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Personal finance tips that work for business too

Reducing your business costs can be as simple as applying the money-saving tactics you employ in your personal life to your work.

Take shopping for example. It’s winter and you want to keep warm. So you check out your local department stores for the best deal on coats.

At the same time you head online to find out if you could be on a cheaper gas and electricity deal for your home.

Either way, you’re shopping around. It pays to do the same in business.

Shop around

What’s more, the money you save can be put to better business use, as Cardiff-based entrepreneur Wyn Griffith, points out.

He owns software firm, and Pinnacle letting agents and has this advice: “Shop around. For energy, insurance, telephone, broadband, banking.

“In business you should do the basics first.

“Manage these costs and the money saved can be used for advertising.”

‘Every number is negotiable’

Negotiating can seem daunting. After all, the British are hardly known for their haggling skills, typically finding it all a bit awkward.

But think of negotiating in business as no different to enquiring about a free upgrade when extending your mobile phone contract, for example.

Jo Rogers, owner of Navistar Legal, which offers in-house legal services for small businesses, says: “Remember, every number is negotiable.

“People are not always driven by money when dealing with small businesses. Many will support you because they believe in what you do.

“So just because a supplier can’t negotiate on price, it doesn’t mean they won’t negotiate over payment terms, for example.”

Manage your cashflow

Ensuring you have enough money in your personal bank account to meet your domestic bills is no different to how it should work in business.

But every year, many otherwise healthy businesses fail because they haven’t got enough money coming in to cover that going out.

That’s why it’s important to keep on top of your cashflow, as Rogers of Navistar Legal knows from personal experience.

“I’ve been in a situation before where I’ve been owed £10,000 that hadn’t come through, which left me short of money to pay what I owed. I was technically insolvent.

“As a result, my money-saving tip to any business would be to know what your numbers are – your monthly turnover, expenses, and cash flow to keep you in business.”

John Coles, singer with and manager of Perfect Day wedding band echoes Rogers’ point on the importance of managing cashflow.

He says: “Ensure you receive deposits from clients. This helps me with cashflow for running the band.

“If the PA system breaks for example, we always have a float of cash available for a rainy day. A lot of small businesses go bust because they run out of cash.”

Seek help

Finally, if your business runs into financial trouble seek help, as you would with your personal finances.

Business Debtline offers free, expert, professional debt advice over the phone to the self-employed and small businesses in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The service – available online or on 0800 197 6026 Monday to Friday, 9am -5.30pm – gets around 40,000 callers a year on matters ranging from bankruptcy and insolvency to bailiffs and bank accounts.

What do you think?

We want to hear from you! What’s your top money-saving tip for small businesses? Share them with us below.

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