Collaborative Post

While you probably devote plenty of time to researching strategies that will increase your revenue, it is important not to forget the other side of the coin.

The following ideas can have a significant impact on your operating costs and might just make the difference between whether your business sinks or swims, particularly at this time of year, when operations see a dip in revenue over the Christmas and New Year period.

Lose the landline

Technology moves on at a rapid rate, but there are some things that we cling on to because..... Well, just because. A landline is often the first thing we install, but something that we can really do without in the modern era of mobiles, virtual phone lines, Skype and VoIP. It could save you a fortune.

Go paper free

The traditional image of an office containing stacks of files, papers, bills and so on is something else that belongs to the 20th century, yet many still cling on to it today. Paper and stationery costs can mount up, and paper systems also take longer and are far less efficient than paper-free. Of course, there are still some things that you absolutely have to print out, but by adopting paperless invoicing and bill payment systems and maintaining virtual rather than physical client files, you will reduce costs, speed up processes and save a good few trees in the bargain.

Shop around

The 21st century is all about choice, so it is strange that so many of us spend more than we have to on everyday things by failing to use the cheaper supplier. As we mentioned above, even in a paper-free office, you will still need to print things sometimes, so seek out the best deal on ink for Epson printers or those essential stationery supplies. Also, check out other available options when costs such as insurance come up for renewal.

Rationalise your software

Sure, this is the technological age, but how much software are you paying for that actually adds value to your business? Use the Christmas lull to take an hour out and perform a software audit on your systems. Ditch what you don't need, and for even bigger savings, you could consider open source alternatives to those big name applications that the Microsofts and Apples of this world try to convince us that we cannot live without.

Barter with your suppliers

Sometimes, the old solutions are the best. Cash flow is the single biggest risk to a small business, so what if you could preserve your cash by exchanging goods and services for the things you need? That way, no cash needs to change hands. A bartering arrangement is a great way to reduce business costs and at the same time strengthen the relationship with your suppliers, who also become your customers. It is a win/win all round.