Four ways small businesses can control costs and do business better

Category : Better business

Do you run a small business? Protect your bottom line with the help of SSE Business Energy and our fixed price electricity and gas.

Dealing with the numerous demands of keeping a small business going from month to month, you may just pay your bills and accept rising prices. But taking a few minutes to fix energy prices is one simple way to help manage cash flow and save time in the long term.

Keep control of costs and cash flow

Running out of cash is a big issue for small businesses and can be fatal. In the UK, only 43.2% of businesses started in 2012 were still active in 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics. Most industries are cyclical but to help smooth out ups and downs you can fix the price you pay for some things, like utilities.

Our SSE Protect contract provides price certainty for the duration of your contract, so you can budget with confidence. We forecast future price increases to give you price stability, reduced risk and peace of mind. Contracts are available for up to 48 months.

As well as the electricity or gas unit charges, we’ll guarantee a fixed level of existing non-commodity charges. This covers costs that third parties will set, like National Grid charges, transporting electricity through the different networks, and the impact on costs from government schemes and taxes.1

Time is money

Your time and employees’ time is valuable. Spending a few hours organising finances now can save many hours – and a lot of stress – later. Getting into the habit of good record-keeping also makes it simple to file accounts and tax returns on time, to avoid penalties and stress.

As a small business, you probably don’t employ a dedicated purchasing or energy manager. You can free up time to focus solely on your core business, with the comfort of knowing your energy contract price is secure, through a fixed contract like SSE Protect. This removes the need to manage mid-contract price increases.

SSE Protect includes a discount for paying by direct debit, so you can get a good price and not have to deal with payment whenever you receive a bill. You can also take advantage of a budget direct debit option allowing you to pay a fixed amount every time, so you can keep total control of your budget. Rates are based on direct debit payment – if you’d prefer to pay another way, you can ask us for an alternative quote.

And if you install automatic meter reading (AMR) or smart (SMETS2 – available at the end of 2019) meters, you’ll receive accurate bills with no need to take manual meter readings and give them to us.2

Spending and saving

Not entirely sure where all the money goes? Plan time once every week or month to review your budget. Track necessary and non-essential spending, to see what outgoings are really costing you and where you could cut back.

Energy efficiency is one area where you may not realise your business is wasting money. The first step is to review current consumption and working practices. Our energy efficiency resources include a walk-round checklist to help you get started, and tips on what you can do to reduce usage.

All our contracts, including SSE Protect, come with free access to Clarity, your online energy management platform. This can turn data from AMR or smart meters into reports, allowing you to see your energy usage and work out where you could reduce consumption and potentially save money.

Low and no-cost actions can usually reduce energy costs by at least 10%, according to the Carbon Trust.

Go green and get ahead

How does your business measure up against the triple bottom line: profit, planet and people? Environmental and social issues are increasingly important to customers and neglecting these can impact sales.

More than a quarter of those who responded to Ethical Consumer’s 2018 YouGov survey stated that they had avoided buying a product or using a service due to its negative environmental impact in the past year – an increase of 65% since 2016.

Taking up SSE Protect’s renewable electricity and/or gas option, SSE Green, is one way to boost your business’s sustainability credentials. Showing customers your eco-friendly commitment is easy as we’ll give you a certificate and logo, proving the energy your business uses is matched to renewable sources.

And if you have electric vehicles to keep on the road, SSE Protect enables you to run them on green electricity at a fixed price, bypassing fuel price fluctuation. Federation of Small Businesses members frequently cite fuel as a source of cost pressure, and almost a third of firms reported an increase in fuel costs in May 2019.

Want more information?

You can find out more about our contracts including SSE Protect at ssebusinessenergy.co.uk/energy-contracts/sme-business-gas-electricity.

Our dedicated customer service advisers are here to help, whether you’re looking for an electricity or gas supply quote or finding it hard to stay on top of bill payments. You can get in touch via our Contact us page.

 

1Please note; while we do everything we can to avoid any extra costs or changes occurring, and existing non-commodity charges are protected from price changes, factors outside our control, such as a new element or tax coming into place, can happen and we reserve the right to pass that cost on to you.

2We rely on wireless communications technologies to receive your readings. If this should fail for any reason, you may receive an estimated bill or we may recommend alternative communication methods.

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Rob Silvester

Strategic Marketing Manager

Rob Silvester is Strategic Marketing Manager at SSE Business Energy, leading on product development through to brand and channel management of our new and existing partners. Prior to running the marketing function, Rob worked for SSE Business Energy though a range of Key Account Management roles, learning first hand customer drivers and needs of an energy supplier. Rob achieved his Business Management degree sponsored by SSE Business Energy and has put the theory into practice as the business has evolved over time, carving out a unique patch.
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