When you own and run a small business, you want to do all you can to keep to a tight budget and cut costs where possible. Even saving just a small amount of money each week can really add up over time.
And the good news is, there are lots of ways you can do this that won’t take a lot of effort or disrupt the business in any way.
Often, it is simply about making smarter choices and trimming the fat in areas you might have usually overlooked.
So, to help you do this, we’ve pulled together a list of five ways you can cut costs in your small business.
1. Create A Budget – And Stick to It!
It might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people get swept up in the excitement of running a small business and their budget quickly falls by the wayside.
But if you don’t set yourself a budget and keep to it, you might find that costs quickly creep up and you don’t know where your money is going.
From making a spreadsheet in Excel to using a dedicated accounts and budgeting software, there are plenty of tools out there that can help you to do this.
Make a note of all your monthly outgoings, including rent, utilities, supplies, staff, phone bill, internet, etc. Then, you can go through and work out exactly how much you have to spend on each of these aspects.
If you find you’re overspending, then it might be time to shop around to find cheaper suppliers or service providers. You could also find that you need to cut back on unnecessary purchases.
Then, each month, keep track of exactly where your money is going and you’ll quickly find that you spot smaller ways to save even more money and you are able to properly keep on top of your spending.
2. Cut Supply and Service Costs
Following on from the above, being able to cut costs on your supplies or service providers, even the smallest amount, can make a difference.
When you first start up your small business, there’s a period of adjustment where you are getting to grips with local suppliers, services and what’s out there. So now could be the perfect time to re-think where your money is going.
For example, do you use a courier to send out your goods? If so, have you chosen the right courier? Could you find a cheaper and more efficient service elsewhere?
Other aspects of your business that you might wish to revisit include:
- Your suppliers or wholesalers – are you getting the best deal?
- Other service providers such as maintenance, security, accountants, etc.
- Stationery and office supplies
- Packaging and shipping
By looking at what you currently spend and shopping around, you might find cheaper providers elsewhere. Alternatively, don’t be afraid to ask for discounts from your suppliers or service providers if you have been a loyal customer to them.
Even the smallest reductions can help your business and you might find that they’re happy to oblige if it means keeping your custom.
3. Use Technology to Your Advantage
Nowadays, is there anything technology can’t assist you with? From boosting customer experience to advertising, ordering supplies and even working entirely remotely through the internet,
technology makes it all possible.
And with so many options out there, you’d be crazy not to utilize this as much as you can to help you save money. Some suggestions for ways you can utilize technology include:
- Encourage remote working: If your team can work entirely remotely from their computer, you can save on the cost of travel, office space, utilities and more!
- Make the most of apps: There are also hundreds of apps out there that give you back control and save you money on important business functions. For example, accounting apps like QuickBooks mean you don’t have to pay out for an accountant
- Go paperless: Encouraging your teams to go paperless can not only save money, but it’s better for the environment too. So instead of printing memos or schedules, get them to email them over to one another instead
- Replace face to face meetings: Whether you’re recruiting or meeting with a client, you can save money on travel and time by having virtual meetings or conferences rather than in-person
- Market yourself effectively: Make the most of free marketing tools like social media
- Ditch the landline: Why pay for an office landline if you don’t need to? Instead, you can use your existing smartphone as your point of contact
We’re going to look at budget-friendly marketing and making the most of this technology in more detail later in the guide.
4. Downsize Your Office or Commercial Space
Depending on the nature of your business, you might be able to run your business remotely or downsize your shop or office.
This can be a huge way to save money, especially with rising rent and property prices.
So, if you could move part of your business online, rely on e-commerce more than in-store visits or downsize your office by working remotely, your bank account could see the results right away.
Alternatively, you could pay to rent a shared office space. There are some very exciting places where small business owners can work amongst their peers and save money on paying for their own individual space.
Though like we said, this will really depend on the nature of your business and whether you need a commercial premises of a certain size.
5. Make the Most of Budget (Or Free) Marketing Techniques
Finally, marketing and advertising are very important, especially in today’s competitive market. However, despite what many believe, you don’t need to throw loads of money at this to get your name out there and build your brand.
Instead, you should make the most of budget, or even free, tools. Some of the best and most creative ways to cut the costs of marketing and advertising include:
- Make the most of social media for connecting with customers and reaching your target audience. You can invest a small budget in paying for advertising on social media platforms if you choose
- Spend time creating SEO optimized content that can help your business to rank well on Google
- This includes a particular focus on local SEO so people can find your business when they’re nearby
- Video is also really big right now and sharing great video content can reach a much wider audience
- Make the most of budget-friendly email marketing tools to stay in touch with customers
- Make sure you have an enticing and attractive website – you can even make this yourself at a relatively low cost to the business – for example, using WordPress or Squarespace
- Use branded packaging to send out your goods
And there you have it; these are just a few ways you can make the most of free or cheap tools for marketing your business. There are also lots of other creative ideas out there to help you save even more cash.