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In the hectic day to day running of a small business it can be easy to let costs and expenses get away from you.

Getting them under control often requires some dedicated effort. Taking the time to put some innovative cost cutting measures into place can change the way you do business and keep expenses down.


While it was once the pride of any small business owner to have a fleet of company vehicles complete with branding it is now recognised as being somewhat inefficient. But what is the solution for companies that need vehicles but don’t want to pay to have them sit idle half the day?

A number of vehicle sharing schemes are now cropping up in cities around Europe. Traffic density, fuel prices, tax and insurance costs all mean that company vehicles in Europe can become a big expense. Fortunately this also means that vehicle sharing services are becoming more and more financially viable.

Rather than buy a vehicle outright you can pay to use a vehicle only when you need it. This is great for smaller businesses just starting out that need a vehicle but only part of the time.


Travel costs and related expenses can be hard to keep under control. You need staff to be in different locations for your business to operate effectively but this makes oversight of expenses difficult.

Prepaid cards can be an effective solution. By providing employees with a fixed budget they are more likely to consider the necessity of expenses. Most Prepaid expense cards will allow accounts to be topped up and monitored online.

This enables employers to monitor expenses and verify their necessity as well as top up the card should unexpected expenses occur.


While car sharing programs are organised businesses, many companies create their own ad-hoc sharing agreements. This might be purely in terms of resources such as joining together to buy stationary in bulk to get discounts they would not get alone.

It could also extend to sharing IT resources by using a single server or network for a number of different companies to spread the cost of purchase and maintenance.

Beyond Material resource sharing human resources can more easily be pooled. Crowdsourcing and Freelancing websites allow for many office tasks to be carried out on a pay as you go basis. Whole departments can be outsourced relatively easily in this way.

For many smaller businesses it does not make sense to take on certain specialised staff for a full time position. These services allow small businesses to avail of that expertise without having to pay for more than they need. It means small businesses can grow more efficiently, taking on additional services as needed rather than in a staggered way, having to choose one service over another.

Make a Deal

Any small business owner knows how imperative it is to be competitive yet often the expectations we have of ourselves are not transferred onto others. Sometimes it seems like the easiest thing to do is to take the deal that is on the table rather than to shop around and look for a better price.

Often it is a case of weighing up the cost of time spent searching for a better deal against that of the potential savings gained from a better price. There is always a chance that you take time to shop around and don’t find a better deal but finding a lower price, particularly for recurring expenses can potentially save an enormous amount in the long run.

Energy bills are one area that typically have a lot of fat to cut. Beyond simply looking for the cheapest provider, look for an energy company that has a plan that suits your business type the best. Some plans may provide better value when you have made your own efficiencies to energy consumption. There are simple actions that can be put in place like improved insulation as well as more elaborate energy saving practices like purchasing energy efficient office equipment.


Energy efficient office equipment can be made more efficient with the use of cloud technology. Not only do cloud services save on the expense of purchasing, running and maintaining servers and other IT equipment they also save on processing power.

Because applications are run on a remote server and not a local computer this means businesses can use more efficient, less expensive computers to work on. Computers need only to be able to run basic web browsing software to be able to use cloud based software. Over the long term this can have substantial savings in energy on top of the other savings they provide.

Services such as Big Red Cloud’s accounting software not only make it easier to access your data and share it with co-workers and accountants but also save on ongoing running costs of computers, servers and potentially office space by allowing employees to work from home.


Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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