Top 10 tips to avoid the credit crunch
Shared by: csa19174
Top 10 tips to avoid the credit crunch The UK seems to be heading towards recession and we are told that businesses will sink faster than the Titanic. However, with a few simple steps, companies can easily make themselves more e cient - boosting their productivity and potentially making the di erence between boom or bust. Controlling costs in a slowing economy is a relatively simple way to improve a company’s all-important bottom line, and so any steps that can be taken to cut costs while maintaining - or even boosting - productivity should be grasped with both hands. Tip 1 - Get the right suppliers If the credit crunch is already restricting your access to necessary nance, bear in mind that some providers o er 0% credit on telecoms and IT solutions to help your business be more e ective and reach more customers. Invu has some top tips that will help you do just that: 62% of UK businesses have more than four suppliers for telecoms and IT alone. Uni ed communications packages allow you to integrate applications on a single platform or device - helping you to cut costs. Tip 2 - Keep a close eye on your nances Keep on top of your bookkeeping right from the beginning. Don't be tempted to put o your paperwork, otherwise you risk forgetting crucial costs or even worse failing to invoice a customer. Track your VAT and make accurate returns. This need not be a daunting task. Seek help and advice if you need it, just don't get behind in doing your returns. Do your banking online - this saves time and money. Make sure you check all your bank statements and don't go below your authorised bank balance limits. Tip 3 - Cut travel costs If travel is a vital part of your business, you’ll know that costs are high, and ever increasing. Airlines are raising fares, to driving means spending upwards of £1 per litre for petrol, and there are always the hidden costs of travelling, such as raised phone bills, and Wi-Fi connection costs. Introduce remote working practices which remove the need to travel - by opting for conference calls rather than face-to-face meetings, travel costs are eliminated. In addition, exible working helps you to manage your workforce e ciently, reduce costs, improve morale, and keep hold of your most important asset - your employees! Remember to try online comparison sites to get a quick and easy summary of what’s available, and booking online is often cheaper than over the phone. In addition, travel can be eliminated by using the internet as a business tool. Online resources such as webinars can easily be used to get your message across to a large audience. You needn’t even travel to new business pitches - presentations can be carried out via services such as Citrix Online's GoToMeeting or WebEx. Tip 4 - Market your business on the cheap! It is vital that you get your business’s name out there as proof that you are thriving in today’s di cult conditions. To do this needn’t be expensive. Social networking websites like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn are being used by businesses to promote their products and services. Creating a blog lets you write speci cally about what your company is up to, and you can also o er your opinion on subjects a ecting your sector, your customers or events in the news. In addition, there are endless networking opportunities both online and o ine which will allow you to network with other entrepreneurs and promote your business. Make sure you have something worthwhile to say though, as spamming won’t help anyone. Invu Services Ltd tel: 01604 859893 fax: 01604 859902 info @invu.net www.invu.net 2 With many people now relying on Google to do initial research into new suppliers / products, you should make sure that your website is search engine optimised. This means including key words and phrases appropriate to your business in your website copy, and it will help you appear high in the ranking during a Google search. This process needn’t cost you anything, and if you get it right, can mean customers come to you before competitors. Tip 5 - Get rid of paper Although there will always be some paper in an o ce (post, etc), everyone should aspire to the easily achieved “less paper o ce”. According to a recent survey by commissioned by Invu and carried out by YouGov, UK small and medium sized enterprises waste more than £42.2 million per day in revenues looking for documents, something that could easily be remedied by getting their documents into electronic format. Despite the proven business bene ts of a paperless o ce, 65% of UK SMEs have still not taken this step. Flimsy reasons given by respondents to the YouGov survey include: “paper documentation is what’s always been done, and there’s no reason to change it” and “there’s no point in creating a paperless o ce just for the sake of it - what’s wrong with paper anyway?” Re-education is key here, and as soon as you realise that going paperless is going to save you time, help you do your job better and boost the company’s productivity, then there may be more willingness to embrace paperless technology. Tip 6 - Get your technology up to date This can be very simple - replacing large CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors with more e cient at panel screens, or even replacing desktops with laptops, which use much less energy are easy ways to reduce energy consumption and its associated costs. Fax machines are a good example of outdated technology that seems to be clinging on to dear life in o ces across the world despite the fact that they are a drain on your business. Not only do they waste paper and ink, they also make it harder to e ectively le the information sent. Most documents that are faxed can just as easily be sent as an attachment on an email, especially if the original document was created electronically. The documents can then be stored electronically, so that it is secure, easy to nd next time you need to refer to it (no more sifting through lever arch les!) Tip 7 - Make your o ce more energy e cient Opting for energy e cient electronic devices and turning o electrical devices when they aren’t in use can save you a signi cant amount of money. For example, switching o your computer overnight saves enough energy to microwave 6 dinners, and lighting an o ce overnight wastes enough energy to heat water for 1000 cups of tea. Just turning down your heating thermostat by 1 degree can save as much as 10% o electricity bills. By upgrading the cooling systems in your facilities and using programmable thermostats to automatically adjust temperatures when the o ce is empty, this can easily be achieved. Tip 8 - Get productive Ine ciency is the number one reason for companies having less than perfect productivity. By ensuring that every system and process you have in place is as e cient as possible, you and your sta can concentrate on their tasks, ultimately boosting pro ts. Review your processes that are now taken for granted, for example invoicing or inventory management and see if there are any unnecessary stages that can be cut, to free people up and improve productivity. Automation s an easy way to re ne processes, so see if there are any software packages that can improve the way you do things, i.e. eld force mobility solutions, document management software, building management system software. Tip 9 - Ditch sluggish snail-mail It isn’t just the cost of postage that makes traditional mail an ine cient option, but also the paper, envelopes and ink which all add up. Add to this the fact that post can take much longer than expected to arrive, and sometimes never arrive at all and it looks like post is not the e cient business tool you need it to be. You can save money by sending documents and letters via email, and if they are very large, try making them available to the intended recipients via download from an FTP server, or using other electronic le sharing applications to send them. Tip 10 - Take stock of your stock Maintaining a large inventory during normal times is di cult, but during a recession it could prove to be a ball and chain dragging you down. You should learn to rotate your inventory faster so that your pro ts can increase. Use the latest technology available to keep track of your inventory. These are not very expensive and are usually very easy to learn and use. Make sure you get familiar with ‘Just in Time’ methods to maintain your stock and delivery schedule.