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    Online Collaboration, Creative Thinking: 5 Tips to Cut Costs

    on 8 January 2016

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    Posted by Sam Abrahams

    Rent, office stationary, hiring staff, marketing your services, getting started: a lot of spending and financial risk is required of a business before it starts to pay back, so keeping those costs down is key.

    Happily, though, there are many ways in which a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) can reduce its outgoings while still being efficient and productive.

    1.    Modernise your team's file sharing processes

    Going paperless is one of the biggest steps a business can take towards cutting down on wastage and saving on costs. Online collaboration for better teamwork and cloud-based platforms for record-keeping are wonderful opportunities for teams to put a halt to their paper dependence, and do away with the need to spend on ink, photocopying machines and paper. By turning to web-based platforms, businesses not only cut back on their overheads, but also become much more efficient.

    2.    Flexible hours and remote teams

    Web-based tools for collaboration and project management also offer businesses the chance to establish flexible hours and remote teams. As well as less office space being required, companies can benefit from less disruption because of home emergencies or sickness (in the UK in 2013, 27 million sick days were taken due to the common cold, and 31 million days because of back, neck and muscle problems).

    3.    Incentivise with responsibility

    Finding affordable talent is a challenge when up against powerful, well-established organisations that have the resources to outspend an SME at every turn. So in addition to flexible hours, offering leadership over a key project might just be the extra incentive required for the talent to come or stay on. Professional opportunities come in many forms, and the offer of an elevated role could be more valuable to an ambitious team member than a financial incentive.

    4.    Market creatively

    Piggyback advertising, where promotional material is included in general or otherwise unrelated correspondence, splitting advertising costs and sharing contact information with businesses that offer a complimentary product to your own, are all simple ways of maintaining an effective marketing strategy that doesn't require big investment. Add to that an intelligent social media campaign, and any business is capable of reaching out to future customers without having to dig deep into its pockets.

    5.    Crowdfunding campaigning

    Generating the financial support required to get a business or project going can be a daunting prospect – especially when looking at the interest rates on those bank loans. But there are government schemes in place that offer the possibility of a grant and/or expert advice, or alternatively you may wish to explore the option of an online crowdfunding campaign. Be aware, though, that this is no easy route – the competition is high and a successful campaign requires careful thought and planning.