Instil a savings culture into business and employees

Encourage employees to get into the habit of saving money.
Encourage employees to get into the habit of saving money.

World Savings Day is on October 31 and entrepreneurs and small business owners will again be reminded of the importance of cutting costs and finding ways to do more with less.

Tips to save money: telecommuting, reduced business travel, flexible working arrangements and negotiating with suppliers is all great advice. While saving a little here and there adds up, I'd like you to focus on one thing - your culture.

A savings culture is not just about saving money. It's also about being frugal with resources and smart about time management.

Healthy habits

Encouraging a culture of savings starts with getting into certain habits, many of which are not money related but have positive financial consequences. Although the jury is still out on this, they say it takes 21 days to form a habit so, for three weeks, leave notes by light switches, reminding people to turn them off, or use pop-ups on PCs, asking if they really need to print that document.

Habits tend to stick when they're rewarded. Think of non-monetary ways to acknowledge savings in your business. Encouraging reduced consumption automatically lowers operating expenses with little effort.

Personal empowerment

Every team member who manages a budget should be given the tools, trust and authority to allocate their budget in a way that saves money while still meeting business objectives. If, for example, the marketing department can save time and money by outsourcing the social media advertising function, empower them to make that decision.

Financial empowerment and a savings mindset should extend into your team's personal lives, too. If you are unable to offer a provident fund or retirement annuity, bring in consultants to educate on the benefits of savings and easy ways to save. You can't expect your team to be smart with your business's money if they don't have the knowledge and tools to be smart with their own.

Time is money

Automate as much as possible - especially mundane tasks your team is probably procrastinating on. Reward them for innovative ways to save time or to do things more efficiently.

There are many unconventional ways to save money, time and resources. Think beyond the obvious and get your teams involved - you might be pleasantly surprised.

Harduth is a vice president at Sage Africa and Middle East

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