- Are lights always on in your business?
- How long are the lights on? 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.?
- Is the heat always on during the winter?
- Is the air conditioner always on during the summer?
- Are you doing anything now to eliminate the need for a heater or AC unit?
- What type of atmosphere makes your employees most comfortable?
- Are there options you can provide your employees when you’re moving forward?
- Are the lights turned off at the end of the day?
- Do you have backup security lights?
The questions, of course, are just a first step. Making substantive changes to a small business’ fixed costs requires a long, hard analytical look at the specifics of various bills and productivity patterns. In the meantime, however, making even a few of the following changes can potentially positively impact the bottom line.
Small Business Checklist: Small Business Cost-cutting Ideas
- Go paperless whenever possible. Email memos rather than printing them.
- If you need to print, print on two sides of the paper
- Use recycled paper. Recycle the paper you use.
- Avoid color printing when possible.
- Conserve ink by printing in draft mode when possible.
- Store documents, manuals and other policies online rather than printing.
- Reduce margins on documents so your printer uses less paper.
- Unplug equipment when not in use.
- Recycle your e-waste: mobile phones, computers, printers and other equipment can often be recycled.
- Give your computer a nap: set computers to go to sleep when not in use. Creating short energy breaks can cut energy use by up to 70 percent.
- Buy smaller monitors: You can reduce your monitor’s consumption by up to 30% by using a 2-inch smaller monitor.
- Consider laptops: laptops generally use less energy and are more efficiently made.
Electricity and Lighting
Small changes in lighting and fixtures can make a huge difference in small business energy costs.
- Switch to compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. CFLs cost about 75 percent less to operate, and last about 10 times longer than incandescents.
- Create an after-hours and weekend thermostat setting: If you know employees aren’t going to be in the office, create a setting that conserves more energy during these hours.
- Turn off lights: Ask employees to turn off lights when they leave. Invest in automatic switches in places like the bathroom and supply areas so that they turn on and off whenever someone enters or leaves the room.
- Take advantage of natural lighting: Install windows and skylights so that you can use natural daytime light instead of electrical lighting. Adjust lighting to your actual needs; use free "daylight" during the day.
- Buy ENERGY STAR fixtures: Fixtures with the ENERGY STAR label use at least two-thirds less energy than regular ones.