Small Business Owners - Here’s How You Can Cut On Expenses

Small business planning, cost-cutting ideas. #InternetProvidersNearMe
By: Sashe-Leigh Padiachy and Ursula Dietrichsen

Small businesses in South Africa are facing a number of challenges in the current economic conditions. Inflation is at a cycle high, the rand is depreciating and competition is fierce. As a result, small businesses are struggling to stay afloat.

In this article, we'll discuss some strategies that you can use to navigate the current economic crisis and drive profitability for your business. We'll cover topics such as cost-cutting and embracing complementary technology tools that can help you drive growth.

We will also delve into some practical strategies tailored for small businesses to reduce costs, without compromising quality of service. These strategies will help you streamline your expenses and optimise your cost structure, so you can position yourself for success.

1. Let your employees work from home

Work-life balance from home. #WiFiForHome #InternetInMyArea

One way to save money and increase your flexibility is to downsize your office and allow remote work. With fast and reliable fixed fibre or wireless internet access, your employees can work from home just as effectively as they would in an office. This can save you money on rent, utilities and other overhead expenses like cleaning, stationary and coffee. It can also expand your talent pool, as you're no longer limited to hiring people who live near your office.

Here are some of the benefits of allowing remote work:

  • Reduced overhead costs: You can save money on rent, utilities, cleaning and security by downsizing your office.
  • Expanded talent pool: You can hire the best people for the job, regardless of where they live.
  • Improved work-life balance: Employees can save time and money on transportation and they can avoid the stress of commuting.
  • Increased productivity: Studies have shown that remote workers are often more productive than in-office workers.

If you're considering allowing remote work, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure your employees have access to fast and reliable internet access.
  • Provide them with the tools and resources they need to be successful.
  • Set clear expectations and communicate regularly.

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By following these tips, you can create a thriving remote work environment that benefits your employees and your business.

2. Embrace technology

Strategic meeting via video conference. #WirelessInternet #WiFiProviders

Technology can be a small business owner's best friend. By embracing technology, you can reach a wider audience, increase efficiency and grow revenue.

Here are a few ways that technology can help your small business:

  • Cloud-based software: Cloud-based software allows you to access your data and applications from anywhere, which can be especially helpful if you have employees who work remotely. Cloud services also reduce costs and complications associated with your own servers and backups of your data.
  • Video conferencing: Video conferencing allows you to meet with clients and colleagues face-to-face, even if they're located in different parts of the world. This can save you time and money on travel expenses.
  • Collaboration tools: Collaboration tools allow you to work with team members on projects in real-time. This can help you get things done faster and more efficiently.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software: CRM software can help you track your customer interactions and stay organised. This can help you improve your customer service and increase sales.

By embracing technology, you can improve the efficiency and profitability of your business.

3. Leverage social media and digital marketing

Crafting digital marketing plan on laptop. #BestInternetProvider

Traditional advertising can be expensive and time-consuming for small businesses. But digital marketing can help you reach your target audience more effectively and affordably.

Here are a few ways that you can use digital marketing to promote your business:

  • Social media: Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and the latest Threads App are great ways to connect with potential customers and build relationships with them. You can share your content, run contests and promotions and engage with your audience.
  • Email marketing: Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with your customers and promote your products or services. You can send out newsletters, announcements, and special offers to your subscribers.
  • Content marketing: Content marketing is the process of creating and sharing valuable content to attract and retain customers. This could include blog posts, articles, infographics, and videos.
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO): SEO is the process of optimising your website so that it ranks higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). This can help you attract more visitors to your website and generate more leads and sales.

By using these digital marketing strategies, you can reach a wider audience, build relationships with potential customers, and increase sales for your small business.

Here are some additional tips for small businesses that are looking to leverage digital marketing:

  • Create high-quality content: Your content should be informative, engaging, and relevant to your target audience.
  • Be consistent: You need to post regularly on social media and email your subscribers to keep them engaged.
  • Track your results: Use analytics tools to track the results of your digital marketing campaigns so that you can see what's working and what's not.

4. Transition to alternative energy solutions

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Energy costs are a significant expense for many small businesses in South Africa, especially with the recent increase in electricity tariffs and the ongoing challenges of load shedding. While it may seem like an impossible task for small businesses to make the switch to alternative energy solutions, the savings and payback period are much better than for residential systems, as businesses mostly use electricity during the day when the sun can generate your electricity.

Find out how EnergyOn (our sister company) can help you save on your electricity bill

Here are a few ideas:

  • SME Backup and Solar Systems: SME backup and solar systems are a popular choice for small businesses in South Africa, as they can provide backup power during load shedding and other power outages. These systems will save businesses a lot on petrol/diesel generator costs and can be scaled from small home offices to large industrial manufacturing plants.
  • 50kW to 2MW grid-tied solar PV: 50kW to 2MW grid-tied solar PV systems are a good option for businesses that need to generate their own electricity without the additional costs of battery systems. These systems can be used to offset the cost of electricity from Eskom and they can also provide diesel savings during load shedding, if properly installed and integrated with your existing diesel generator(s).
  • Battery Energy Storage Solutions: Battery energy storage solutions can be used to store excess solar energy for use during times of peak demand or during load shedding. This can help businesses to reduce their reliance on Eskom and save money on their electricity bills. Battery technology and costs improved a lot over the last several years and it is entirely feasible for large electricity users to install up to MWh (megawatt hour) sized systems.
  • Diesel Generator Integration: Many businesses already have grid-tied solar systems to save on electricity costs, but these grid-tied solar systems do not work during load shedding, reducing the ROI. By adding solar & generator integration into your existing system, you can still realise savings on Eskom and diesel and increase your system's ROI.
  • Project Financing: Project financing can be used to help businesses finance the cost of installing alternative power solutions. This can make it easier for businesses to make the switch to alternative energy within their monthly cash flow while helping them to save money on their electricity and diesel bills in the long run.

Find out how EnergyOn (our sister company) can help you save on your electricity bill

5. Consider open-source software

Save on software licensing with open-source. #CheapestWiFi #InternetProvider

Embrace open-source software to cut down on software licensing expenses. Many open-source alternatives offer similar functionality to commercial options but at zero cost.

Take WordPress, for instance—a favored pick for building business websites. Its user-friendly interface and extensive developer community make it a go-to for small businesses.

Then there's Linux, a free and powerful operating system trusted by millions worldwide, perfectly suited for small businesses seeking efficiency.

Beyond saving money, open-source software fosters innovation. The community-driven development constantly introduces new features and enhancements, keeping your business ahead of the curve.

Experience the perks of open-source software:

  • Security: Continuous review and updates make open-source software more secure.
  • Customisation: Tailor open-source software to match your business needs and gain a competitive edge.
  • Support: Access a vast network of developers and users for assistance.

Maximise cost savings, fortify your systems' security, and gain a competitive edge - make open-source software your savvy choice.

In addition to the five strategies mentioned above, there are other cost-saving strategies that businesses can consider, such as:

  • Negotiating better deals with suppliers: By negotiating better deals with suppliers, you can save money on the products and services you need to run your business.
  • Reducing waste: By reducing waste, you can save money on materials and disposal costs.
  • Implementing a paperless office: By implementing a paperless office, you can save money on printing and storage costs.


Small businesses are vital to the overall resilience of the South African economy and entrepreneurs are known for their ability to adapt their businesses to succeed during challenging times, quickly. By embracing changes like remote work and transitioning to alternative energy solutions, small businesses can reduce expenses and drive growth, emerging stronger in the end.

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