better price be achieved from another supplier?
- Review ITIL service-level agreements
Are the goals achievable? What impact does the SLA have on the business?
- Shared service hub
If you have various local IT hubs that aren’t working at capacity, it is a good idea to centralise the service into one place. This can help you save money on staff and premises, as the centralised team can conduct work remotely.
- Ask for customer feedback
Your customers will have a totally different perspective on your business, and will often point out issues that you haven’t considered.
- Use Skype and Google Hangouts more
They are free video conferencing tools.
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Head of Commercial Finance at Simply Factoring Brokers
Mark has been in the banking industry for 34 years and has an extensive knowledge of the finance sector. He has held various roles within Barclays across business, retail and project delivery and currently heads up commercial finance in the Newport team at Simply Factoring Brokers.
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