Things have been tough for small business owners in the last few years, navigating a global pandemic, an ever-changing and uncertain political situation, a looming recession and inflation pushing prices through the roof. It is easy to think that simply doubling your efforts and increasing sales is the way to go, but it can be just as beneficial to look at where you can save money too!
If you are looking for ways your small business can save hard-earned cash, we have some simple money-saving tips that can help!
Keeping your finances in order must start with your bookkeeping. Knowing exactly where your income and expenses are at any given point allows you to see things more clearly and spot any opportunities to cut costs quicker. An accountant or bookkeeper will be able to assist with this and keep things in order from a tax perspective and spot some opportunities that you might have missed. However, no one knows your business as well as you do, so checking your finances regularly is always a good idea.
Sounds counterproductive, right? Being a small business, you should be focusing your efforts on the things you do well enough to make a difference and outsource what you get bogged down doing as you are not confident at it. For instance, outsourcing your accounting – yes, it is an additional expense, but think of it in terms of:
- The time saved could be spent elsewhere in the business.
- Reduce costs on fines or late payment charges.
- More tax-efficient – they have more expert knowledge than you.
Outsourcing the jobs you can’t do efficiently, although it may cost you money, can also save you money in the long run.
The most significant savings can often be made by thinking small, not big! It can be easy to think of cutting staff hours or other significant expenses, but this could be counterproductive in the longer term. Start by looking at the more minor costs of your business.
- Do you need the industry magazine subscription?
- Could you become a paperless business?
- Do you need the expensive coffee subscription, or is there a cheaper alternative?
- Can you make any energy savings?
- Do you still need that software licence that you have only used once?
Looking for the small things that do not cost a lot on their own, but combining them over a month could reduce your costs drastically!
Claim All Available Support
This is where it can save you money to invest in professional advice from an accountant or business advisor. Knowing what help is available and if you can claim any relief is often hard to navigate and can be confusing.
There are so many tax reliefs or grants out there for businesses, such as:
- R&D tax credits
- Localised grant schemes
- BCRS business loans
These are just 3 of the many examples you could be missing out on that could help you invest in cost-saving measures or even boost your bank balance. The best way to start researching this is to speak to your accountant or the local chamber of commerce.
Not using it? Sell it
Every business accumulates “stuff” over the years, most of which is sat in a store cupboard gathering dust. As the old saying goes – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! There are many dedicated selling platforms, such as eBay, Facebook marketplace and even Amazon, where you can offload those unused pc monitors, books, office furniture etc. and boost your bank balance.
Equally, if looking for new equipment and cash flow is tight, consider buying that new bit of kit second-hand or refurbished. The goods will still do the job as well as a brand new one but will save you a whole heap of cash.
As energy costs show no signs of slowing down, all business owners are feeling the pinch. Simple measures such as ensuring all electrical items are turned off when not in use – more so overnight- can soon significantly impact your bills. Some handy tricks are:
- Turning off pc equipment, not in use and overnight
- Turn off the printer when not in use
- Turn off lights in unused parts of the office/building
- Ensure all lightbulbs are energy saving
In essence, if the equipment is not in constant use or required to be turned on all the time – get into the habit of turning it off. The savings might be small per item – but multiply that by each item, and the savings over a year could significantly impact the size of your bills.
Looking at your card providers and banking partners is another way to save on costs. For example, if you have a banking fee for each transaction or monthly cost imposed by your High Street bank – would it be worth switching to a free banking provider such as Starling? Other savings could be had, such as card processing fees for online and in-store payments. Can you negotiate a lower percentage or move from an expensive provider to a cheaper one?
Again the percentages might be small per transaction – but soon mount up when considered over several transactions and an annual period. An extreme example of this could be moving from PayPal to Stripe. The fees are 2.9% and 1.4%, respectively – so only a 1.5% saving per transaction, so say you take £1000 per day in sales – that is an extra £15 in the bank per day, granted does not sound like a lot, but that is an extra £5475 in the bank per year!
The simplest solution to a problem is usually the best one to go down, and as we have said above, even if the savings seem small – they can soon accumulate into big ones! Imagine the PayPal example used above and combine it with £1000 a year saved on electricity, £2000 saved going paperless – and a few others, and you soon have a hefty sum of money making the efforts worth it.
Further reading from RJF: