The internet is awash with hints and tips on how you can lower your personal spend, but few people have solid advice that relates to bringing down business overheads. This can be frustrating – so here are four tried and tested ways you to start making a dent in your overheads now:
1. Discuss Terms With Your Landlord
Business lets are becoming increasingly transient, small start-up companies with their eye on impressive premises will occupy a space for a short period of time before making a move to an office with a more prestigious address.
The truth is, this is often a vanity move so the business looks more impressive to potential clients – and short-term stays drive up prices for everyone. Landlords are increasing expecting small business to move on, so prices increase to reflect the risk.
If you have a conversation with your landlord you might find you stand a good chance of reducing your rent if you’re willing to commit to a longer term let – or terms that suit your landlord’s business interests. This doesn’t mean you have to yield to their terms completely – just having the conversation and displaying a willingness to meet in the middle is a good indication for a landlord that you’re in it for the longer term. Even a small adjustment on price is a big help to a small business.
2. Look At How You Can Be More Green
Energy efficiency is a massive bonus for small business that comes with three-fold benefits.
- If you can make your premises more energy efficient you reduce your energy consumption costs. Start thinking about your business in the same way you do your home, how smart are you and your team at using the heat or air-con in the most efficient manner? Are you wasteful with resources? If you’re not sure, implement some monitoring and review after a month to highlight the areas you can make improvements in.
- Green looks good to your clients. Research shows that there are a significant number of companies who look for green credentials when they’re selecting partner companies and suppliers, if you can show that environmental considerations are close to the heart of what you do, you’re going to win more business.
- There are numerous local authority, government and international organisation incentives for adopting green practices. These can literally mean money in your pocket, so have a look in your area at what you might be entitled to.
If you’re not sure where to start, there are some great online resources who will help you move toward more green practices.
3. Assess Your IT Practices
IT is ordinarily a large cost for any company – but it is not a necessary evil. Steps forward in IT technology and thinking mean that there’s every possibility you could be throwing money at a non-efficient infrastructure.
Cloud based technology can save you significant money. As tech giants increase their storage provisions the price drops for business users. Cloud storage cost is miniscule in comparison to the cost of buying and running physical storage servers – and maintenance cost is most often incorporated in the already low price.
A good IT partner can objectively feedback on improvements that could be made. Up to the minute knowledge of IT industry developments is a big job to stay on top of, so having a good company by your side can really pay. You can make the first steps by looking at this comprehensive guide on how you can save money across your network.
4. Revolutionise Your Marketing
If you consider your marketing people to be ‘outside-the-box’ thinkers there are a huge number of ways this attitude can contribute to reducing cost and increasing effectiveness across your marketing strategy.
Ask the tough questions of your marketing people. Pose some tough thought experiments – marketers are usually quick thinking and resourceful, so ask “What would we do if we wanted the same result from half of our marketing spend?” While you might not see value in slashing your spend in such a large way, you could very well shake up a section of your business that’s become slightly complacent or stuck in seemingly working ways.
Traditional vs. Social. If you looked a social media marketing 6 months ago and found it didn’t exactly suit you needs you might be tempted to consider that box ticked and require other areas to explore. This is a mistake. The social media giants want your money – and if they’re missing out on it, you better believe they’re tweaking their platforms to offer you a return on your investment. You have to reassess what Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others can offer you on a frequent basis – you competitors are.
Traditional marketing doesn’t have to go out the window altogether. Newspapers, magazines, billboards, leaflet and flier drops – they’re all still effective and great tools to have up your sleeve in a world that’s becoming increasing geared toward online advertising. Talk to the people that supply these traditional types of marketing, they’re willing to be flexible on price if it means keeping their business alive in the face of the social media avalanche.
Smart collaborations. Considering yourself isolated as a business is detrimental to your marketing spend – especially if a lot of your customer base is local. There are masses of interesting local collaborations to be had if you take the time to look for them. Galas, seminars, expos, street fairs, markets, pop-ups – you might think your business has no place here, but just because customers aren’t on business doesn’t mean they’re not seeing you, picking up info and having discussions.
The key theme with these points is ‘questioning’. It’s very easy to become reliant on the most familiar solutions – but this rarely, if ever, proves to be the most cost-effective way of doing things. If when you’re asking about practices or spend you come across the answer “Well, because we’ve always done that” – roll up your sleeves and start taking the process apart. Complacency is one of the biggest costs for business. Ask the questions, take appropriate action – and watch your overheads shrink.