The bizarre and unparalleled environment businesses are now operating in has thrown up a number of questions around what life will be like after the lockdown ends and we ease back into normality.
Some business owners have a little extra time on their hands at present, so it’s a good time to reflect on what costs an organisation money and how it can emerge from the coronavirus crisis more focused on efficiency.
We’ve compiled six ideas to get your creative juices flowing to identify areas to shave off costs to your business.
1 Embracing home working
It was somewhat forced upon us, but many companies have been surprised by the effectiveness of home working during the pandemic.
Depending on its degree of success for your business, and whether it is possible in your industry, offering a ‘home working day’ per week or per fortnight could be both a cost saver and a powerful recruitment tool.
Younger workers in particular favour flexibility in their work life and for businesses who rely on emerging talent and graduates, offering structured home working could be a deal clincher.
You will read more on the intricacies of this below, but imagine if you didn’t need so much resource for your staff to do their jobs. Whether that’s space, equipment, energy or other associated costs. Having less people in your workplace at one time has a range of cost savings associated.
2 Premises size
If you have less people in your premises, you don’t need as much space. Some offices’ prices are affected by their square footage in comparison to others. You could shave off a few thousand pounds a year here. Of course, this requires forward planning and is not relevant if your business is forecasting imminent headcount growth.
For larger businesses, office space experts Abintra calculated an incredible collective wastage of £10 billion per year on unnecessary office space in the UK.
Could your business put staff on a rota and only use 80% of your previous amount of space at any one time? It feels like a painful one and a big jump, but the restrictions imposed by coronavirus may just have been the push we needed to start to make these more drastic decisions. What’s more, you could sub-let part of your office to a smaller business and turn this dead space into a mini revenue stream.
3 Equipment numbers
Again, one for office-based businesses. We’re sure you’re already aware, but phones are expensive!
Your IT and telephony set up will undoubtedly be one of your largest essential costs. So much so, many businesses actually rent their phone handsets rather than buy them. Reducing the number of handsets required in the office could again shave a minimum of a few thousand pounds off your solution cost per year. Another benefit as a result of idea one (above): setting up a home-working rota.
Speak to us at Great Annual Savings Group (GAS) if you’re thinking about changing your phone system set up.
4 Assess your travel costs
Now we’re all proficient at videoconferencing and can use apps for everything from hosting quizzes to doing workouts, surely that can be a stimulus for reducing journeys up and down the country, or even internationally.
Use some spare time over the remaining few weeks of lockdown to look back over your business travel costs for the last year. Assess the data and flag which journeys could have been replaced with a video conference. This could form the basis of a new cost-saving travel policy. This would certainly be supported by the majority of employees and also has beneficial impacts on the business’ carbon footprint.
If you offer initial consultations as part of your service, can these automatically become webchats? Marketed and measured properly, this could be developed into a point of difference.
5 New revenue streams
One for the non-office-based companies (mainly). It’s not technically a “cost-saver”, but many pubs, restaurants and cafes are finding ways to continue to keep some income trickling in despite being closed to social groups. For example: offering take-away Sunday dinners or a reduced non-contact menu collection service.
Just Eat has reported a 50 per cent increase in orders in Q1 2020, showing the short-term boom in the industry.
At present, this is a short-term strategy. But, if it could be added to a restaurant or pub’s regular strategy, it could provide an additional minor revenue stream once business returns to normal. How could your business learn from this? What have you tried during lockdown and would it be worth trialling it as a diversification possibility during normal operation?
If you’re a pub, restaurant or café looking for the technical means to move to a take-away model during the lockdown, GAS partner Paymentsense has developed a free, “do-it-yourself” takeaway app called Biteback, which allows you to build your own menu and take orders and payments remotely. Check it out here.
6 Utilise a cost saving expert
You didn’t think we’d let a cost-saving ideas blog pass without a shameless plug, did you? Great Annual Savings Group (GAS) has a vast array of experience in 13 different areas of cost saving consultancy and is still operating remotely through the coronavirus pandemic, focusing on customer communications and helping businesses save money.
As mentioned above with Paymentsense’s brilliant app, we have connections to swathes of B2B suppliers and companies across the spectrum of business outgoings, including payment machines, insurance, waste management, office equipment, telecoms and broadband and the old favourite: utilities. We use these connections to advise businesses of what deals are out there and help improve contracts and terms in all of these areas. We have done so with more than 8,500 businesses to date and more than 200 since the UK went into lockdown.
GAS can help you prepare for contracts ending in the future, addressing issues and minimising costs ready to automatically roll-on once your current deals end. We firmly believe that we can be a valuable partner to businesses of all sizes as we move into a period of further uncertainty. GAS charges nothing for consultancy and can provide quotes and proposals quickly at no cost.
Give us a shout for a free chat and advice on how we can help your business be more cost-efficient moving into the “new normal”.
Got a question about business costs but don’t want to phone? Fill in our free contact form on our Covid-19 business support hub and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible with an answer from one of our experts.