Top Ten Ways To Drastically Cut Small-Business Operating Costs
Operating a small business can be expensive, but you can cut down on your operating costs significantly by following these ten tips. With the Internet and virtual world out there it has never been easier to reduce spending while maintaining your current image and customer base. Today, a small business can look like a large one with minimal effort.
1. Using Social Media to Advertise.
Social media is the way to advertise in today’s market and the best part about it is that most social media outlets are free, which means there is no cost to get your name out there. So create a Linked-In profile, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account to communicate with your customers without any cost to you.
2. Utilise Open Source Software.
Don’t spend your precious pounds on high end proprietary software licenses when you use Open Source alternatives. You must do your research here to make sure the software will meet your business needs. There is pretty much an open source software product out there for every high end closed source one on the market and the majority of them have all or most of the features of their expensive counterparts. The best part of this software is it is free which will keep you in line with your budget.
3. Keep Your Power Bill in Check and Go Green.
This may sound like an expensive option, but it doesn’t have to be and by making these small changes you can significantly lower your utility bill without having to install expensive solar panels on your building. The first one is to turn things off when you aren’t using them which includes anything that has a plug. Also unplug anything when it isn’t in use and you can save hundreds a month on energy costs. Replace your incandescent bulbs with fluorescent bulbs to save up to 80% of the cost, and upgrade your older appliances for more energy efficient ones. While there is an upfront cost to doing this, over time it can save you a lot of money.
4. Rent, Don’t Buy
In today’s world you can rent practically everything. From office space, to computers and equipment, to prepaid cell phones; there are cost cutting options everywhere. Another advantage of renting is you can trade in when the newer item comes on the market keeping you up to date with minimum expense to upgrade.
5. Keep Travel to a Minimum
Instead of flying off to that international conference or business meeting, videoconference in from your own office. You will save on massive travel expenses and will still have the advantage of “being there”. Videoconferencing has become as acceptable as email communication, and can literally save a small business thousands of pounds a year.
6. Use the Cloud for Your Hardware needs.
Instead of purchasing thousands of pounds in servers and computer equipment to run your business, not to mention an entire skilled IT staff; utilise cloud computing and outsource your IT to someone who’s business it is. This will save you in operating costs if you leave the IT problems to those who specialise in solutions.
7. Skype, Skype, Skype
That’s correct, get rid of your phone system and use Skype instead. It allows you to get high-quality voice and video calls to any other computer for free. It also allows you to call any landline in the world for much less than a traditional phone service will. There are also Skype handsets that will plug into your computer for a traditional desk phone feel.
8. Allow Your Workers to Telecommute From Home
This option allows you to keep the same size workforce while lowering your operating costs by having less people in the office. By doing this you can rent a smaller space, use less utilities, and have less downtime as people work from their own home.
9. Use Freelance Workers
If you utilise independent contractors for some of your tasks you will cut your operating expenses by not having to pay their taxes or benefits. Do some research and make sure you are up on the legalities of this type of hiring before you do it, so that you do it correctly. This can eliminate some huge overhead and still keep your work volume and quality at its current level.
10. Consider a Completely Virtual Office
While this option will not work for every small business, it will work for some. This utilises most of the tips above and allows you to run a completely virtual office from the comfort of your own home. This significantly reduces operating costs to you while allowing you to maintain your competencies as a working office.
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