The good news is that business sentiment is on the up, with the most recent ANZ Bank business sentiment survey finding that a net 14.6 percent of respondents in November expected the economy to improve over the coming year, compared with the net 10.5 percent who showed optimism in October.
While that still leaves plenty of businesses not so sure about the future, it nevertheless does represent a 6 month high in sentiment, which has plunged quite significant over the past two years. Even so, many businesses may be looking to cut some spending in 2016.
Steve Odland, the former Chairman & CEO of Office Depot and AutoZone, told Forbes that a business should be controlling its overheads with constant vigilance. This prevents an unhelpful yearly slash-and-burn approach at tax time, maintains staff morale, and helps your business stay competitive.
Here are 5 suggestions for ways to potentially cut your business costs without cutting any of your employees out of their job.
1. Ask your customers what they want
The needs of your customers change over time, and regularly finding out what your customers really want is invaluable to your business. You might like to try the following:
- Hold annual focus groups in your local area to find out which products are no longer meeting a need, and replace them with something more appealing.
- Send out an online survey to your customer email database.
- Smooth your production process by getting your main customers involved in planning processes throughout the year.
2. Renegotiate contracts with your suppliers
It might be easier to set up a supplier contract for 2 or 5 years – but it won’t necessarily end up cheaper for your business. Forcing your suppliers to effectively bid for your attention every year might help to keep the cost of goods lower.
Don’t just set up an automatic payment from your business credit card to your supplier – reassess the cost at least once a year.
You don’t have to stop at suppliers, either. Renegotiate the lease on your office space if you have one. Renegotiate the interest rate you’re paying on a business loan, or visit our website to look for a lender who might give you a better rate.
3. Replace an expensive e-store
If you’re a small business, you could consider using a free online selling site such as eBay, or etsy for creative products. Why fork out hundreds of dollars a year to have your online store run by a third party web host?
While you’re at it, check what fees you’re paying on your business credit card or business transaction and savings accounts.
4. Piggyback your advertising
Make the most of both loyal repeat customers and one-off customers who don’t plan to return, by tucking coupons, newsletters, or other promotional advertising items into the bag for every purchase.
Other tips include buying second-hand furniture at office and government auctions as needs arise. You should also make sure you have adequate home and contents insurance over any business properties you own, in case of theft or natural disaster.Compare the interest rates you could be paying on your Business Credit Card