Are your business overheads out of control?

05/11/2017 Image
Running a business, whether it’s small or a corporate giant, costs time and money. Usually, a good dose of money and financial planning is needed to ensure it stays up and running, however, it can be easy to overspend, underspend, or ignore your finances if you struggle to understand them.
 
Although you may want to avoid numbers if it isn’t your forte, you need to ensure you have a competent accountant and financial advisor so they can address any issues and advise you on where to invest – and where not to. However, where do you start? Sometimes finding out where to cut costs can be difficult; all your spending is for a cause, so how can you determine what could be reduced and what could be increased? If you’re unsure where to start, then read on. You need to be in complete control of your business overheads, otherwise it could be the downfall of your business.
 
Check your postage costs
You might be spending hundreds of pounds on postage without even realising. Rather than having to send your office temp or office manager out in the elements to deal with your mail, why not consider looking into onsite options such as renting or purchasing a franking machine? By doing so, you will be saving yourself, and your business, time and staffing costs. Companies such as Franked Mail can meet with your franking machine needs, while improving your employees’ speed and efficiency.
 
Another way to reduce your postage costs is to determine if everything you’re sending out, needs to be mailed. If your organisation sends out parcels to customers, then there’s no way to work around this. However, if you send invoices to your employees or clients, then you should consider emailing or having online systems such as Invoicely. Not only will this reduce your costs, but it’s also more environmentally friendly.
 
Build on relationships with your suppliers
Assess the costs of your suppliers, and get into contact with each and every one of them. If you’ve been using their services for a while now, then you could ask for discounts; if you haven’t, then you can still ask, and the answer may surprise you. Remember that at the heart of any healthy business relationship lies negotiation – so if you haven’t cut a deal yet with your suppliers, then your relationship is very one-sided.
 
Suppliers, both big and small, are more than open to the idea of negotiating prices or discounts for long-serving customers. If you promise to continue using their services, then they strike up a deal with you; if they do not, you could mention costs of using other suppliers for extra persuasion. Other ways to get a better deal with your suppliers is to pay your invoices early (to improve trust), be polite, and check in with them every once in a while. Do not be rude, even if there is a mistake – human error can get the best of us. However, if there is a better deal elsewhere, do not hesitate to enquire and swap suppliers if it’s a better fit for your business and customers.
 
Use fewer printouts
Topping up your office printer and buying paper and ink can be a costly expenditure, especially if you’re a new business starting out. Although some instances call for traditional paper and ink, the digital age has made many business ventures more possible and easier to manage. For example, email is for quicker than sending out letters. Therefore, invest in an email marketing team rather than printing costs for advertising. Reach out to your customers through email marketing such as MailChimp and Poppulo, which provide easy-to-use email templates.
 
Also, with admin, cut done on your workload by replacing your traditional filing system with an electronic one instead. The cloud is ideal. It has more space, ease of access and is quick to use. Although you need to be aware of the risks such as hacking, these problems can be greatly reduced with proper security measures. Make sure that if you are ready to go digital that all of your information is password protected and safely stored in case of a data leak.
 
Schedule less travel
Do you sometimes look at your diary and find that your entire day is filled with meetings – many of which are off-site or held at a far-off location? In fact, business travel overheads are one of the main outgoings for most companies, and on many occasions, generate unnecessary expenditure when other options are far easier and less expensive. First and foremost, communicating over video can be just as effective. Telepresence provides larger corporations with an onsite solution for meetings and discussions with overseas clients.
 
However, not all firms have this luxury. If you cannot spend a lot of money over telepresence, then you can opt for Skype and FaceTime as a means to conduct meetings and even interviews. Have these on your desktop and even your smartphone, so you can message or call wherever you are. This is ideal for those who are constantly on the move or busy; it is also far cheaper than paying for hotels, fuel or even plane tickets. Do not, though, miss out on important face-to-face meetings. For big clients, you need to give them your time so they feel important, and a video call, although effective, may not have the same impact.
 
If your business overheads are out of control, and you aren’t sure why or how to take back control, you need to spend time reviewing your business and seeing where your money is going. This may take time and effort, but it’s worth it in the end. Assess your needs and see if you’re catering to them. Before you know it, you’ll have a better idea as to where your money is going, and whether it should be heading there in the first place. By making a few select changes, you could save a lot of money, allowing you to place better investments for the future of your company.
 

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