7 min read

9 cost-cutting strategies to save money in your business

Tackle a post COVID business landscape head-on with these top money-saving tips for your business.
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By Luke McMullen
Marketing Manager

With the impact of coronavirus, business owners and managers need to find new ways to allocate spend in the most cost-effective way.

In this article, we provide tips and ideas that will help you navigate through the challenges you face in a COVID world. We have detailed some practical solutions across nine key strategic areas, all of which may benefit your business.

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1. Save money with free marketing techniques

Unless your brand is a household name, pausing your advertising efforts will likely do more harm than good.

At Expensemate, we’ve already seen a slowdown in our customers’ advertising spend; paid media was one of the first things to go.

That doesn’t mean advertisers are tuning out entirely, there are many ways to reach customers without breaking the bank.

Email, social media, and search channels are three areas we recommend businesses explore in a post-COVID business landscape because if they’re not free, they’re pretty close.

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Task your marketing department with optimising your website for search, this tactic only costs the time it takes to write and publish content on your website. When done effectively, it can generate a consistent flow of traffic to your site for years to come.

Another free channel is social media. It costs nothing to set up pages with any of the leading platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest, Tik Tok or Twitter. If you publish content that your target audience is interested in, there’s no saying how many potential customers you could reach.

Email marketing is another fantastic tool at your disposal to help you save money on your marketing efforts. Harness your existing customer lists and send marketing communications to your contacts using tools like ActiveCampaign or DotDigital.

Many businesses flourish without spending a penny on media. Look at Hubspot, for example, the self-proclaimed inbound marketing specialists.

Produce high-quality content. Build it and they will come.

2. Work remotely

It took a global pandemic for the majority of businesses to realise that you don't need to be in the office to get the work done.

With modern communication technology like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, you can now have your morning meetings from the comfort of your living room.

As your business returns to normal, why not continue some of the innovative practices you have become accustomed to.

Where you once travelled to meetings, you now know you can run them just as effectively remotely. Implement across your organisation and cut your travel expenses in half.

You can take this a step further if you’re running a smaller business. Consider downsizing, reducing office space, or switching your business to remote a only basis. The savings to your business on rent alone could be significant.

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3. Reduce admin costs by resolving bottlenecks

It took a global pandemic for the majority of businesses to realise that you don't need to be in the office to get the work done.

With modern communication technology like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, you can now have your morning meetings from the comfort of your living room.

As your business returns to normal, why not continue some of the innovative practices you have become accustomed to.

Where you once travelled to meetings, you now know you can run them just as effectively remotely. Implement across your organisation and cut your travel expenses in half. You can take this a step further if you’re running a smaller business. Consider downsizing, reducing office space, or switching your business to remote a only basis. The savings to your business on rent alone could be significant.

4. Renegotiate your supply chain

Reach out to your suppliers and see if you can renegotiate the price, what you’re paying currently doesn’t need to be final.

Now, more than ever, businesses are doing everything they can to keep customers. You're a customer too, remember. So flex that persuasive muscle of yours and broach the subject.

If they don't budge on price, perhaps you could offer them something else in exchange. You may just find that your supply chain is in need of what you have to offer. After all, what you're selling comes with a profit margin; negotiating in this way means you'll make savings to the value of your profits.

5. Switch to cloud-based solutions

Cloud-based computing is deployed in most forward-thinking businesses. It has many advantages, from flexibility and advanced functionality to a host of cost-saving benefits.

There are three main types of cloud solutions:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Whether it’s to manage your customer interactions through CRM (customer relationship management) software or to host your business data on IT servers, there are solutions for most business functions.

By switching to the cloud, you don’t have expensive setup or maintenance costs. Platforms are accessible from any computer, so long as you have an internet connection.

If it wasn’t for cloud technology, many businesses would have been unable to operate during the coronavirus lockdown. If you’re serious about moving to a remote working setup, utilising cloud-based solutions is a must.

6. Curtail employee perks

You won't win many fans with this suggestion, but reducing the number of employee perks could be the difference between laying off members of your team or not. Therefore, it's definitely worth considering.

Things like stopping free lunches could be a quick money-saver during times of hardship. There’s no reason why you can’t reintroduce the perk once things pick up, and it beats lowering your headcount if you don’t need to.

7. Energy-saving hacks to cut business costs

Every little helps. Whether it’s going paperless or switching off your computers at the end of the day, there are countless ways to save money just by being more environmentally conscious. In addition, it’s a great PR move and you could get some free publicity if you share your success.

Turn off lights when a room isn’t in use, or utilise natural sunlight where possible. Installing energy-efficient light bulbs will help too. You could even go a step further and use motion sensor lighting so the lights only turn on when someone is in the room.

Smart power strips are a good option also. Statistics show that standby power consumption accounts for between 5 and 10 percent of workplace power consumption. Smart power strips identify when your workplace assets go into standby mode and then switches off the power supply.

There are a plethora of energy-saving hacks at your disposal, each offering varying levels of cost-saving potential. Whichever option you choose to implement in your business, it’s best to keep an open line of communication with the rest of your business. Introducing a policy is always a good bet so you can manage employee participation in your energy-saving efforts.

8. Utilise an inexperienced workforce

Utilising an inexperienced workforce can be a fantastic way to increase your headcount without jeopardising your bottom line.

The young and often sharp minds of tomorrow can revitalise the spirit in a team, bring fresh ideas to the table, they learn fast and when they flourish, it can be a very rewarding experience.

However, it comes with its risks. For some roles, it wouldn't be appropriate to hire someone with little to no experience. But for others, with the right level of support and guidance, bringing a junior member into your team can be a fantastic addition.

But how do you find the right type of inexperienced people? The key to this is to first define the character traits you're looking for in new employees. Skills, knowledge, and experience can be learned, attitude and work ethic, on the other hand, often can't.

Take a look at yourself. What is it about you that got you to this point in your career? Chances are, some of your values are exactly the types of things you want to find in a new hiree.

The same thinking can be applied to any method of hiring. Often employees focus too hard on the technical abilities or impressive bullet points on a CV without taking a closer look at the individual.

There's a reason why organisations in the Fortune Global 500 implement vision and values programmes.

A successful recruitment philosophy should always be aligned with the culture of your organisation.

9. Implement an expense management programme

Last and by no means least, expense management. When done correctly, it can be the difference between profit and loss.

Many owners of small and medium-sized enterprises rely on teams of managers and directors to manage departmental spending. But, the reality of the situation is that those managers are not you, and the decisions they make might not always be for the best.

Successful expense management is all about visibility and accountability. You need to have the oversight of your spending so you can hold the purchasers accountable for their purchase decisions.

Without expense management technology, the only way to review spending on an individual, team or company basis is to sift through the piles of books, receipts, and expense reports that contain the data you're looking for. This takes time and can detract from the value of return in your efforts.

With expense management technology, however, all it takes is a few clicks and you could be on your way to finding efficiencies you didn't know could exist.

Maybe you want to know which manager is spending the most on business lunches, or perhaps where the IT department has spent its budget these last 12 months. The insights and subsequent efficiency possibilities are endless.

Whether it's through fraudulent spending, frivolous buying habits, or purchases with low return on investment, inefficient spending can kill a business.

Our advice, leverage a product like Expensemate - an expense management platform that handles payment and approvals through to reconciliation.

With Expensemate you can:

  • Control spending in real-time with manager transaction approvals.
  • Review company spending at any level
  • Upload transaction information directly into accounting software
  • Reduce reliance on manual and paper processes

Let's wrap it up!

The advice featured in this article is designed to help business owners and decision-makers like you navigate through these turbulent times.

Our mission is to give business leaders the control, stability, and time they need to thrive and prosper. And, ultimately, our expense management platform, combined with the advice in this article will help you do just that.

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Learn more about Expensemate
About the author
Luke McMullen

Luke is leading Expensemate's content revolution, tasked with delivering helpful and educational content to finance teams across the country.

With more than 10 years of experience in marketing, he's worked with some big brands across multiple sectors and industries.

Luke is leading Expensemate's content revolution, tasked with delivering helpful and educational content to finance teams across the country.

With more than 10 years of experience in marketing, he's worked with some big brands across multiple sectors and industries.

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