As small businesses fight for survival in the current economic climate they look for ways to cut costs and grow their profit margins. Making small but effective changes in daily operations can optimise productivity and improve your numbers. Here are some innovative ideas for keeping a lid on the operational costs of a small business enterprise:
Go green and save: Adopting eco-friendly practices in your business not only help you keep costs down but also give you the added satisfaction of helping the environment. A few easy ways to go green include: Use energy-saving light-bulbs.
Buy environment-friendly company vehicles. Recycle and reuse scrap paper and old envelopes. Don’t leave office machinery on standby. Pick an optimal temperature to operate your air conditioner at. Start a car pool for colleagues. Use laptops instead of desktops as they consume approximately 90 per cent less energy.
Use office supplies prudently:
Your small business is competing against various competitors and your profit margins depend on how well you can utilise your resources. Office supplies like stationery can be misused.
Keeping a close watch on purchases of such supplies can help tackle the problem of wastage. Differentiate between what is essential and what your small business outfit could easily do without. Bulk buying is always more economical than buying once a week. For example, you could buy printer ink – a costly item on the supplies list –in bulk, or use recycled printer cartridges.
Trim your phone bills:
Phone usage is a necessary part of running your small business. Look for ways to reduce this expense. Spend some time on research and get plan that gives you the most mileage. You could also reduce the number of phone lines or replace the current service with an internet based service.
Utilise unused office space: Unused office space can be used for subletting. This is a good opportunity to share the rent and slice off a big portion of your overhead expenses.
Hire interns or students: When you need someone to handle administrative duties, documentation, research or related tasks, look for an intern or student. The temporary assignment can give the student the exposure he or she is seeking while allowing you to get the job done at a reduced cost. Leverage the internet: Explore the possibility of using internet-based technologies wherever possible as they allow low cost ways to negotiate with clients. Microsoft’s “Live Meeting” technology and similar web conferencing tools can save you both valuable time and money.
Clean up your mailing list: Update your mailing list by removing changed addresses and inactive customers. No letter sent from your end should be sent back or thrown away.
Use the internet to reach potential customers: Your small business needs the required publicity and customers need to be updated about new products and services. Advertising by mail can be a low cost option for small business advertising. Through email newsletters customers can be alerted to new items or discounted services.
Reduce travel expenses: Look out for discounted fares when booking tickets. For example, travelling employees can keep costs down for your small business by opting to share hotel rooms whenever feasible.
Be prepared for unforeseen situations: Buying appropriate insurance can help your small business save money in the long run. Make a list of situations that could be disastrous for the business and explore what your coverage options are to protect you from these contingencies.