Office Expenses – Are you Paying Too Much?

We are all aware of just how much it can cost to run a small business.  When first setting up a new venture, we generally underestimate how much money it costs to get a fledgling idea off the ground, and we are equally guilty of forgetting how much a business costs to run.  Keeping these costs to a minimum can help you build the foundations for your business, and stop you worrying so much when you look at the monthly expenditure sheet.  Below we detail some areas of business that are worth casting an eye over, to see if any savings can be made.  With a little ‘expense chopping’ here and there, the savings can mount up, and let’s be honest here, saving money in business can be almost as important as making money, especially at the start.

Free Advertising 

It cannot be stressed enough, advertising via social media is hugely important for any company, from small startups to huge corporations. The great thing about social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest is that they are essentially free. While you can pay for targeted ads, these cost money, so relying instead on great customer interaction, and pushing your brand through ‘shares’ and ‘likes’ can save you quite a bit of cash in comparison to the more antiquated types of advertising.  If you pay for adverts in a local newspaper, you may get the odd customer through the door, but it won’t have the same pull that an online social presence will have.  You also cannot see any information on the demographics that your advert appeals to, and there is no way to engage further with them if they are sitting on the fence in regards to using your service.  If you are paying for advertising, and not finding there is much traction, maybe you could start putting your advertising budget into other areas, and try your hand at being a social media guru.

Cheaper Services 

Have you just moved into a brand new office?  Or perhaps you are running the business from home?  Either way, it is worth checking your current service contracts and seeing whether there are any savings to be made.  Your broadband bill is one area to investigate.  Most of us now use the internet for most of our communication, and if this applies to you, it could be worth looking at a relatively new style of broadband, called ‘naked broadband’.  All the nakedness refers to is the fact the service provided is stripped down to a pure data line, rather than including a telephone and TV package.  If you rarely use your phone line and consume most of your TV through the internet or OTA, then naked broadband packages could save you some serious cash.

Other services that should be looked at are mobile phone contracts.  If your phone is perfectly fine, but you are due an upgrade, consider taking out a SIM only contract.  As lovely as the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy is, they are an expense most of us don’t need, and SIM only contracts tend to be a lot cheaper.  After all, those upgraded phones aren’t free, but the cost is hidden in your monthly contract.  If your phone works fine, get on a cheaper deal rather than going for the tempting upgrade.

Team Up 

If the service you provide for your customers blurs the lines with other companies that aren’t rivals, it is worth having relationships with them.  Advertising each other as useful complementary services can be mutually beneficial for everyone involved.  For example, if you are a dry cleaning service, it could be worth teaming up with a tuxedo-hire company.  Both of you can recommend each other for various events, and having reciprocal links can help drive traffic to your own sites.  Essentially, this is free advertising. Not only that, but the more links to and from active websites can help drive your pages up the Google rankings.

Free Software 

So you need to buy Microsoft Office to run a company, right?  Wrong.  While the Office protocols are pretty much ubiquitous across the board in the world of business, there are now plenty of free alternatives that work pretty well, or indistinguishably compared to actual Office.  Google Docs has come a long way in the last few years, as has LibreOffice, both of which allow you to save docs in the same way and file structure as Microsoft’s official version.  If you absolutely need the Microsoft version, it is worth looking into the Office365 version, as you can pay monthly for it, scale it up and down depending on your needs, and you always have the latest version of each application, such as Excel or Word.

With a little snipping and trimming of expenses, you can end up saving yourself quite a considerable amount of money in the long run, and the more you start snipping the more you start to wonder what other areas of business you could make savings in.  Once you pick up the habit of looking for cheaper alternatives, it is one that will serve you well going forward.  The old adage of “take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves” will become your mantra before you know it.