Time to downsize? Do it the right way.

It’s not been a fun few months for most businesses by any stretch of the imagination. We are in a third lockdown and a decline in business and consumer confidence have caused financial losses for many businesses. This downturn has forced companies of all shapes and sizes to reconsider their objectives and potentially scale down.

However, it is important to remember what goes down must eventually come up. When things do recover, it is important to make sure your business is leaner and meaner to greet increased trade, confidence, clients and customers. A post-vaccine world is just around the corner. Therefore, here is our advice for downsizing effectively to become that bit sharper during tough times. 

Don’t hoard inventory. A productive business needs all the necessary equipment and technology to stay ahead of the game and deliver results for clients, especially if it’s a specialist or technical business. Equipment, office resources and IT is certainly costly. Ploughing profits into resources can bean investment, allowing your business to work quicker and more efficiently.  

However, at a time in which consumer and business confidence is uncertain, to say the least, this choice of investment may not be the safest bet. In a time of uncertainty, it is important to keep as much of your assets in ‘liquid form’ as possible. This way, you’re not held down by anything if you need to downsize. These resources can be hard to shift, meaning that the burden of downsizing may be placed on your staff instead. By joining a co-working space like ours, where resources are shared between members and available at your disposal as part of your membership, this problem is eliminated. Your business can retain the important resources and equipment that allows it to work at its best, whilst more of your money is freed up and put into your control.  

Make the most of outsourcing. Even if you’ve freed up funds by losing inventory and office resources, you may find your hands tied and left with the unfortunate job of having to lay off hard-working employees. In the unfortunate event of this, it goes without saying that redundancy should be handled with dignity and financial fairness. However, there are a further two key mistakes that businesses make when downsizing their staff.

Make sure that you do not ditch important functions of your business. Areas such as marketing, social media and sales become easy targets when businesses downsize, however, these crucial functions are by no means disposable during tough times. In fact, keeping these functions alive and dynamic will be keen to maintaining a strong presence during any lockdowns and will boost your business in a recession. Secondly, make sure you do not push the workload of laid-off staff onto your existing workforce. Doing such will only burden everyone, making an entire business less productive. 

Therefore, outsourcing to freelancers is the best way to keep these functions of your business alive and kicking, even if you have had to lay off staff. Often, freelancers offer cheaper rates and increased flexibility when compare to full-time, in-house staff. They are, therefore, a perfect solution during tough times. Within a co-working community like ours, we host businesses and freelancers alike, making the search for freelancers that bit easier. Don’t bother sifting through pages of CVs or LinkedIn, just step out to the coffee machine or the hot desks and chances are, you’ll find someone with the skills and expertise you need.

Ditch the office, join a co-working space. The office. In most downsizing situations, the office space that you occupy will be your biggest expense. Rent is an ongoing, fixed cost that will bog down your business in tougher times. It is by no means a necessity. An expensive, private, multi-floor office space belongs far more in the noughties than it does in a post-coronavirus world. You’ll soon find that your trimmed down business with less capital, a smaller in-house team and more freelancers is far better suited to a co-working space than a private office.

 Therefore, join a co-working community like ours, here at AW, to kiss goodbye to large rents. For a far more competitively priced membership fee, you have access to all the office equipment you need, the chance to meet freelancers and small businesses alike and improved flexibility for a potentially changing roster of employees. We try our hardest at AW to maintain the private and focused vibe of a traditional office, making a downsize feel nothing like a downgrade of any sort. Instead, joining AW makes you that bit leaner and more competitive as we emerge from tough times and face up to a post-vaccine world.