Whether you’re completely new to running a small business, or you’ve been doing it for years, there is one pernickety area that is clear as day to anyone in charge; costs can add up quickly.

For someone running their own shop to the person trying to keep a small office on the go, bills can become a headache every time they come in the post.

So what can be done to help any small business stay ahead of the curve and save some budget every once in a while?

We’ve compiled a handy list of cost-cutting ideas for small business to save money. They include:

  • Trim the fat off meetings
  • Ditching hardware
  • Knowing how Google works
  • Checking you’re not wasting water
  • Double checking debits
  • Sponsors are everywhere
  • Knowing outsourcing isn’t dodgy
  • Checking your expenses aren’t out of whack
  • See who wants to go home
  • Check your council is green

Trim the fat off meetings

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Our first tip will bring a sigh of relief to all those who see 10.30am on a Monday morning as time spent being pulled away from their desks. Weekly debriefs are a commonality for all small businesses, but if you’re in charge of running them, take a moment to consider how much resource you’re using.

If it’s common for meetings in the office to go 15 minutes over schedule, it isn’t 15 minutes lost in the day; it’s 15 minutes lost times the number of employees in the meetings. If, for example, you had a team of 8 people that would be two hours of the day lost, four days a month and so on.

Keep meetings short, and you’ll not lose out on productivity.

Ditching hardware

Having all your company files in the cloud shouldn’t be a daunting aspect, even if you can’t wrap your head around the cloud (in layman’s terms, it is a server that you can access anywhere).

If you’re spending money on having a server in your building, you’re going to be paying for the infrastructure, maintenance and electric it’s constantly using. It makes much more sense for a small business to store their file on a service like Google Drive (great if everyone is already using Gmail addresses) or Dropbox.

Knowing how Google works

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Every business needs a website. But not every business know how or why their website shows up on Google. All websites require a little bit of tinkering and checking to make sure they show properly when people are trying to find your service. Imagine you ran a coffee shop and someone 100m away didn’t know you existed because your website was set up incorrectly and a potential customer ends up at a rival café 600m down the street.

Take some time to know how Google finds your site, read up on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or speak to an SEO specialist who would know how your business can benefit from a better website. Making some small tweaks can see you spending less on traditional advertising in the long run.

Checking you’re not wasting water

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Plenty of small businesses use a lot of water every day. Car washes, hairdressers and anywhere working with food will have high water bills if they don’t know what they’re paying for.

Much like how you’ll shop around to find the best deal on a mobile contract or your internet, you can do the same for your water bills. The market is getting competitive, and companies are providing cheaper rates for business. Castle Water is one example of a company that helps businesses switch water suppliers without any headaches.

If your water usage is something you don’t pay attention to, start now as it may save you a lot over time.

Double checking debits

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Have a company card that everyone uses to buy stuff? Double check what your recurring payments from online services include. The biggest offender for this is PayPal. With it being an option on the majority of websites for buying anything, especially software trials, you may have unknowingly signed up to contracts and services that are continually billing you when you only needed them once or twice.

Take a good look through your account to check you’re not wasting money on subscriptions, anti-virus software you’ve stopped using and even things like social media tools, website renewal websites and rideshare apps.

Sponsors are everywhere

A fantastic money saver for small businesses getting ready to hold an event. Sponsors are a fantastic way to get an event off the ground without having to risk putting money down yourself.

For anyone with a small shop which is planning to run a special event for an evening (for example, a product launch) reach out to local food and drinks brands. You’ll be surprised how many will provide products and services if you say you want them to be the main sponsor. They’ll often send their own people over to take photos too.

Knowing outsourcing isn’t dodgy

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Everyone is precious over their business but handing over the keys to help get a job done shouldn’t be a daunting process.

It is very common nowadays for businesses who don’t have staff within a certain discipline to outsource individual projects. If you don’t have resources for marketing, a service like Upwork can connect you with experienced freelancers. Need a cheap promo video made that looks professional? Sites like Fiverr are renowned for helping small businesses with design projects that could burn hours by someone in the office with little experience.

Checking your expenses aren’t out of whack

Much like the tip above to look at your outgoings and recurring payments, take time to figure out if any expenses you currently have aren’t doing what you hoped.

Signed up to get fresh fruit delivered to the office every week, but find staff having to bin withered apples and brown bananas at the end of the week? There’s an expense not worth having. Treat the staff to a few after work beers on a Friday in the office? Much like the event sponsor idea, see if there are local drinks companies that can cut a better deal. It does harken back a little to the days of bartering, but other businesses that rely on your service can be talked into lowering prices if you want a better deal.

Checking you’re not wasting electric

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We’ve already mentioned saving money on water, but what about electric? The Carbon Trust estimates that if a business were to look at their energy consumption and be proactive, you’d be seeing a reduction of up to 70% from acting smartly. There are little tweaks in the daily routine that can have a massive impact on your bill. This can be as simple as getting everyone to actually turn their computers off at the end of the day, rather than just knocking the monitor off or putting it on standby. Or you could set up timers on your lights and computer banks, so there’s no wasted energy when people aren’t in the building.

There are also companies like Bulb you can switch to lower the price of your electric bills.

Check your council is green

While council tax seems to keep going up every year, it can get annoying if you don’t see the benefits. In line with our last tip, do some research to see if your local council has any energy based incentive that isn’t widely publicised. This can include energy saving grants, improved heating systems and getting new lighting at a discounted price.

You’ll be surprised how much your local council might have on offer.

See who wants to go home

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This final idea isn’t just a way to keep bills down; it can also have a massive benefit on employee happiness too. Lots of companies now realise that remote working gives that little bit of freedom to remove the stress out of their employee’s day.

Allowing team members to have no problem working at home when childcare falls through, when they know morning traffic or weather is going to cause a long commute, or just to help when a delivery is coming, keeps staff happy and can even increase productivity. And with online communication through WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Slack now commonplace, you can keep on top of things in real time.

Cost cutting can be simple

As you’ve seen in this article, cost-cutting doesn’t have to be an arduous process. As long as you can identify little pain points that would otherwise go unnoticed and steadily eat into cash flow, you can keep costs down and not have it interfere with business goals.

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