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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to increase business productivity on a tight budget

Practical tips to help make the most of your business even when faced with cutbacks or a tight budget. 


One of the biggest challenges facing small and medium businesses is how to manage growth when the market isn't working in your favour. 

At the end of the day, it's all about looking at your budget from a new angle and making smart decisions about the best way to use it - that way you can keep your business on track and stimulate growth even in a difficult economic climate. 

But how? Take a look at a few practical tips to maximise the potential of your business and stretch your budget as far as it can go… 

Trim the edges: 

When you're trying to stretch every last penny, looking for ways you can trim down on expenses can go a long way. You might be surprised at the money you could save by implementing a few simple changes. Areas to consider include:
Travel expenses - how much are your employees travelling, and is it absolutely necessary? For example, by implement a video chat or conference call policy for internal meetings you can save travel expenses and your employees can spend that time at home - helping achieve that important work-life balance. 

Office supplies - paper, toner and envelopes might seem innocuous but when every pound counts this is a good place to start as many companies find their supplies amount to excess expenses. Keep an inventory of everything you have and how often it's being used up. Encourage employees to donate any free promotional materials - pens, notepads, pencils - they might have received at a conference back into the supply cupboard. Finally, wait to purchase supplies in bulk or when there is a large sale on, that way you can pick up the essential items you need at a fraction of the cost you might have otherwise paid. 

Utility providers - The same way you want the best deal for your home, you should be looking for the best deals with your utility providers. It's unrealistic to think your office could run without electricity or the internet, but that doesn't mean you should give up on savings. Many providers offer bundle deals or will undercut competitors so it's worth spending some time to shop around and find reliable providers that will help you ease your monthly expense. 

Investing to save money :

This might seem counterintuitive but really it's all about increasing efficiencies across your business. Are you still using old systems that are doing more harm than good? Investing in new technology, a new training program, or HR tools can improve efficiency both by motivating employees and helping them get their work done - something that promises a far greater return on investment.  Areas to consider might be:

Health insurance - Right now, small business health insurance might not be on the top of your priority list, but maybe it should be. Keeping your employees fighting fit is a great way to cut down on those lost days due to illness, and can also help reduce the stress they might be feeling about medical bills.  With their health in check, they can focus on feeling their best and making the most of the days spent in the office. 

Technology - choosing the right technology can completely transform everything from the way you bill your clients to how you do business. Consider any areas of your business that might benefit from going digital - integrating technology will go a long way to aiding growth and providing accurate insights into exactly how and what your business is doing every step of the way.

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