Cost Cutting Tips
For Small Business

Irish SMEs are grappling with a range of challenges in 2024. The VAT rate has increased from 9% to 13.5% since September 2023.  The national minimum hourly rate became €12.70 on 1 January 2024 up from €11.30. €1.7bn is also still owed by Irish SMEs in revenue warehousing. SMEs also continue to deal with inflation and skyrocketed energy costs. SMEs are, without doubt, facing a perfect storm of operating costs. 

These challenges can seem overwhelming. However, in the face of adversity lies opportunity. By implementing strategic measures, businesses can not only weather the storm but also emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before.

Cutting costs for a small business is essential for maintaining profitability and sustainability, especially in challenging economic times. We have listed some practical strategies to help you reduce expenses without sacrificing quality or productivity:


Audit Your Expenses:

Start by analysing your current expenses thoroughly. Identify areas where you're overspending or where costs can be reduced. Look at everything from utilities and rent to office supplies and marketing expenses.


Negotiate with Suppliers: 

Reach out to your suppliers and negotiate better deals or discounts. Consolidate orders to qualify for bulk discounts, ask for better payment terms, or explore alternative suppliers who can offer lower prices without compromising on quality.


Reduce Overheads:

Evaluate your overhead expenses and find ways to trim them. This could involve downsizing to a smaller office space, renegotiating your lease, or switching to more affordable utilities and services providers. Consider whether certain expenses are truly necessary for your business operations.


Embrace Energy Efficiency:

Invest in energy-saving measures to reduce utility bills. Switch to LED lighting, install programmable thermostats, and upgrade to energy-efficient appliances and equipment. Encourage employees to adopt energy-saving habits, such as turning off lights and computers when not in use. Ensure to check whether your business qualifies for available support from the government.


Optimise Inventory Management:

Keep a close eye on your inventory levels and avoid overstocking items that may become obsolete or go unsold. Implement inventory management software to track stock levels, identify slow-moving items, and streamline ordering processes. Consider implementing just-in-time inventory practices to minimise carrying costs.


Cut Non-Essential Expenses:

Identify non-essential expenses that can be eliminated or reduced. This could include subscriptions, memberships, or services that aren't providing sufficient value to your business. Prioritise expenses that directly contribute to revenue generation or essential business operations.


Explore Remote Work Options:

If remote working makes sense for the business, embracing remote work arrangements can reduce costs associated with office space, utilities, and amenities. Remote work can also improve employee satisfaction and productivity, leading to long-term cost savings. Utilise collaboration tools and technology to facilitate effective communication and collaboration among remote teams. 


Outsource Non-Core Functions:

Consider outsourcing non-core functions, such as accounting, IT support, or marketing, to specialised service providers. Outsourcing can help you access expertise on an as-needed basis while avoiding the overhead costs of hiring full-time employees. Shop around for competitive rates and choose vendors carefully to ensure quality and reliability. 


Invest in Employee Training:

Invest in training and development programs to enhance employee skills and productivity. Well-trained employees are more efficient and effective in their roles, which can lead to cost savings through improved performance and reduced errors or rework.


Reduce operating hours:

For retail and hospitality, reducing the amount of hours or days that they operate can have a great impact on cost reduction. The business will have reduced utilities expenses and labour costs. 


Trading online:

Does the business have an online presence? The business can benefit from new business and increased sales from trading online.  Having its own dedicated website with ability to conduct the sale can also reduce reliance on third party providers. These providers such as Deliveroo or Uber Eats have high fees that reduce margins. 


Monitor and Review Regularly:

Continuously monitor your expenses and financial performance to identify opportunities for further cost savings. Set clear benchmarks and goals for expense reduction and track your progress regularly. Regularly review your budget and adjust your cost-cutting strategies as needed to stay on track.


By implementing these cost-cutting strategies strategically and consistently, you can reduce expenses and improve your bottom line without compromising the quality of your products or services. Flexibility, innovation, and a proactive approach to cost management are key to success in managing costs for your small business.

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