Any savvy corporation wants to make more money than it spends. However, the reality is that the business world is extremely competitive, profit margins in almost every traditional business are at an all-time low and it’s an ongoing struggle to keep corporate expenses under control.
Some businesses find themselves in financial difficulties merely by trying to exist. For example, a fledgling business may never recoup its initial investment costs. Another business may work well for several years but forget to keep costs in check later. In either case, every day a struggling business walks a tightrope of survival over the pit of financial insolvency.
This begs the question, “What cost-saving steps should businesses pay attention to?”, and its attendant question, “What tips should an insolvent business take now?”
To answer these questions, first, take a look at some common budget killers.
Avoid Money-Wasting Traps
- Delayed decisions. If your marketing director dallies with the latest ad campaign, it’s a given that you’re paying for that delay. Most people don’t realize the literal cost of indecision in the workplace. So what’s the solution? Make—and stick with—your decision. Evaluate the results after the tasks are finished. You’ll pay more in the long run for procrastinating.
- Exorbitant travel costs. If you’ve done your homework, you’ll avoid paying for drinks from the hotel minibar or for ridiculous taxi fares. Plan ahead, you need to make sure that the rules regarding employee travel expenses are clear. Make your travel plans early and you may be able to save significant costs on flights and inter-city transportation.
- Pay-Per-Click advertising. Unless your business really knows what it’s doing with pay-per-click, you’ll suffer from a huge drain on your overall business costs. If your ad campaign captures irrelevant traffic, you’ll pay in other significant ways, too. Either have an SEO expert on board, or don’t try at all.
- Investing in untried technology. Unless you have a clear vision of how to run that expensive software, you may be better off with your current system. Once your finances are in better shape, you can look into better solutions. Just be cautious.
Once you’ve assessed what your business’s biggest financial drains are, you can move on to the next step—establishing work behaviours that build your bottom line and save even more money.
Save Money—Even on a Shoestring Budget
Take a look around your business venue. You may be surprised at how many common practices are money wasters:
Even if you don’t work in a high-tech industry, you probably have a lot of computers and other appliances around your workplace. You can save a lot of money simply by following a few of these simple tips:
- Switch off your computers overnight (unless, of course, they are servers that have to function 24/7). You’ll save hundreds of dollars every year.
- Similarly, turn off vending machines, photocopiers, and any other electrically powered device that isn’t critical to your operation during off-hours.
- Use energy star appliances in your break room/canteen.
Central Air and Energy Systems
Even with the need to keep your workforce comfortable, you can save a great many costs by remembering to:
- Use intermittent cooling (or heating) systems that turn off during low-use hours; then, keep doors closed, particularly if no one is using a particular space. This will make the air systems work more efficiently.
- Be certain your building is well-insulated against exterior weather extremes.
- Take advantage of shades, window filters, and blinds to cut the sun’s rays during summer months (or insulate against colder temperatures during the winter).
- Use energy-saving fluorescent bulbs that mimic natural light. You’ll cut energy costs in noticeable ways.
- Assign teams who work the final shift to turn off lights and unplug unnecessary appliances before closing time.
Supplies and Overhead Costs
It’s astonishing how supply costs can add up over time. Besides educating and monitoring all employees’ usage patterns, what else can you do? Read on:
- Save printing costs by using recycled ink cartridges.
- Use shared online documents that don’t need to be printed.
- Check out free software before you invest in expensive, untried options.
- Buy office furnishings gently used via auctions or even classified ads.
If your business has an online component, but you’re just starting out, try selling products on auction sites at first. Take advantage of internet discussion groups as a way of generating your business. You’ll save money and get new leads at the same time.
If you have a website, list your business URL on official documents (business brochures, letterhead, and the like). Print it on promotional items. You’ll get a lot of free publicity this way and cut advertising costs.
Even if your business is in deep financial waters and on the verge of bankruptcy, you have to begin somewhere. The ideas given here are quick, low-tech ways of dealing with some of the nuts and bolts of your business expenses as you find your way out of trouble.
Talk to your Trustee in Bankruptcy in Toronto for even more cost-saving tips you can apply to your business budget and remember that even if your company’s debt has become unmanageable, a restructuring professional may have a solution to decrease the debt load and turn around the business. Call Harris & Partners Inc. today!