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Owners of small and medium sized businesses are always seeking to reduce their costs in any way they can, thereby ensuring that profit margins are maximised. In today's uncertain times, if you're looking to grow your business, you need to ensure that you keep a level on costs and find out how you can reduce these without impacting on your company's performance. Here are four key ways in which you might achieve a reduction in costs.

1. Negotiate a Reduction in Rent

Although the majority of commercial lets in the UK saw a fall in rental prices in recent years, the larger cities and especially London saw a significant rise in rent due to the multinational corporations being able to spend large sums on prime sites in the city. Most landlords are aware that if you were to move to a new location they would struggle to fill the space with new clients at short notice, which gives you a big advantage when bargaining. You have nothing to lose by trying to reduce your rent since your landlord needs you to be there and you could save hundreds of pounds a year.

2. Consider Outsourcing

By outsourcing the less critical roles you can potentially make large cost savings across several departments. The areas most often outsourced include finance, HR and IT, but depending on the sector you work in, you could also save money outsourcing distribution, manufacturing, marketing and customer services. You can also consider hiring freelancers or short-term contract workers. These types of workers tend to have excellent experience and commitment to the work, as they're self-employed. You also gain by saving on staffing costs.

3. Use Expense Software

One of the main costs a company can incur are expense claims by staff, which can be difficult to manage effectively. By using specialist expense management software you can reduce your bills, easily keep control and enforce policies, monitor expenses and improve efficiency. Some software can be accessed 24 hours a day and have features such as exchange rates for immediate and accurate costing.

4. Adopt Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is where a company rents online software and storage solutions. All of the work done by employees is carried out in 'the cloud' of the internet and those using it will access it every day to complete their work. This technology allows businesses access to more advanced tools than they could ordinarily afford with less initial payment. Cloud services reduce technology costs from SMB's and reduces the costs of maintaining hardware and software.

The benefits of moving to Cloud are wide ranging including the fact that there are usually set subscriptions paid monthly and no site costs, making this a superior cost saving move for companies. Employees can access your business's network remotely at any time by going online, allowing for a higher level of productivity as the automation given by Cloud services frees up staff to work on other areas, which may move the company forward.

James Rutherford writes frequently for a variety of websites and blogs, mainly focusing on business costs and how to increase profits. Areas he has expertise in include expense management, online marketing and banking and financial technology.

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