Every business, but particularly sole traders, are looking for ways to keep their business overheads down and thereby increase their profits. But cost savings don’t only come from the larger elements in your business; they can be found in some of the smallest, too. Here are 8 ways you can reduce your overheads without compromising your business.
The paperless office
Nowadays, offices can become paperless without losing vital information. Keeping all your files digital will mean that your purchase of paper will be greatly reduced and you need not have to find somewhere suitable to store it. you will also find that information sharing becomes faster and easier through using emailing and other ‘sharing’ technology.
Reduced printing costs
If you are not using paper as much as you once did, then it follows that your printing costs will reduce also. Whilst it is unlikely you can do without a printer altogether, you can cut the costs by using double-sided printing; refilling toner/ink cartridges; or using a compatible toner/ink cartridge rather than the more expensive genuine ones.
If you intend to go paperless, then the next step is to adopt the latest technology and store all your business data in a cloud storage system. Cloud-based technology is readily available, and comes as standard with take-up and subscriptions to Microsoft Office, Google and services like Dropbox. You will also discover that in many ways your data is safer when stored in the cloud rather than on a server in your office, and certainly easier to make use of because it can be accessed from anywhere there is a wired or wireless internet connection.
Business travel costs
If you have a lot of out-of-office business meetings resulting in high travel costs, whether public transport fares or petrol, you can and should use technology to make leaving the office unnecessary. Where possible, schedule face-to-face meetings using video conferring software. Some of these are free, such as Skype or Google Hangouts, while paid-for others may provide a more reliable and feature-full service, such as GoToMeeting or Powwownow.
Outsource when necessary
If you employ staff, then there will be times when they are absent, either sickness or holiday. Rather than hire a temp who will need to be brought up to speed to perform their job and who may be underutilised for part of their time with you, consider whether the absent staff member’s work can be handled temporarily by a freelancer who works from their own home. You could also cut out the need for a full-time employee if you consider outsourcing tasks such as bookkeeping to a specialist company, who will handle this important task at their own office, obviating the need for you to provide desk space.
Review your small outgoings
Finally, take a look at some of the regular and even irregular expenses you incur, but which often pass under your radar. For example, if you are in a specific trade, it may be that you pay a subscription to receive a trade magazine or a membership to a particular body. But review whether you actually read the magazines you receive, whether they add to your knowledge or do anything for your business. if you cancelled the subscription would you or your business suffer? If the answer is No, then cancel your subscription or membership fee. If you find that you do miss out, you can always renew.
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