Growing a business is every entrepreneur’s aim, but it takes money and time. As the business grows, so too do the associated costs. In the long run, those costs can be limiting factors for further growth, holding you back. Keeping costs under control is essential, and never more so than when a small business is transforming into something much larger.
#1 Consider home working
Basing employees in the office seems like the traditional way to run a business, but the coronavirus pandemic changed everything. By forcing so many to work from home, it exposed the fact that home work is not only feasible but, in many cases, actually preferable to working in the office. Employees generally appreciated the freedom of working from home and, although some missed the office environment, the change was generally well-received. The advantages for employers are even more profound. More people working from home means a smaller office space. Downscaling means savings, and some businesses might even be able to go fully remote, dispensing with physical premises altogether. It's a big step, but rent, energy, and cleaning bills are just some of the savings to be had in this area. Businesses continue to find creative and innovative ways to implement ‘the new normal’, so home working is nothing to be feared.
#2 Make the most of free advertising
As your business grows, it can be tempting to throw more and more cash at advertising. Marketing is certainly important, and it will definitely help you to grow, but too many businesses neglect free advertising. Social media is vitally important. Simply maintaining a social media presence across multiple platforms counts as marketing. Sharing images and communicating with your followers regularly is marketing at its purest. Both of these things are free. Although social networks like Facebook and Instagram have been gradually shrinking organic reach in favor of paid adverts, there’s still plenty of engagement to be extracted without spending a cent. Following the basic rules of social media, including regular posts, always answering messages, using hashtags correctly, and networking with other profiles, will grow your audience and boost your reach. That’s all free advertising and means that you can spend your budget elsewhere.
#3 Keep utilities under control
Energy and water costs will start to bite as your business grows. That’s especially true if you move to bigger premises, but even hiring one or two additional employees will push costs up. Worse still, most businesses take little or no action in this area and remain trapped on expensive rollover contracts. Energy and utility companies save their best prices for newer customers. Rather than rewarding loyalty, they bundle their long-term clients onto automatically renewing contracts that cost much more. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to switch suppliers and ensure that you always receive the best rate. A business water comparison tool like https://www.businesswaterquotes.co.uk/ makes switching easy, and you’ll even have the option to undertake a water audit. The same applies to gas and electricity. Switch regularly, take advantage of new offers, and avoid those costly rollover contracts.
#4 Develop employees in house
A more nuanced approach to saving money, hiring less experienced staff is nonetheless a useful way to cut costs. Hiring based on enthusiasm rather than a CV will often mean that you can pay a lower rate while developing the individual on the job. Employees with lengthy CVs and a world of experience demand higher salaries and aren’t always the best option anyway. Gauge enthusiasm during the interview. If the candidate understands the vision of the company, is keen to work hard, and shows a genuine interest in development, then they’re ideal. You’ll be able to scale their salary as they develop, but being able to start smaller gives you more freedom and flexibility. It also makes a growing business feel more like a family as everybody embarks on the same journey.
#5 Choose open source software
Regardless of the type of business that you’re running, software probably accounts for a huge portion of your budget. Software isn’t cheap and, if you’re on a subscription model, costs might be recurring. Open source is an alternative. It’s completely free and totally accessible. Don’t go for expensive software simply because of prestige. Open source has advanced a great deal over the years, and some offerings are genuinely better than their paid alternatives. The open nature of this software also means that help is more readily available. You’ll be able to find ample support on dedicated forums across the web.
#6 Minimize telephone use
Surprising as it seems, some businesses still spend far more on telephone bills than they really need to. The majority of telephone calls can easily be replaced with emails. Anything more complex can be done over video chat. International calls are even worse and should be avoided where possible. Skype is a good alternative to calling internationally, and video conferencing software is currently undergoing a pandemic-related boom. Telephone calls are likely to diminish in significance in the future, so start developing an alternative infrastructure and saving money now. Clients might initially reach out to you by phone (so it’s always worth maintaining a landline) but shift the conversation to another medium at the first possible opportunity.
#7 And finally…implement a suggestion box!
Suggestions boxes are a fantastic addition to any workplace. On a basic level, they make employees feel more valued by suggesting that their ideas are worth something. They also give the workforce a stake in the future of the company by letting them make suggestions on its direction and vision. More tangibly, suggestion boxes can also turn up some wonderful cost-cutting measures. Employees likely have a better idea than you of where savings can be made. They work for the company and see things at ground level rather than from an overhead perspective. That makes their insight invaluable. Suggestion boxes are free and don’t take any effort on your behalf, so there really is no reason not to install one!