Kent enterprises 'throwing cash away', bank argues
Kent entrepreneurs are
not reviewing their costs
Small and medium enterprises are throwing money away by
failing to review their outgoings often enough, according to new
research by Clydesdale Bank.
The survey shows more than half of SMEs in the south east (56%)
go at least six months without reviewing costs, while 15% never
review at all.
Micro-businesses – fewer than 10 employees – were found to be
the most likely to review costs with nearly one in four doing so at
least once a month.
Sole traders were the least likely to try to make savings, with
33% never taking the time to review costs.
Among the most common excuses given for not reviewing – 27% –
was not having enough time.
Paul Marshall, head of Clydesdale Bank's Gatwick Business and
Private Banking Centre, said: "By identifying the biggest costs
within your business and planning to reduce these, owners will be
giving their company the best chance to remain competitive in a
The research found the top five business expenses (excluding
staffing) were materials and supplies, rent and rates, fuel,
technical support and utilities.
Of those questioned, 18% said these combined made up more than
50% of their businesses's annual expenditure.
Mr Marshall's tips include:
- Materials and supplies: Never be afraid to ask for a discount,
identify alternative suppliers and investigate bulk buying.
- Rent and rates: Explore whether your place of business still
best suits your needs. Rent levels can be negotiated with new
landlords looking to maximise occupancy and a new property may
offer lower prices.
- Fuel: Large buyers should fix costs in advance. The risk with
fuel hedging is the possibility fuel prices could drop. Cut out
unnecessary journeys and make use of technologies to remove the
need to travel.
- IT software or technical support: Cloud technology is advancing
quickly. Buy second-hand, reconditioned computers.
- Utilities: The Carbon Trust estimates there is a 50% difference
between the highest and lowest energy tariffs. Use price comparison
websites such as uswitchforbusiness.com,
comparethemarket.com and energyhelpline.com.
Company chiefs in the county say "wholesale review" of business rates would be welcomed but admit they do not know what the alternative is.
Eight companies have pledged to hire over 50 apprentices as part of the Kick Start Kent campaign, being run by the KM Group.
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