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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Franchising Cutting cost when running a business

Cutting your costs

Saving money should be top of your agenda when you’re running a business, because you have financial outgoings on a regular basis. There is a range of savings to be made; you just need to know where to look.

No matter what type of business you run, and no matter how much money you’re spending, costs should be at the forefront of your mind. Shell out too much and your business could be in trouble before you can say ‘insolvency’.

Rent, equipment, furniture, staff levels and energy consumption are all areas where you’re spending substantial amounts of money. There are so many payments to consider that small savings here and there can add up to more substantial ones in no time at all.

Employees

Salaries, bonuses and expenses are likely to be your biggest cost, so saving money in this area should have a big positive impact on you’re margins. Of course, that doesn’t mean getting rid of staff unnecessarily, but you might want to reconsider how you incentivise them.

Non-monetary benefits, like offering flexible working conditions, training and staff days out can help to motivate your workforce. They might cost less than your existing bonus scheme and might be tax deductible.

It sounds obvious, but nothing motivates people better than having defined and achievable goals. Unguided employees are far more likely to become idle – and that’s when they start costing you money.

Office space

It’s tempting to splash out on a jazzy office, but does your business demand such opulent surroundings? Research the market for commercial property in your area, and bear in mind that rents are changing all the time.

The serviced office market has grown dramatically in recent years, and is catering increasingly for smaller businesses. These allow you to pay only for space you require – giving you the space to rent more as you grow.

Because it can be difficult to predict headcount in the next 12 months, let alone 10 years, you should also negotiate a contract that binds you for the shortest period of time, preferably just a couple of years.

You should apply the same thinking when buying up furniture for your business. Unless wowing design impresarios is integral to your business, it’s a good idea to spend as little money as possible. Keep your needs in mind and spend accordingly.

Equipment

You may want the best gadgetry for your business, but do you really need it? Most office-based businesses need computers, phones and perhaps a printer or a scanner. Be honest about your needs, but also give yourself room to grow; you don’t want to have to buy new, more powerful kit six months after you launch.

When it comes to communications, try to bundle up your package with a single service provider – that should earn you some hefty discounts. Think about the times of day you’re most likely to use your phone and try to find a tariff that gives you money off.

If in doubt, get in touch with a broker – one that charges the phone company and not you – and get them to do the research for you.

Energy

Like in the case of business equipment, it pays to shop around when you’re looking for an energy supplier. Again there are free brokers who can help you with your search.

In general, you should try to predict your energy needs – remember that a pub chain will have different needs at different times to nine-to-five office-based businesses. Like phone tariffs, energy tariffs fluctuate according to the time of day, and your choice should fit your hours of usage.

source: www.mybusiness.co.uk

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