Posted by: Paul Millican
Helping a business’ bottom line is my business, and just like social media gurus shirk at a badly constructed tweet or a plumber rolls his eyes at poor piping, I can’t help but feel irked when businesses – clients included – do themselves disfavour by not considering the five easiest options when saving their business money. Well what better way to start the week than with a little advice?
- Shop around
If you’re a regular reader of my blogs, you’ll notice that I hold this piece of advice above all else. You wouldn’t settle for the first quote when insuring your house or pet – why do it for your business? To some cost management consultants, not shopping around is the cardinal sin. Even if you have pricing agreements in place or are half-way through a contracted period, it is still good practice to regularly test the market to ensure the prices you are paying are still competitive – make sure you know where the market price is.
Bear in mind that shopping around will only get you so far; if the option you find is the least expensive or best value for your business, but it’s still a little too unrealistic, then don’t be afraid to negotiate the price. Negotiating price is something too many businesses shy away from. Remember that suppliers want your business to help their bottom line just as much as you want the lowest overall cost to help yours. Don’t go in with high expectations or a hard attitude, however, otherwise you’ll find this tactic back fires. If possible negotiate with a longer-term relationship in mind.
- Communicate with your Staff
Whatever new initiative you’re trying to implement in an effort to save money, it has to involve briefing your staff and ensuring that everyone – from the CEO and right through all the roles in the business – knows what you’ll be doing and why. For example, if you’re attempting to save money by implementing a new solution or strategy, explaining why this is being implemented will save a lot of time and money when it comes to confused staff or employees who purposely flaunt the new scheme because they don’t understand the reasoning.
- Converse with contacts
As with shopping around for a good deal, you’d ask your friends and family regarding what they’re paying for their house bills. So why not talk to your business contacts and networking associates when it’s your companies money? You’ve built the network to help you and asking the question doesn’t indicate any weakness. Being able to compare what your companies are both paying will give you a point of reference. Just be sure to try and ask a contact with a similar sized/type business – asking a florist how much they pay on lighting versus an entire factory floor isn’t a good comparison point.
- Get an Audit
There’s no shame in asking for help. Arranging to have a cost management consultant visit your business and perform an audit could help you to identify cost management problems you had no idea you had – and the advice is impartial and there to help you.