There are many great opportunities for forward-thinking businesses at the moment, but there are also unique challenges as well. Brexit uncertainty is affecting enterprises of all sizes, and the actuality of any post-Brexit deal could also make an impact, especially on companies who export products. Many businesses are also finding that competition is tougher than ever before, and the combination of these factors means that it’s essential for your business to be as lean and economical as possible.
Here are ten ways in which you can make your business less wasteful and potentially more profitable.
- Get a smarter deal on your utility bills
Electricity and gas bills are two of the leading expenses facing businesses of all sizes, and yet they’re also an area in which substantial savings can be made. Studies show that energy bills make up around 20% of the total running costs for an average office building, and as we use more and more technology on a daily basis, this percentage is likely to rise further in the years to come. That’s why examining your utility bills, and looking at deals from alternative energy suppliers, should be done on an annual basis. Smaller companies can often provide the best deals, and adopting greener energy supplies can also provide a good news story for your company.
- Ensure your website is fit for purpose
Your website is the best form of advertising that your business has, whatever sector it operates in and whether you sell to the public or other businesses. It’s essential that your website is fresh, exciting and up to date, as old and drab-looking websites with no new content are less likely to feature in the first pages of search engine rankings. Paying for a new website, or to have your existing website updated regularly, will entail some expense, but this will pay dividends when it comes to attracting new customers and increasing sales that come through web-based traffic.
- Create brand ambassadors using social media
Reaching new customers is always the aim of any ambitious business, but it can become even more effective when customers themselves are the ones attracting new sales to your business. Use social media to promote the positive aspects of your company, and always engage with consumers who share and promote your posts. In this way, you can create customers who are fiercely loyal to your brand and products, so that they become unpaid, yet powerful, brand ambassadors.
- Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate
Every successful business needs a salesperson, or team, who is great at negotiating and closing a deal. The business owner needs to be just as good a negotiator, for there are many areas that using this skill to its full potential can pay dividends. Whether it’s the rent on your property, the cost of goods from suppliers, or the price of hire cars, you should never accept the price offered without first ascertaining whether a better deal is available. Entrepreneurs should think of negotiating as an exercise, meaning that the more you do it, the better you’ll become at it.
- Utilise in-house expertise
When you are looking for advice on a prospective product or service, or on what to do if a difficulty arises, who do you turn to? Specialist consultants can be a major expense, especially as the people who know the most about your business are those who work for it. Encourage your employees to make suggestions and communicate openly with you, and the results will not only save you money, they can also provide suggestions that will prove invaluable. Don’t forget to reward employees who come up with money making or money saving ideas.
- Don’t let delays cost you money
Time is money when it comes to business. There’s no truer saying, and yet all too many business owners accept delays without doing anything about it. This can prove particularly costly when it comes to flight delays, especially if you were en-route to an important meeting or conference, but flight delay compensation can help you get back what’s rightfully yours. The good news (in the case of a flight disruption) is if you are eligible to claim compensation, it’s a quicker process than you might think, and can provide an injection of money to re-invest in your business.
- Online conferencing
As an alternative to flying or driving to conferences, why not hold conferences from the comfort of your own office? Online conferencing is becoming increasingly popular, and advancing technology means that it’s easier than ever before to communicate with people from across the globe without any loss in sound or vision quality. You’ll not only make big savings on transport costs, many people feel more relaxed when addressing meetings from within a familiar environment, and it also means that you can have all the information you need close to hand.
- Market smarter
To achieve business success, you need two things: a great product or service that meets a consumer need, and a marketing strategy that will get it noticed by them. Marketing is, therefore, an essential expense, but you need to ensure that it provides a real return on investment. Some traditional forms of marketing, such as the use of flyers or advertising in local newspapers, are much less effective than they once were. It can pay to utilise the latest technology for your marketing, and the smart use of social media marketing, for example, can get your product seen quickly by a huge number of potential customers.
- Keep on top of all your expenses
You should know all about the large expenses that are coming out of your business, but it’s all too easy to lose sight of smaller outgoings, and if you’re not careful they can soon add up to a significant amount. Postage, stationery and cleaning costs are just two of the areas that could potentially bring savings, and you should also check whether you’re heating and lighting areas that don’t always need it. Re-using and recycling materials can also save your company money, while at the same time enhance the green credentials of your business.
- Outsource specialist tasks
There are many tasks that your business will need to perform of a specialist nature, especially as it expands. These can include the production of annual accounts, logo and graphic design, IT updates and potentially such things as translating your product packaging into other languages. Employing people full-time to carry out these tasks can prove costly, and of course, it necessitates expenditure on recruitment as well. It makes much more sense to outsource these, and many similar tasks, to individuals or companies that specialise in these areas. Once again, it’s important to compare prices and skills before outsourcing a task, as you may be able to find another individual who can complete the work to the same standard for a much more affordable price.
The key to business success today is to cut back on extraneous costs without impacting upon the service or products that you provide. This may become even more important in the post-Brexit world, but it can be easier to achieve than you may think. Always be on the lookout for ways to save money, and never be afraid to claim compensation when things go wrong, or to re-negotiate prices and contracts for your energy bills and more.