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Working Around Budget Limitations

  • Blog
  • 15 October 2015

For small businesses, restricted budgets are a fact of modern life. Smart business people are actively embracing more efficient ways of working; reducing unnecessary costs, exploiting efficiencies and running a more profitable operation by minimising the underlying cost base. So what practical steps can you implement to see rapid and measurable results?

Working Around Budget Limitations

Work smarter, not pricier

Price creep seems inevitable for business owners but inflation is more a memory than reality in the current economic climate. Consider, for example, the costs of hosting your business technology in the cloud on a licensed user basis, compared with buying in and managing your own server. Equally, look at how the flexible labour market offers you options to hire in contract and temporary workers for projects, rather than expensive permanent staff.

An increasingly flexible and responsive world offers smart working and cost efficiencies. The trick to achieving these gains lies in having a questioning mind. As a business owner, you and your trusted staff should take the Japanese approach of continuously reviewing and improving what you do. Rather than printing a business brochure, look at digital marketing channels to reach your audience. Question everything and think outside the box and you'll soon see the savings roll in.

Use free resources

There is a wealth of free services and resources available out there. Many of these are Government funded, with local private partnership support. Look in your local area to find which services are available to small businesses. You'll probably find mentoring, networking events, classes, digital support services and access to finance advice on offer, all without a single charge. Training is another interesting area; speak to the Federation of Small Businesses to find out if Government funding is available to up-skill existing staff.

Bulk buy to save money

If you have available storage space, stock up on regular business purchases and enjoy the cost benefits. Trade retailers such as Costco and Macro are ideal for staff refreshments and janitorial products. Online suppliers offer significant savings on printers, paper and office consumables. Look at entering into a supplier relationship for your regular items in order to secure preferential pricing and better service.

Don't be swayed by brands

A brand is often an illusion of quality; don't pay over the odds for design and 'brand equity'. Focus on the underlying product and buy exactly what you need. Consider something as banal as office paper towels for the bathroom. Your staff are unlikely to care whether they are a high-end consumer brand, or the basic quality brand from your local trade supplier. Don't pay premiums on unnecessary items.

Don't try to keep up with the Jones's

There's a saying in Texas that refers to 'big hat, small cattle' people. These are individuals who flash their apparent wealth in the form of baubles, conspicuous purchases and luxury designer goods. The true-ism refers to the fact that most of these purchases are financed by debt, and hide the true picture. Attempting to keep up with the illusion of success will deplete your finances and may convey entirely the wrong image. Instead, focus on building up real value, keep your expenses low and your head down. Consider all those hugely successful tech legends who often look as though they've just walked in off the street.

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