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10 Ways to Reduce Business Overheads

We’re not quite out of the recession yet and it seems that life might get even tougher for small businesses over the next couple of years. If you run your own enterprise and you’re wondering how, after switching all your providers and turning down the thermostat again, you could make more savings, these ideas might come in useful.

Reduce your IT costs

If you can swap your computing over to cloud services you could get a wide range of new business software included free. Additionally you can leave behind costly data storage and email servers. Using web-based software isn’t complex to start up and it doesn’t require any maintenance on your part. You should also look at physical supplies, like ink cartridges, to see if you can find the cheapest bargain around.

Look at your phone habits

Overhaul business communications. If you make regular calls overseas, services like Skype will save money. You should also ask staff members to email, WhatsApp, text or tweet rather than picking up the phone.

Find a PAYG online payment service

If you have a large online turnover it may be worth paying your merchant account fees, but if your online sales aren’t that high, PayPal may be enough – just pay a small commission or charge per sale rather than a potentially costly monthly fee.

Look at your business premises

Are your premises too big? Could you move somewhere smaller and let some people work from home? Could you rent out some desks? If your office is the right size, explore ways you can cut down on its costs, like using draught excluders, low-energy bulbs and turning off non-essential electrics when leaving. If you need an office for your image, consider a virtual office service which offers you an address, a switchboard and even meeting rooms.

Use fewer staff

If you have a bookkeeper on a retainer, or you tend to have more permanent staff than you need at any one time because you might need them 30 weeks of the year, outsourcing might be right for you. In the same way, hiring freelancers for projects is a good idea – everyone’s a winner.

Watch your travel costs

Teleconference where possible, car-share to distant meetings and book rail travel as far in advance as you can. Always look for last-minute hotel deals.

Club together

Talk to nearby companies and bulk order the supplies you all need so you get the high-volume discounts usually available to bigger companies. You may also be able to share equipment.

Rent equipment rather than buy

This reduces your start-up costs and means you can get free upgrades and repairs. Make sure the equipment is energy-efficient, though.

Rent out anything you don’t use all the time

Equipment, cars or other vehicles, even storage or office space. Obviously you need to make sure your lease allows subletting. Click here for more information on leases.

Brainstorm

Get your employees to come up with money-saving ideas and reward the most effective ones. Ask your accountant to review your spending to see if they can find any “hidden” ways of saving money.