With inflation and interest rates continuing to impact the spending habits of Australian consumers, businesses across the country are starting to feel the pinch as shoppers tighten their belts. According to Jenny Folley, well known business commentator and founder and CEO of @WORKSPACES, businesses urgently need to take action and understand the importance of paring back operating expenses in preparation for the period ahead.
Folley emphasised that there are key things businesses can do to easily cut costs and these include moving away from expensive fixed lease sites to flexible office workspaces. Flexible work hubs like the type delivered by @WORKSPACES offer a mix of options for businesses of all sizes including private serviced offices and coworking environments. The workspaces also include business suite services from desks and WIFI to kitchenettes, meeting and conference rooms, high level security services and reception and postal services to end of trip facilities, cafeterias and boardrooms.
“In a highly volatile economic situation, business owners need to be creative and flexible in their thinking. What may have worked well in the past, may not work well now. COVID changed the way we approach many things. Why not embrace the flexibility that we gained during COVID and apply it to the problems we are facing right now in today’s economy and cut your business expenses by up to 70 percent applying simple cost cutting measures,” Folley said.
1. Move into a serviced office in a flexible workspace
“One of the greatest lessons COVID taught us was how to work flexibly and remotely. We no longer need to rack up business expenses with large office spaces because we now have an entire cohort of workers who are experts in working with flexible arrangements,” Folley said.
“Fixed lease sites are expensive to run and it’s difficult to achieve efficiencies due to the running costs, idle floor space and the expense and maintenance of fitouts.
“Flexible work hubs like @WORKSPACES are the ideal way to run your business because you only need to rent the office space that you actually use and you have the flexibility to scale up or down as necessary. Operating out of a flexible workspace hub delivers significant cost savings and you still get everything you need like kitchens, printing, WIFI, security and meeting rooms, board rooms, reception areas and more.
“The cost of set up is virtually nil and flexible office space comes with desks, chairs and other facilities. Board rooms and meeting rooms can easily be booked when needed and shared serviced kitchen and reception areas make operating an office hassle free. You can literally walk in and start working straight away,” Folley advised.
2. Outsource services
“Outsource services that are not a core part of your business, so that you can focus on high value work. Many facets of your business do not havew to be done in-house and can be outsourced for a much cheaper price on demand when they are needed,” Folley said.
“Accounting, administration and social media are just some of the aspects of your business that can be outsourced with minimal impact to the daily operations of your business. It’s amazing to think that you can even engage CFOs on an on-demand basis.”
3. Cut travel costs and move to virtual meetings
“Now that Zoom conferences have become second nature to all of us, simply cut out unnecessary travel costs and host virtual meetings. Particularly if you are cutting down on international travel, there’s also the added benefit of increasing accessibility for all employees in different locations to become engaged; not to mention that cutting back on travel is better for the environment,” Folley added.
4. Join a barter network
“Joining a barter/exchange network is perhaps a less conventional way of reducing expenses but it’s definitely something to look into, if it’s not something your business engages with currently. It may prove to be an interesting and highly beneficial option to explore,” Folley said.
“Most businesses have idle capacity. Why not use this and exchange it for services that you would otherwise have to pay for. Could your company collaborate with another company and exchange professional services? It is perhaps more commonly done than you think.”
5. Use automated technology
“Automated technology is a quickly evolving sector and can already be used to reliably handle some basic services that are essential to businesses. We’ve all experienced chatbots before, you could be shopping around for a new car insurance policy and a chat window pops up, asking you what you need help with, and based on your response, directs you to some options,” Folley said.
“Many businesses are already using ChatGPT to handle customer service, email replies and social media posts. The technology behind these AI chatbots is continually improving and can now reliably mimic human interaction. So, if this is an option that you haven’t considered before, I think it’s something that you could definitely try out.”
Think outside the box to come up with solutions
“With the financial year coming to a close soon, many businesses will be looking to reign in expenses and maximise profits to end the year well, and make some good decisions to start the new financial year with. When it comes to cutting expenses, business owners might have to think outside the box and get a little creative about new ways to cut expenses and bring in revenue. It’s a tough economic climate right now, but if we make good decisions and take the right steps, our businesses will come out more profitable in the end,” Folley said.
@WORKSPACES is a premium service provider of coworking and private office workspaces that are strategically located near fitness centres, parks and dining and shopping precincts, so business clients are able to maintain a healthy work/life balance, and not fall into the sedentary lifestyle associated with traditional offices. Offices are located in CBD and suburban sites across the country.