Financially managing a small business can be tricky – and, when you add in a global pandemic, things get even trickier. If you are feeling the pinch, you’re not alone: a recent survey from Bankwest and Curtin University revealed that as recently as June, many small businesses remained very concerned in regard to the length of time their operations could be supported by currently available cash flows.
iiNet Business has always been big on supporting Aussie SMEs, so we’ve scoured the web to bring you 10 money-saving tips to help your small business thrive, now and in the future.
Knowing where you spend money is the first step towards understanding where you can cut back costs. Conduct an audit and analyse the financial ins-and-outs across all areas of your business, from marketing to office maintenance, and ask whether each expenditure adds value to your business. It’s a good business practice to get into for the long run, too.
Been a while since you looked at your supplier contracts? It could be that the service or product you’re receiving has changed since the original agreement was drawn up. If this is the case – speak to your vendors and see if a better deal can be negotiated, whether that means a cheaper price or more perks included.
You can avoid the cost of purchasing and maintaining expensive in-house hardware by harnessing cloud-based software. Easily scalable, cloud technologies can adapt to suit the needs and size of your business, and are ideal for remote workers, multiple office locations and even facilitating collaboration between employees. Popular cloud technologies for data storage and sharing include Canva, Dropbox for Business, and G-Suite.
iiNet tech tip: if you choose to embrace cloud technologies, make sure your internet provider can deliver the speed you need. iiNet’s affordable NBN50 and NBN100 plans provide typical evening speeds of 48Mbps and 90Mbps respectively and have been designed with small business in mind.
Find strength in numbers and approach businesses with complementary products or services to your own (e.g. companies who interact with the same type of customer) but who don’t provide the same exact services as you do. Take a florist, for example – partnering with a handmade card company would be a good fit as you’re both working in the gifting industry. They’ll likely have a following that is receptive to hearing about your business, and vice versa, so a collaboration could give you both exposure or add value.
2020 has proven that we can do a lot via computer. Pre-pandemic, when many employees commuted nationally and overseas for business purposes, annual expenditure for corporate travel services in Australia topped $3 billion. As borders begin to reopen here in Australia – rethink what travel is essential and what can be solved with a video call. It could save you big (and no jet lag).
If you know what your customers like, how they respond, what they want, and what they’ll spend, you can better target your marketing. Not only will you see better returns on your promotional activities, but you’ll also be able to eliminate ineffective methods. Try sending out a customer survey or, if budget allows, investigate hiring a marketing intelligence consultant or agency.
Experience is great, but it isn’t everything. Look for curious and capable people seeking an entry-level position and train them for success. Of course, there are times when tenure in the industry is required but, if not, you may find that your business benefits from having employees with fresh eyes and an eagerness to learn.
Save money and the planet. A paperless workspace reduces costs associated with printing, including costly ink cartridges, and can also save your employees time. Scanning, signing, and photocopying are quick activities, but they all add up (and get tedious!).
New tech can help in many ways, from allowing your team to work faster or reaching new customers. It doesn’t necessarily require a big spend either – iiNet BizPhone, for example, gives you big features like automated receptionist, custom music on hold, and unlimited standard calls to Australian mobiles and landlines, at a small monthly price.
iiNet tech tip: Don’t forget to upgrade your internet, either. If you’re a business that relies heavily on the web, a faster connection with symmetrical bandwidth (i.e. identical upload and download speeds) can reduce waiting time. iiNet offers symmetrical bandwidth on Fibre1000 and Fibre400 business plans.
Happy customers are your best marketing sources. We trust what our friends and family recommend more than the most persuasive ad, so encourage satisfied customers – or even your employees – to refer their loved ones to your business. Offering an exclusive discount or offer can sweeten the deal, too.
How have you saved money in your small business?
Share your tips in the comments section below.