As the owner of a small business, one of your most important duties is to manage budget carefully. We do not need to tell you how difficult the last eighteen months have been for anyone running a company, no matter what size and no matter what industry you work in. We have all been doing our level best to keep ourselves afloat and to think about how we can get through the next week, the next month. Over the summer, it felt like everyone had a little more room to breathe. Off the clock, we all enjoyed getting back out there and seeing our friends and family, not to mention going to bars and restaurants and even taking well-earned holidays.
But now the autumn is here, and it is time for us all to start thinking about how we can make the most of what we have as the harder months come into view. The UK government has been pretty clear about the fact that everyone is going to be facing a tough winter with rising taxes, rising energy prices and supply shortages. Preparation is going to be crucial for every business, and you are going to need to look for the savings and incentives to make sure that you are squeezing the most out of every penny.
Talk To Your Accountant
Let’s start with one of the most important steps that any small business owner needs to take when they are facing a difficult period. Your accountant should be your first port of call to talk you through what you are going to be looking at in terms of expenses, responsibilities and how you can plan for worst-case scenarios. But it is not all about the doom and gloom.
One of the most important reasons to bring an accountant on board is that they can look for those windows of opportunity, those grants and incentives that you can take advantage of to not only save you money, but to make a little extra. Anyone who weathered the storm of 2020 will tell you that some of those government schemes were a little chaotic, with so much discussion about when they were going to end and if they were going to be extended. An accountant will take a lot of the stress and worry off your desk and will have all their attention focused on your finances.
Keep Shopping Around
In an ideal world, we would all be able to agree to terms with supplier and stick with them. There are very few people out there who actively enjoy the process of looking around for better terms. It is time consuming, it can be irritating, and it can sometimes involve protracted negotiations as you haggle to make sure that you are getting the most for your money. However, we all know that it is a necessary evil if we want to keep our costs down, and it can take a huge amount of stress out of your life.
With the rising energy prices coming this winter, for example, you need to make sure that you are not setting yourself up for massive bills for your company, whether you have an office, a store or you work from home. Keep looking for the best terms possible and don’t be afraid to walk away. Similarly, is your broadband provider still the best option in your area? Or could you save money by switching to someone else? The process of comparing prices can be a bit of a time sink but it could also save you a lot of money.
Look For Incentives
On a similar note, looking for the best deals is not just about saving you money. It can also be a great way to earn a little extra. Just because you operate your own small business, does not mean that you should ignore opportunities to earn cash online. A lot of great businesses and service providers are offering reward incentives to people who either switch or who bring a friend or two with them.
If you are looking for ways to earn money from home as well as from your business, then look at Lebara’s refer a friend scheme. Lebara offers great SIM-only plans that could be a perfect fit for your business, and they also offer cash rewards for referring a friend. You could be looking at a £50 referral bonus, and your friend could get 50% off their deals.
Embrace The New Normal
One of the best ways that you can start thinking about making savings and finding new opportunities to earn is by making the most of the new normal. The most obvious example of this has to be remote working. Not so long ago, a lot of business owners believed that an office was a necessity. Not just for creating the best working environment possible, but as a status symbol to let the competition and their clients know that they were a force to be reckoned with. Now, as the return to the office becomes an increasingly complicated and potentially costly issue for so many companies, a lot of people out there are cutting ties with that brick-and-mortar space and embracing the freedom and the cost-saving potential of committing to remote working. It is not only something that could make your employees happier, cutting out commuting times and allowing for flexible working hours. It frees up resources to pursue the new opportunities that digital provides.
And speaking of those new opportunities, one of the major consequences of so many businesses pivoting to online is that there is something of a level playing field. Yes, bigger companies have more resources to throw at the digital landscape, but smaller businesses have flexibility and perhaps have a greater understanding of how to target their core audience and make the most of what they do have. If you want to make the most of your budget, consider researching how AI technology can help you save time and resources in areas such as customer service and digital marketing. Use your social media channels to reach your target audience and drive organic traffic to your site. Work on your SEO skills to make sure that you are at the top of search rankings.