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When looking ahead to a new year – and more pressingly, a new quarter – for your small business, you can feel overwhelmed. You know you want to cut costs, save money, and make a profit, but are there any easy ways you can do that — without laying people off, either?
Sure there are. Here are seven ways European businesses can cut costs without trimming headcount.
1. Outline job duties.
At the outset of the year, work with human resources to outline the exact job duties for each employee. This helps them each keep track of what they are expected to do, helps you monitor to make sure everything is being done correctly and on time, and also enables you to avoid overstaffing because each duty will be formally and clearly assigned to a staffer.
Overstaffing will cost you quite a bit of money and may result in layoffs, which can also still cost you and are unfortunate. Best to avoid that.
2. Analyze marketing successes.
Instead of focusing on all the money you’re spending in different arenas, reign it in on just one: Marketing. Review the past few years’ worth of marketing plans, spending, and successes, and opt only to reinvest in the strategies and channels that have worked for you.
In the social media era, companies have tried all kinds of platforms and approaches to see what sticks, but the key to success here is actually identifying what sticks and pursuing it fully. Stop spending money on ineffective or outdated marketing if you’re not seeing returns.
3. Slash recruiting costs.
If you’re spending a chunk of money on recruitment tools like paid job listings, you might not realize how much of it is wasteful. In addition to prioritizing free job posting sites, ask your employees to offer up recommendations of people to fill open slots. You may already be asking outgoing staffers to refer someone to replace them, but opening up the pool of suggestions to everyone at the company serves a dual purpose: You’ll save money and also bring in employees who are more likely to work well with the existing ones, maximizing retention.
Offer a referral bonus, of course, but not more than what you’d be spending to list that job on a board somewhere.
Ask employees to help out by unplugging charging cables and other electronics at the end of their shifts. Small changes like this can save on electricity and really add up. Some devices, like refrigerators or major tech equipment, can’t be unplugged so easily, but phone cords, laptop chargers, and little basics can and should be untethered from the wall.
Your cleaning staff can aid with this, too, in addition to ensuring the lights are always turned off at night.
5. Embrace hybrid and even fully-remote work.
The pandemic taught business owners a valuable lesson: Working remotely doesn’t necessarily decrease an employee’s productivity. As we’ve seen from studies on the four-day work week, what truly fosters productivity is a sense of being valued as a person and a clear definition of job duties.
By eliminating mandates requiring employees to come to the office, you can save a significant amount of money, from electricity to break room snacks and more. Downsize offices if you can and give employees an option to work there if possible, but embrace the financial freedom of not being physically responsible for them for eight hours a day.
6. Sell office furniture.
If some or all of your employees have switched to hybrid or work-from-home models, or even a four-day work week, you don’t need as much office furniture. You may not be able to break your lease and downsize fully for a few more years, but you can start now by selling excess furniture from meeting spaces and unused desks.
Contact local furniture wholesalers and shops to find out if they have a buy-back program. Think bigger, too: Unused tech equipment can go, as well. If you need to replace anything, opt for used items to keep costs low.
7. Rent office space.
In the event that you own your building, consider renting some of the space within it to other workers or companies. Freelancers are often looking for desk rentals, as are the owners of smaller businesses. Money coming in from space leases can offset other costs without requiring you to make any changes to your own work.