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Productivity / Performance

The good and bad of cost saving

I recently met a visiting US sales guru who made a great comment about buying habits in a downturn. His observations serve as a good reminder when we are the ones spending.

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The guru in question was Neil Rackham and as someone who has been involved in the study of over 35,000 sales calls, he knows what he’s talking about.

The point he made is that in a downturn, customers don’t tirelessly pursue cheap, instead they seek out reliability and spend on things they know they can trust. In a downturn, it’s not so much that we watch what we spend, but rather where we spend it.

So let’s explore this in the context of our own businesses – where can we minimise our expenditure and where would be unwise to do so?

In the same way that someone who’s jogging to get fit won’t benefit by cutting corners, we risk undermining our prosperity if we skimp in the wrong areas.

The risk of the aged computer

If you’re using a computer, server or monitor that’s more than a couple of years old (three, tops we’re told), there’s a better than fair chance it’s going to let you down one day. Sorry to be a scaremonger, but that’s just how it is.

"If your business relies on a stable, reliable computer system, er, make sure you have one."

If your business relies on a stable, reliable computer system, er, make sure you have one.

The low cost, low sheen image

Poorly designed, low-cost, business cards, brochures or websites are not good for business and in this day and age, they simply make no sense.

As business owners we have never had it so good when it comes to putting on a professional, considered face. A quick look through our very own directory and forums, shows a plethora of skilled designers and developers who will create something, slick, effective and competitive.

If you cannot afford to invest in a quality image, don’t expect others to invest in you. Ouch!

Want more articles like this? Check out the performance section.

Inadequate seating and lighting

If like most micro businesses, you’re accustomed to putting in the hours, let’s at least ensure we work in the healthiest of surroundings.

We should be sitting in a chair that’s both comfortable and supportive and we must do what we can to minimise eyestrain.

Yikes, I’m sounding like my Mother.

The good news is, a good chair doesn’t cost the earth and nor does a good lamp, and secondhand is definitely an option.

Do your research and take the time to make the right decision. In the case of seating, many back-health practitioners extol the virtues of the exercise-ball-as-chair option.  It certainly worked for me until a slow puncture lowered me gently to the floor.

Click on the video icon under this article’s image to view a 2 minute presentation on the benefits of this seating option.

Cheap as chips support services

If you’re fortunate, you may well find someone to undertake administrative tasks for you at an hourly rate that makes a cappuccino seem expensive. In my experience, these arrangements rarely last and frequently go down in a ball of flames.

I have little doubt it’s the way of the future and if you can make it work, well you’ve done better than me.

Just remember though that if your business relies on cut price labour to be viable, you may just be confusing delegating with deferring.

Embrace new technologies

In closing, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the unbelievable money saving options that surround us in the form of applications we can access online.

If ‘Google Apps’ or ‘cloud computing’ are not terms you’ve grasped yet, this interview with Zoe Freeman demands your attention.

The days are fast disappearing where we need to spend hundreds of dollars on day-to-day software and thank goodness for that.

What say you? Where have you made some noticeable savings in your business, or where have what seemed like savings come back to bite you?

Share your comments below.

Robert Gerrish

is the founder of Flying Solo and helps soloists stay upbeat and energised. He’s recently published The 1-Minute Commute, is a presenter and facilitator and works one-on-one with those needing a refresh. Find out more about his skills and services and his Olympus Trip 35 camera side hustle or connect on LinkedIn.

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