Tips for Reducing Business Costs
If you own your own company, you will inevitably seek to bring in more business and increase revenues in order to boost your bottom line profit. However, equally crucial to final profit are your business costs. If you can cut down on unnecessary expenses and implement some simple cost-cutting strategies, you will make that all important difference and give yourself an edge over your competitors. Here are 10 basic ideas on potential cost-saving techniques:
1) Energy Costs- Investing in energy-saving office equipment has two key benefits. Firstly, you will pay less on future energy bills due to the more efficient nature of the appliances. And secondly, many energy efficient technologies are 100% tax deductible in the year of purchase according to the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ACA) scheme. You can write off the entire cost of energy saving appliances against profits, including: boilers; combined heat and power (CHP); lighting; pipe work insulation; and refrigeration.
2) Telephone and Internet Costs- Telephone and internet costs can be a significant overhead cost for some businesses. Landlines are expensive so make sure you don’t use them unnecessarily. Joint plans for internet and phone can help to save costs. Furthermore, consider automated phone attendants in order to save on staff costs, BUT make sure you don’t compromise your client service with long waits on hold.
3) Cash Flow- This is arguably the most important factor in the health of your business. In order to keep a healthy cash flow you should be wary of extending credit to your customers. You could perhaps offer small discounts for early payments and consider charging penalties for late payments (although this must be carefully outlined in contracts/invoices etc.).
4) Online Marketing- Rather than overspending on unnecessary advertising, make the most of the new trends towards online marketing through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. This is an extremely easy and inexpensive way to save money, whilst still increasing brand awareness.
5) Work From Home- Depending on the nature of your business it is certainly worth considering working from home. Aside from an obvious increase in flexibility, you will also be saving considerably on costs from commuting and maintaining an office. Furthermore, a proportion of your home expenses can be deducted from your taxable profits. Tax savings can be made on a range of household expenses, including: a proportion of utilities bills; repairs and maintenance directly related to your business space; mortgage interest; council tax; and rent.
6) Bulk Buying- As a business owner you are entitled to an account with wholesalers such as Costco or Booker, amongst others. You should certainly take advantage of bulk buying discounts. However, in order to maximise cost savings, you must consider whether buying in bulk is cost effective in each case for your business. For example, just because the cost per unit of pens, for example, is lower than an individual pen, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should purchase 1000 pens. Small businesses should only buy what they need in order to save costs and avoid waste.
7) Group Buying- Joining buying groups of multiple small businesses can greatly expand the buying power of smaller companies. The Forum of Private Business recently teamed up with Buying Support Agency (BSA) to offer group buying discounts in order to vastly reduce costs on routine items for small businesses. Equally, SME Discounts is a group-buying site offering substantial (up to 90%) discounts on business products such as marketing, operations, IT and B2B products and services.
8) Buy Second-hand- Office equipment can easily be bought second-hand as other businesses and organisations look to sell. Assuming you are careful, there are some great deals to be had for equipment that is as good as new and this can really help to reduce the costs of setting up an office.
9) Inventory- Try not to hold an excessive amount of inventory if you are unlikely to shift it in the short term. Inventory that is being sold is essentially just company money sitting on the shelf and this greatly impacts on your bottom line. Be nimble with your stock levels to react to consumer demand but don’t overstock your business as this cash could be spent more effectively elsewhere.
10) Staff Costs- Employee wages are often the most significant cost to a small business. Employees are in most cases crucial to the success of your business so you don’t want to alienate them by cutting wages. However, you may consider reducing hours slightly in unproductive areas of the business. In addition, look for interns or inexperienced hires that can perform certain tasks for a lower fee, or nothing at all. Finally, consider outsourcing certain areas of your business in order to save on time and cost. Payroll, for example, is an area that doesn’t add much value to your business and can be time consuming, so it may be wise to subcontract such an activity.
By Tom Hoadley at Tax Affinity.
Tax Affinity Accountants are experts in Tax and Accountancy in the UK. Based in Kingston upon Thames they have clients right across the UK as well as Europe, Middle East and North America.
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