Your business is growing, you’re increasing your client base, and the future is looking bright. For startups that make it through the first two years, this is already a great achievement – but it’s also time to focus on making sure your business is as resilient and sustainable as it can be. Factors entirely out of your control can unsettle the market in a matter of days, and while there’s plenty of room for a little celebration, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for a downturn. We take a look at some key areas where businesses of any size can take control of expenses and implement responsible practices, so they’ll be prepared for anything!
Focus on cost-effective marketing strategies
With business owners able to manage their own social media, create and upload content to their website, and even track their SEO performance through free solutions such as Google Analytics, it’s never been easier for small businesses to take charge of their own marketing. If you’re still small but growing fast, one idea is to pick one or two keen young employees and give them the opportunity to upskill themselves in digital marketing and learn on the job. You’ll get the benefit of an in-house marketing team at no additional charge, and they’ll be gaining invaluable skills for their own future.
Ditch the lease for a space of your own
If you’re making a steady profit, investing that extra capital in office space of your own is an excellent strategy. Just as with residential property, paying off someone else’s bond never feels great – especially when that money could be going into an appreciating asset instead. Start doing your research now, exploring the commercial property for sale in your area and surrounds, so you can get an idea of what your options are. If the numbers add up, this could be the single best business decision you ever make.
Another intriguing idea is to explore co-working options, where you share facilities like kitchens, toilets and office equipment with another business – saving both parties money.
Outsource non-core activities and explore using freelancers
For services you only use occasionally, such as getting someone to proofread your latest marketing material, do your tax year end or prepare presentations, choosing a large firm to help you out tends to cost more than it needs to. With a growing ‘gig economy’ and freelancers from around the world available 24/7, outsourcing these tasks often makes better financial sense. Aside from virtual assistance, a growing number of platforms allow you to hire more hands-on help, such as doing an office spring clean or stock take.
Put standard practices in place for office management and maintenance
While you’re still growing is the best time to start developing standard processes and procedures. Having a regular office maintenance schedule in place can save you bundles down the road, as you won’t have to fork out for large repairs that could have been avoided altogether. You can also set standard processes in place for new purchases, such as exploring appliance repairs first, the second-hand marketplace, well, second – and finally comparing these options against the pros and cons of buying new.
Make sure you’re adequately insured
Potentially paying more on your insurance premiums might not sound like a cost-cutting technique per se, but it only takes one accident or burglary to understand why it’s so important. Shop around and be sensible about it – but don’t think this is a cost you should try and get away from if your entire business could fail because you wanted to save a few bucks a month. If you haven’t revisited your insurance plan in some time, now is the time to do so. You may even discover that you’ve been paying more than you need to.
Manage your electricity consumption
When you’ve got a little extra cash in the bank is a great time to invest in better insulation, more energy-efficient lighting, or even a solar system for your business. Aside from this there are dozens of ways to cut back on your consumption for free – such as ensuring computers, appliances and power strips are turned off at the wall each night, making the best use of natural light, educating your employees, or allowing more staff to work from home.
Bargain and barter
If your company has been a long-standing client of a B2B provider, sometimes just picking up the phone and negotiating a better deal is all it takes to slash a nice chunk out of your monthly expenses. Businesses want their customers to be happy, and it’s well worth it for them if it means they get to keep you that way.
Bartering is another technique that’s back in style these days. If your company offers a product or service that your suppliers or their employees could use, trading this for what you need can be mutually beneficial.