Ways to reduce your small business costs

By Henry Brown

COVID has hit the world hard, with many businesses having to make changes in order to survive in the current climate. With lockdowns happening around the world, it is essential that your business not only adapts but also continues to push forward and develop. Unfortunately, during these challenging times, you may need to cut some costs in order to keep operating as you once did. Below are several ways you can reduce your costs as a business without having to make people unemployed.

Modernize your marketing strategy 

When was the last time you looked at your marketing spend? Running successful marketing campaigns can be a great way to bring in more revenue. That said, running bad marketing campaigns can cost you a lot of money, which is essentially wasted. Make sure you run a report on your marketing campaigns and see what is successful and what isn’t. If something isn’t working, don’t keep throwing money at it; instead, adjust your campaign and target something different. It might be that you move the spending to a different campaign which is working and concentrate your effort more on that.

Reduce client expenses 

In the current climate, reducing your business expenses may be a way to reduce your costs as a business. Run a report and see what you are expensing as a business and see if anything can be cut. Maybe you don’t need to treat your clients as much or treat them but to something less expensive. After all, you may be surprised at how much your expenses add up to.

Switch to video conferencing 

If your business involves you traveling a lot to meet clients or pitch for new business, can you make this more effective? As mentioned above, expenses add up, especially when they are on travel expenses such as flights or petrol. To save costs, could you look at video conferencing software instead of traveling to them to pitch? In the current climate, this is safer for your employees and will save you money. During COVID, a lot of companies have turned to Zoom meetings or some of their competitors. You can always run a comparison online to see who offers the best video conferencing services for your business.

Maximize your employees’ skills 

Why not see what your employees can offer and maximize from it? A lot of employees are extremely talented with offerings that you may not have known they can do. Why not send a company-wide email to ask them if there are any added benefits that they can bring to the company and would like to try. You may find one of your employees can really help, reducing costs while potentially bringing in more profit. This is also a great way to get to know more about your employees, and if there is anything, they would like to do which you hadn’t thought of before.

Quality over quantity 

Have you heard of the saying quality over quantity? Is this something that you follow as a business? If not, why not try and focus on what you do really well, instead of offering many services you do average at. Run a sales report and see if there is a trend and focus on what is doing well for the business. You may need to move some of your employees over to that team, but in the long run, this may increase profits, and then you can go back and use the profits to improve the old offering.

Improve your technology 

Is your company stuck in the dark ages or pushing through with new technology. New technology can improve productivity while reducing costs. Tasks like following up on invoices can be automated, saving time, while productivity apps like Trello can make collaborations easier. The benefits of document management by DocuWare can help by reducing your time searching for files, stop having to create multiple versions of the same document for distribution. Improving your technology can significantly impact your business, help increase your profits, and, as mentioned above, reduce costs.

Negotiate with suppliers for better prices

In the current climate, your supplies will be very keen to keep you working with them. This means it’s very likely you could negotiate a better rate with them to save yourself some costs as a business. Maybe you can get an extra percent discount on your stationery supplier? Or you negotiate a slightly lower rent with your landlord? When speaking to your supplies, don’t go straight in with asking for a discount; explain your situation and see if there is any way they can help. More often than not, you may find your supplier has a little bit of wiggle room to keep you as a customer happy. We always suggest getting quotes from your suppliers yearly to ensure you are getting the most competitive price; if not, you can always move over to a different supplier if your current one is too expensive.

Keep meetings to a deadline

Productivity is key when trying to increase profits. This is why it is important you don’t stand around talking after your meetings. Instead, be ready with a list of goals you want to achieve in your meetings and make sure you stick to the points, stopping conversations from going into different tangents. As soon as the meeting ends, politely get everyone back to their desks working instead of talking about what happened on your weekend.

Consider hiring an intern 

University students are always looking for work experience in their chosen field, especially when they are looking into their sandwich year. If you haven’t taken on an intern before, this can be a great way to employ while cutting costs. An intern comes with funding as well as being eager to impress and work hard. If you hire an intern instead of a full-time employee, you can reduce business costs a lot, but remember, an intern does need training and will need your support.

Buy in bulk

If you have products that you regularly purchase monthly, buying them in bulk may be worth considering. Bulk buying can cost more initially as you have a bigger lump sum to pay; however, by doing this, you can try to negotiate a bulk purchase discount whereby you get an extra 15% off because you are buying in bulk. Not only will you benefit as a business with a lower price, but your supplier will benefit as they will get big payment upfront. Things that people bulk buy can be their stationery, printer cartridges, office cleaning products, etc.

Skill swap with potential clients 

If you need a service from someone but want to reduce your costs, you could always consider a skill swap with them, instead of you paying them or them charging you. You both do the job for free in exchange for each other’s services. For example, a marketing company may need a new website, which you can build for them. In exchange, you get years worth of marketing support reducing your marketing budget.

What do you outsource, and can you do it yourself

What jobs can you do in-house instead of outsourcing them? Do you employ an agency to do your PR or a  freelancer to help with your copywriting? All these jobs have costs attached to them. Yes, some may be essential to your success, but others maybe not. Are any of these jobs something your employees can do instead of paying an agency a lot of money to do it? Also, is the agency getting results that are worth your investment? Sometimes companies spend a lot for an agency to run things for them but aren’t necessarily getting a return on investment.

Purchase nonbranded items 

As a business, do you purchase branded items for your employees to use? Ask yourself, is this really needed for your business success? If so, then this may not help you. If not, then consider swapping branded to non-branded to reduce your business costs. In many instances, this won’t impact your business except for cost-cutting, but where it is important to make sure you continue to do so.

As a business, it’s always important to know where you are spending your money and to cut some costs when needed. After all, it is silly to pay for the sake of it. From improving your technology to negotiating better prices, there is always a way to reduce your business costs. Some really big companies hire professionals to come in and do it for them! So it’s no shame to do it as a small business. Above are 13 different ways to increase productivity and reduce your business costs.

What actions have you taken in the past to reduce your costs? Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comment box below as we would love to hear your thoughts.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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