In these trying commercial times, cashflow remains a serious problem for many small businesses. For those working on a tight budget, ideas on how to be more cost effective are always welcome, so here are a few pieces of advice that you might find helpful.
Talk to suppliers
Your suppliers may be suffering from the same problems you are facing, and it is always worth keeping the lines of communication open. If you are still placing regular orders, even of reduced value, you are an important customer, and it is worth asking if any discounts are available on regular items which you purchase. Also check if a different payment schedule is available.
If you get no joy there, start looking for alternative suppliers.
Explore the second-hand market
If you are a start-up, or need to replace office furniture or equipment, you may be able to save money by sourcing used stock. Good quality office desks and chairs are widely available, as is office equipment. The depreciation on these items is quite high, and there are bargains to be had.
Join your local Chamber of Commerce
Chambers of Commerce offer lots of advice on cost saving, and provide business services to members. Often, they will also have negotiated deals with business partners offering services and savings only available to Chamber members.
Improving your green credentials can not only save money, but can also be a PR boost for your company.
Making your work space energy efficient is a great start, and there are a number of low-cost measures that you can undertake to save money (SME guide to energy efficiency – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)).
Monitor car and fleet fuel costs
Vehicle costs are often a major outgoing for small businesses, and keeping an eye on how much you are paying for fuel is essential. Looking for a BP fuel card is one place to start in this competitive market where lots of other options are available. Cards such as BP fuel cards will help you monitor how much each of your vehicles is costing in terms of petrol, diesel or charging for electric vehicles.
You will be able to monitor these costs in one place and simplify a crucial part of the accounting process.
Carry out an audit of your advertising
Marketing is often the first port of call when small companies look to cut costs, but slashing this budget can be counter-productive. Rather than making large cuts in advertising, try to make it more focussed. This may mean looking at social media and local news outlets. The former can be cheap and effective, and checking what rivals are doing will help you come up with a plan.
Also think about any local events you might be able to sponsor and let the local newspapers know. They are always on the lookout for news stories, and that could include any other company news you may have.