Hat tip to Howard Lake for the photo.
Tedious though it is to inspect and revise your everyday operational office costs, doing so could save your small business a small fortune.
- Turn it off. Cut down on the electricity bill by switching off all of your electronic equipment at the end of the working day. This means printers, laptops, coffee machines, lights – the lot. Even in idle mode, electronic equipment consumes a significant amount of energy.
- Bulk buy. Buy the most expensive and most frequently used items – tea, coffee and biscuits, printer ink, toner, etc – in bulk to save both money and time.
- Go paperless. It’s difficult for an office to go entirely paperless but you can drastically cut down on the paper and ink you use. Scan, edit and share documents with your iPhone; review documents on screen; archive documents in the cloud rather than in a filing cabinet; share documents as PDFs (they can be signed digitally so are useful for contracts); and don’t print anything unless you absolutely have to.
- Print right. There’ll always be something you need to print and having a good printer can be a cost saver in itself. Modern printers are of such a high quality that you can save money by producing your own marketing materials. Newer printers even come with apps and functionality made to save you time and effort.
- Go virtual. Using voice over IP software, like Skype, allows you to reduce your office phone bill and save on travel costs by carrying out meetings over the internet. You can also use online programs like Basecamp and Google Drive to store files and organise projects without being tied to a single location or machine.
- Move to the cloud. Traditional data centres can be costly and inflexible. The cloud is fully scalable, which means you pay for what you need rather than over provisioning and being tied to large annual contracts.
- Work remotely. If you have no meetings scheduled and just need to get that report written, work from home and save yourself the unnecessary commute. And let your staff do the same: it will save you time and reduce your office costs.
- Change your lights. Ensure that your office is fitted with high-quality fluorescent lights. Whilst the initial cost is quite steep, they last much longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and make great savings over time.
- Re-evaluate contracts. Don’t let contracts – anti-virus software, phone and broadband contracts, insurance, utilities, etc – roll over. When they are nearing renewal, review the terms of your contract and shop around for better deals. You could save a lot on your water bill, for instance, by switching from a fixed bill to a meter since offices use much less than residential premises.
- Network. Before resorting to costly recruitment firms, use your own network or those of your friends and colleagues to find new hires. LinkedIn can even be an inexpensive way to find new customers and new employees.