Across your business there could be 1,001 ways to find a little extra money here and there. But switching off lights or halving the biscuit budget are only small, incremental changes. To make a real difference take a look at the underlying processes and approaches that your business relies on.
As part of our payments Insight Series, here are five suggestions you might not have considered yet.
1. Minimise travel
Business travel is often a necessity, particularly for new relationships with partners and suppliers, but it can be expensive. You needn’t have monthly or weekly face-to-face meetings forever. Be honest with yourself when you look at your recurring meetings in particular. Could some of them be phone calls or Skype chats? Embrace technology and you’ll almost certainly find you can cut your costs. You’ll also save time!
2. Regularly evaluate your marketing
Frequently pausing and assessing what’s working and what isn’t is fundamental to all businesses, particularly when it comes to marketing. The Pareto principle – or the ‘80-20 rule’ – shows that much of the time, 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort or expense. Is this the case with your marketing? Does your regular local paper ad actually bring people into your shop? Has your business’s Facebook page driven traffic to your online store? If something isn’t working then stop it now, and focus on the one or two marketing and advertising routes that are showing real business results.
3. Shoot for the cloud
If you haven’t already, look at cloud computing. You’ll almost certainly have cloud-based email already, but expand your cloudy approach to other areas of the business. No longer will you need to spend money on expensive IT hardware or in-house tech support – you just need an internet connection. This also means you and your team will be free to work remotely, and flexibly, which is obviously no bad thing! As your business grows, you can simply scale up your cloud services to meet the demand. Simple and efficient.
4. Automate your payments
Guaranteeing a steady stream of income is crucial for small and medium-sized businesses, but simply chasing customer payments can be a major headache, and is time-consuming at best. Could any of your incoming payments be automated? If you have regular customers, talk to them about setting up standing orders with you, or perhaps even move to a subscription model if it fits your business. Similarly, decrease the time and money you spend on making businesses payments by exploring similar set-ups with your suppliers.
5. Go cashless
Cash and cheques may be tried and tested, but relying on analogue payment methods like these can be time-consuming and expensive. Handling cash costs an average of more than £3,600 per retailer, per year – once security, fraud, and theft are accounted for – according to Sage Pay’s Payments Landscape Report.
Make sure you’re able to take card or phone payments, and consider adding ‘Pay Now’ buttons to your customer invoices. It may be that in time you can move away from cash altogether, but in the interim the time savings from offering faster, more efficient payment options will be well worth it.
For more insight and advice on managing your business finances download our free guide to managing your cash flow.