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5 strategies to help you recession-proof your business

11 Nov 2022

The UK could face recession until the middle of next year, according to some economists’ predictions. To help support our SME community, we’ve pulled together 5 strategies that can help business owners like you to save money.

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The economy grows in times of economic stability, and people become slightly better off as GDP increases. A recession is when GDP falls over two successive three-month periods, and it is indicative of an economy that is performing badly. 

According to the new EY ITEM Club Autumn Forecast, high energy prices, inflation and interest rates, all set against the backdrop of global economic frailty, are making it more likely that the UK will experience a recession lasting into 2024. 

As a business owner, you might be thinking about how you can improve – or protect – your company’s cash flow. Here are five strategies to consider in the months ahead. 

1. Rent equipment 

You might need to buy new equipment if you’re starting out, growing your business, or if an existing piece of equipment has broken down. But equipment can be a huge expense when purchased outright.  

To help ease the burden on your cash flow, making periodical payments through equipment leasing could be a useful alternative. 

An equipment lease is an agreement that lets you rent equipment for a fee. At the end of the agreement, and depending on the type of equipment leasing you opt for, you can keep leasing the equipment, upgrade it or return it to the leasing company.

All sorts of things are available to lease, from catering and gym equipment to computers and vehicles. The odds are, if you need it for your business, there’s a leasing option!

It’s important to remember that while renting equipment can be beneficial from a short-term cash flow perspective, it costs you more in the long term. 

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2. Audit your technology

Is there potential for you to cut technology costs?

Swapping out a third-party software solution with one built in-house could be cheaper, however it will require software development expertise. There are also lots of free or open source software options out there that are free for small teams. 

3. Consider your recruitment strategy

Hiring an apprentice can be a cost-effective and rewarding way to grow your workforce. The government can help you cover the costs of hiring one; the amount you’d be eligible for depends on whether or not your pay bill is over £3 million a year. 

The government’s Apprenticeships website contains lots of useful information for both employers and apprentices. Hiring apprentices can be hugely beneficial from a growth and talent perspective, and here are the stats to prove it:

  • 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation

  • 78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity

  • 74% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service

Source: Apprenticeships.gov.uk

Some people associate apprentices with school leavers, but they can also be higher education graduates, workers who want to upskill, or those in search of a career change. You can even use an apprenticeship scheme to upskill an existing employee.

4. Embrace sustainability

As a business owner, you’ll already know about your obligations when it comes to getting rid of commercial waste, including doing what you can to prevent, reuse, recycle or recover waste. Recycling can be beneficial from a planet and cost perspective. 

Did you know, for example, that you can get tax credits if you send waste from landfill to be recycled, incinerated or reused? 

You’ll also save on waste disposal gate fees, and potentially waste collection costs, as the rubbish left over might not require a high capacity waste removal service.

Recycling can also work wonders for your brand image and marketing, making you a more appealing proposition to potential new hires and customers. 

Recycling is just one way to become more sustainable; there are more ways for a business to reduce its carbon emissions, save costs and future-proof your business. 

Others include:

  • Using energy-efficient technology

  • Making eco-friendly supply chain decisions

  • Cutting down on travel by opting for remote alternatives 

  • Sourcing locally produced and/or recycled equipment

  • Reusing items such as envelopes

At Funding Options, we’re helping to fund a net zero future. If you're looking to start a green business or fund a green business venture, or if you’d like to join our growing panel of green lenders, check out our green finance page.

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5. Be part of a community

Buddying up with other businesses in your community can provide you with a valuable source of inspiration and support in challenging times. Speak with the other business owners and organisations on your high street, and ask yourself:

  • Could we run joint promotions? 

  • Is there an opportunity for another group to use my space?

  • How can we promote each other on social media?

If you run an office-based business, coworking spaces are great places to network and meet other business owners. They’re also a great option if you want to rent an office but can’t commit financially to an office lease. You might  even be able to sign up on a monthly rolling basis and only give a month's notice if it doesn’t work out!

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