All businesses these days have to learn to get lean in order to survive. It’s not actually about having the best idea, the most innovative new product or the ‘nichest’ service out there. The fact remains that a shocking 60% of all new businesses fail in the first three years. This is commonly attributed to one of three crucial factors – failing to have a properly researched business plan, not understanding your audience or cash flow problems.
So, how do you avoid your business becoming just another statistic? As well as making sure your plans are right and you know exactly what the demand is for what you do, you need to focus on easing cash flow.
One way to do this is by trying to reduce expenditure during those first, crucial years. This can be easier said than done, as there are a lot of upfront costs involved in launching a business – demands for investment before you have been able to generate profits. It’s a difficult position, but it’s one that you can make easier by looking to reduce overheads wherever possible and minimize your fixed expenses to leave money in the budget free to cope with the fluctuations of audience demand and the problems that may occasionally crop up. Saving money needs to be a focus for every savvy business owner, especially in these uncertain times. Luckily, there are lots of ways to trim expenses, from sorting out what you spend on everyday actions like photocopier leases, to using virtual premises.
Downsize Your Office Space
Physical space is a big outlay for any business, whether it’s warehousing, manufacturing or office space. There’s also the question of the time it takes to find the ideal premises, with vacancy rates as low as 4.5% in London and the South East. Taking a smaller office might be a better idea, provided you have the technology to support a mix of remote working and office-based activities. For many businesses, a serviced office can work well, giving access to hot desks and shared facilities such as a reception and meeting rooms without having to bear the sole cost. Some businesses even choose to work remotely and maintain a virtual office, which gives them benefits such as a PO box address, call handling, mail forwarding and other perks without the sky high leasehold costs.
Manage Your Resources
A lot of low-level waste goes on when it comes to resources such as stationary and printing which is quite easy to reduce. The average office worker wastes 6,800 sheets of paper a year, so it’s important to get control of factors like this, starting with photocopier management. Setting better default values for your photocopies, such as using black and white and double sided settings, along with properly training employees on how to use the machines and all their functions can be a real cost-saving measure. Looking at your photocopier leases to make sure you get the best financial deal on photocopier hire is also important. A service that manages these functions for you can help you to get the best use out of your printers and photocopiers so that you get what you need without wasting money unnecessarily.
What’s good for the planet is quite often also good for your bottom line, so evaluating processes to make sure they are as eco-friendly as possible is a worthwhile activity. From limiting the use of water in the office to installing motion sensor lights and automatic power-downs after a set period of inactivity, looking at reducing your energy usage is one of the most important steps to take. Not only does dmcmediasolutions.co.uk make your business more sustainable and lowering utility bills, it also creates a great narrative that customers want to hear about and lets your employees know you care about the environment as well.
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Automate Simple Processes
Most businesses will have a few areas that feature fairly unsophisticated, routine processes – this could be chasing down invoices, or monitoring stock levels, There is a lot of scope to automate processes like these using software solutions. A lot of them are available for a low monthly subscription fee but can save you an awful lot in terms of cutting down on the human resource needed to complete simple tasks. Accounting software can keep on top of the books, issue automatic invoices and payment reminders – and that’s just one system. There are plenty more which can really transform the most routine aspects of your operations and whittle down your costs.
Purchase Equipment Second Hand
For businesses really determined to drive down costs and save money, there are ways to buy almost every kind of office equipment second hand. From desks and carpet tiles to ergonomic office chairs, you’d be surprised what you can get hold of for a fraction of the cost, and in great condition too. A lot of large corporates have a cycle of upgrades every few years regardless of the state of their current equipment, which can save you a lot of money. It’s even possible to do the same with certain IT equipment as well, and often these units will even come with a warranty into the bargain. It’s definitely a greener way of reusing what might otherwise be electrical waste.
There are lots of methods to reduce costs in the office and improve your profit margin – once you get the ball rolling with a few of them, you’re likely to find many more ways to save and protect your cash flow and your business.