When it comes to saving costs in the business world, most business owners fear that as a result, they will not be able to pursue as effective marketing and advertising strategies. At this point, we are not interested in questioning whether marketing strategies are indeed effective. This will be the subject of a different article. However, what matters here is to define ways to cut costs without affecting your actual business strategy. A business budget is divided between administrative and premise costs, production cost – in offices this is called productivity cost –, costs related to market strategies, and customer-related costs. While market and customer costs relate to your strategy and team management, the former categories of costs – administration, office, and productivity – can be redistributed more heavenly if you focus on business processes. With 7 very simple process changes, you can create significant savings within your business.
#1. Look Out For Discounts
There is no business that doesn’t need to update its tech gear or office supplies. While you can’t ignore these costs, you can certainly look for discounted solutions for your purchases. For purchases that are arranged directly with a preferred supplier, you can sometimes benefit from a customer-friendly pricing system if you chose to order in large quantities, for example, or if you are a returning customer. For single purchases, suppliers rarely offer competitive prices, but B2C websites can be an advantageous choice with discounted price options. Indeed, if you are ready to commit to a single purchase, such as buying the latest IT gear for one new member of the team, have a look at discount and voucher sites such as DontPayFull.com. These websites index all the existing vouchers online, so that you can buy at the best possible price.
#2. Streamline Your Processes
The daily workload can create incremental costs for small businesses that are trying to juggle with increasing communication, operation and management needs. The addition of business automation strategies can help to limit repetitive and time-costly tasks for the marketing, account, and management team. Indeed, the possibility to automate emails for new customers, for example, can save your marketing team precious time. Similarly, using a customized workflow to assign tasks and responsibilities to the team can facilitate management and cut most of the idle time spent in waiting and identifying the right operation.
#3. Establish An Energy-Efficient Strategy
Reducing your energy costs as a business may not seem like a priority at first, but electricity, water, gas and even hydro can be especially costly if you don’t pay attention to your processes. For instance, it is common for some businesses in urban areas to leave the lights on throughout the night even when the premises are empty. Ask yourself if you need the lights on a 24/7 basis, and more importantly whether turning the lights off would be damaging to your business. The answer is likely to be no. It’s important to establish energy-efficient practices to encourage your employees to use excess energy during off-peak times. Additionally replacing existing bulbs with LED lights consume up to 75% less energy, which will make a significant difference to your budget.
#4. Avoid Unnecessary Meetings
You may not be aware of it, but unnecessary meetings cost each year $37 billion to businesses. Indeed, we live in a mentality that privileges business meetings, with up to 11 million formal meetings held daily in the USA, according to MeetingKing.com. However, with over one-third of employee’s time spent in meetings, it becomes difficult to imagine how employees manage to find the time to fulfill their tasks. The preferred solution of most meeting participants is to bring other work to meetings, which reduces the effectiveness of the meeting itself. Unfortunately, while employees value meetings as a way of contributing to the business, people still fail to identify the difference between positive and useful meetings and time wasters.
#5. Create A Productivity-Boosting Environment
At the same time than reducing meetings is essential to free up valuable work time for your employees, it is also essential to continue to maximize the productivity within the office. FastCompany.com has reviewed that interruptions in the workplace can damage up to 60% of your employees’ productivity. Indeed, interruptions, whether they come from someone asking a question or from an unplanned, last-minute meeting, are estimated to cost $588 billion a year in the USA only. Interruptions don’t only cost your time that is not spent on the task, but they also significantly damage the morale of your team. As it’s not only a minute that an employee sacrifices to the interruption, it’s his or her motivation, attention and job satisfaction. Don’t let the interruption mentality jeopardize your business success.
#6. Digitalize Your Processes
In 2014, US companies spent $80 per employee on paper for a year, with up to 70% of the workplace space dedicated to filling and storing the printed documentation. Going paperless may seem like a small saving. But keeping your documentation in a digital format eliminates the risk of losing important information. Digital data being easily searchable, you are saving a considerable amount of time in compiling and finding the right documents. Additionally, leaving the concept of a paper office enables your employees to reach the information they need at any time and from any location, which allows for more effective remote work.
#7. Drop The Overtime Mentality
Last, but not least, it is important to fight off the overtime mentality of most businesses and employees. Indeed, productivity is not linear: Working longer hours doesn’t make someone more productive. Indeed, working more results in lower productivity, as a rule of the thumb above 50 hours a week, your employees will be naturally delivering low-quality outputs. Indeed, the worn out feeling is quick to settle when the working hours leave little room for rest. Over a long-time, overtime can not only create a reduced productivity, but it can also result in negative productivity. In short, overtime costs more than normal working hours and has less positive effects.
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