If ever there was truth in the old saying that the Devil is in the detail, it was never truer than when it comes to business expenses.
Everyone worth their salt in business is already doing the obvious – or so you’d hope. But once you have one cost control measure in the bag, it’s time to look for another. Here are five that you might not have thought of – but will yield long-term gain. Check out the theme running through them; it’s that getting expert help pays dividends.
1. Too cash rich? No-one wants their business live from hand to mouth when it comes to bill paying, but how much money is too much? Having substantial sums earning nothing in the bank is a waste of a resource. Talk to a good accountant of independent financial advisor to see if those funds can be put to work as revenue earners (in a tax-efficient way).
2. The cost of cosy. It’s fine to have a good working relationship with suppliers, but don’t get tied into contracts that might be costing you too much in the long run. Leave yourself the wriggle-room of re-negotiating annually. And never, ever, auto-renew anything. Start afresh each year. Insurance and energy are complicated areas, and a trusted broker can steer you through the minefield. (On the other hand, be ready for customers to do the same with you. Don’t expect them to sign up for another year without giving them good reasons to prove you’re their best option).
3. Talk tech. If the technology you’re using is old, chances are that it’s using more power than the latest models. For instance, laptops use less than conventional desktops computers, so you may be paying more for energy than you need to. But have you looked? Now might be a good time to investigate. And does slow IT mean employees have to wait for the tech to catch up – why would you pay them for no work, even if it’s 15 seconds every couple of minutes.
4. Goodbye, phone bill. Discarding everything you thought you knew about telephones, and embracing new technology instead, can make considerable cost savings. Using the latest in VOIP, or Voice Over Internet Protocol, you can make phone calls through your computer network, so long as the broadband link is up to the task (which it increasingly is these days). Rolling contracts for handsets are available, and you can link your smartphone to a company phone system, so you can be in when you’re out. Consider increasing your use of Skype and Facetime too. Find someone who knows about VOIP to advise you.
5. Don’t DIY. Would you remove one of your own teeth, or would you ask a dentist? Thought so. So why do your own accounts or write your own blogs and web sites? Those activities might reduce your overall spend, but they consume your time budget and earn no revenue. Hire people in, and focus on generating revenue.