A new survey has revealed that Australia’s small business sector is pessimistic about the future, with less than a quarter showing any confidence in the prospects of Australia’s economy. According to the 2016 MYOB Business Monitor Report, 42 percent of small business owners believed the economy will dip over the next 12 months, and only 24 percent said they were optimistic about it despite pre-election promises of greater support for the sector. "The latest MYOB Business Monitor clearly shows many SME operators are still concerned about the underlying strength of the Australian economy," said MYOB CEO Tim Reed. "Despite a range of election initiatives promised to help businesses get ahead, business owners still don't feel confident that the economy has turned the corner. It reinforces the need for policies that will stimulate the economy and lead to growth." With the world still reeling from the Brexit result and global financial markets in a state of flux, small business owners may need to start looking internally to find important cost savings. If you’re a small business owner, here’s five ways you can save money ahead of any financial squeeze:
1. Package Up Your Promotions
While international markets waver, it’s not always a good idea to cut back on your marketing efforts. Attracting and retaining customers will be more important than ever, but there might be smarter and more cost-effective ways to do it. Jacquelyn Lynn from Entrepreneur Magazine says that small business owners can save money by bundling their promotions, and partnering with complementary businesses. “Including advertising material in other mailings, such as in invoices, saves postage and other costs. Likewise, make the most of your point-of-purchase opportunities by tucking coupons, newsletters or other promotional fliers in the bag with customers' purchases,” she says. “You can also set up a mutually beneficial partnership with complementary businesses by sharing mailing lists, distribution channels and suppliers with businesses that sell complementary goods or services.”
2. Look To The Cloud
The average cost to acquire a new employee is roughly $4,000. That doesn’t take into account the time spent training them, as well as the costs of insurance, super contributions, sick leave, annual leave and annual salaries, bonuses and pay rise increments. Yet nimble small businesses are turning to cloudsourcing as a cost-effective solution to get the skills they need. “Cloudsourcing involves hiring qualified professionals who work remotely for a fraction of the cost of traditional employees. Some of the best professionals out there, especially in today’s job market, choose to work for themselves,” advises Suzanne Kearns fromMoneyCrashers. “They’ll post their portfolios on sites like Elance, Freelancer and oDesk, and you can hire them for a set period of time based on your specific needs.” “This way, you don’t have to keep a writer, graphic artist, and website designer on your full-time payroll. By using cloudsourcing for your marketing, business administration, or technology needs, you’ll be able to cut down on your expenses substantially.”
3. Investigate New Office Efficiencies
I’ve always loved Grace Hopper’s famous quote: “Perhaps the most dangerous phrase in the English language is ‘that’s the way it’s always been done’.” Small business can sometimes fall victim to this mentality, sticking with familiar yet inefficient processes because they are too busy managing the day-to-day operations of their business. Yet even small changes can yield significant cost saving. I recently worked with McCarroll’s Automotive Group, one of NSW’s most recognised names in car sales. They were facing serious productivity and efficiency issues with their old technology and asked Fuji Xerox to help. Working with their administrative teams we installed a range of devices from our SMART Series range that offered them greater control over their printing and scanning processes. Stored Programming and Job Flow took cumbersome processes and turned them into one touch simplicity, allowing staff to concentrate on clients rather than costly and time-consuming printing processes. It’s a lesson for any small business that new technologies can be an investment in your business’ ability to generate revenue and increase productivity. Fuji Xerox’s Managed Print Service (MPS) can help reduce printer fleet, reduce print volume, improve security and increase control and accountability.
4. Collaborate With Competitors
The idea of working with your competitors is counter to conventional wisdom, but when it comes to ordering supplies, it can be a great way to save money — especially for small businesses that don’t have the buying power of larger companies that enjoy bulk ordering discounts. “If your business is struggling to place large enough orders to fully benefit from cost cutting discounts, try collaborating with other companies to place group orders. This is when it really helps to know your competition, because for these purposes, they might not be your competition at all,” says Jayson DeMers from Small Business Trends. “Rather, companies that are in the same industry are more likely to need the same supplies. Chat up the other local companies and see what other small businesses might make good partners for bulk ordering.”
5. Adopt A Green Culture
We all know the environmental benefits of adopting sustainable practices and products around the office, but it can have serious business benefits too by reducing long term running costs, lowering utility bills and reducing wastage. In fact, a global survey conducted by McKinseyshowed that the top reason for businesses adopting sustainable practices worldwide was to improve operational efficiency and lower costs (33%), surpassing corporate reputation (32%) as the most important factor in being more environmentally friendly.
Here’s how you can be more sustainable around the office:
Avoid Peak Times: Depending on the utility company you are paying, they usually have off to high peak times during the day. Try your best to only use excess energy during the low or off peak times.
Switch Off Equipment When Not In Use: Make sure that you switch off all printers, scanners, microwave, lights, air conditioners, coffee vending machines during weekends or holidays. They continue to draw power even if they are plugged in.
Buy Energy Efficient Devices: Energy efficient devices cost more up front but over years of use, they’re going to save you money. This holds true for any equipment that runs on electricity – spending a little more can result in significant savings over the lifespan of the product.
Other Articles You May Find Helpful: