Every business I know has been through the wringer during the past two years. Sadly the good times aren't returning any time soon. So I've compiled a list of some more creative and worthwhile ways companies can save money to help entrepreneurs keep afloat in spite of the challenges.
● Do random expense claim audits.
Abuse of expenses is endemic, but if staff know that even their mobile phone bills are checked occasionally, then they are less likely to takeadvantage. You should have very clear expense policies, so fiddlers are not able to useconfusion to get away with cheating.
● Buy second-hand.
We frequently buy reconditioned kitchen equipment for our restaurants. Do not hesitate to choose used over showroom-new if it makes economic sense.
● Lead from the front about costs.
As a boss, you should constantly question costs and try to be seen to be abstemiousrather than extravagant – at least with corporate assets. If you are a spendthrift, you set a poor example that others will copy – with the company's money.
● Ask for early payment discounts.
If you have the cash, it might be a great way to improve your margins. If your suppliers are under financial pressure, they may well agree a 5 per cent discount for swift settlement. It would take almost two years with current low interest rates to earn that much if you kept the money in the bank.
● Understand what everyone does.
At least once a year, undertake a thorough analysis of all staff roles and try to work out their true productivity – and rationalise posts if necessary. Remember: no one ever tells you they are underworked or that their contribution is inessential.