Budget to Beat the Slowdown

10 simple cost-cutting tips to help you stand tall through the economic slump.

01 Make your staff work for you
Agencies of all sizes can choose not to replace staff who leave, instead drawing on freelance talent to plug gaps as demand dictates. This way, if a recession brings periods of light workloads, you won't be paying people for whom you have no work - and you're less likely to have to make morale-sapping redundancies.

02 Location, location, location
As far as the workspace is concerned, rent, rates, heating and lighting are fixed costs that take no account of profitability. Opting for lower-cost premises outside of city centres is a good option for those who can as, if work tails off, these costs will hurt West End agencies far more than they will those operating from more affordable locations (many of which offer great national transport links).

03 Remote pitching
For tasks that go beyond the office, remote pitching is one means of saving on transport and time. Using Acrobat 9 Pro Extended's Portfolio functionality, you can assemble documents, drawings and rich media - including audio, video, 3D and maps - in a single, compressed PDF portfolio. There is also a selection of slick portfolio templates to choose from.

04 Go audio
Save on travel and time costs by audio or video-conferencing with clients. Specialist conference call training is available to help businesses get the most from teleconferencing. If video conferencing is a preferred option, why not use Mac OS X's iChat? In OS X Leopard it's even possible to use iChat to share Keynote presentation slides remotely.

05 The power switch
Small companies (using less than 25,000kw hours a year) can save up to £2,000 a year by switching supplier. Be sure to double-check your existing contract first, though.

06 Turning veggie
Vegetable oil-based printing inks are generally cheaper than traditional solvent-based inks, as well as being more environmentally friendly. A number of national newspapers to have recently embraced full colour have opted for soy-based inks because of the sharper, brighter finish these deliver.

07 Source open source software
It pays to investigate open source alternatives to paid-for business software. These business technology tools often have almost all of the features of comparable commercial solutions, but at a fraction of the cost. Examples include document management software from the likes of Alfresco and Pentaho's reporting software.

08 Light up
A fifth of most businesses' energy bills account for lighting, but in most offices, with a little effort, at least some of this lighting could remain switched off. Ways of lighting your workplace without flicking a switch include keeping windows, skylights and doors clean; keeping window surrounds clean (thus increasing reflectivity); painting rooms light colours; removing anything that blocks natural light; and using sensors on light switches so they turn on only when light dims beyond a certain point.

09 Feel the heat
Similar measures can be taken to help reduce heating costs, which account for around 40 per cent of the average firm's energy consumption. Fitting individual thermostats to heaters so that warmer areas in the office don't get too hot and checking the thermostat and timer on your heating system to ensure your office is at the optimum temperature at the right time can both save on costs.

10 Bye bye, standby
Design studios are rammed with computers, printers and other electrical devices that, even when in standby mode, are consuming juice. Bye Bye Standby is a device that remotely cuts power to devices that are in standby mode. And it only costs £19.99.