Nine ways a small business can cut overheads and boost profit

  • 12 May 2017

Overheads like heating, lighting and water have a HUGE impact on a small business’s profitability.

And with the price of electricity, water and raw materials in Scotland expected to rise over the coming years, small businesses are already bracing for a hit.

So here are nine practical ways that a small business can hold on to its hard earned profits by reducing energy and resource use.  

Install energy efficient bulbs (seriously, it could save you thousands)

Do you know how much just changing your light bulbs to LEDs could save?  Edinburgh based engineering company Pentland Precision Engineering found out – cutting £3,000 from its energy bills just by upgrading the lighting in its office, workshop and factory. 


Every business big and small, from manufactures to retailers to offices, can save money by upgrading to LED lighting. Typically upgrading to LEDs can save 75% on lighting bills, and could be the simplest thing you do this year to pocket some extra profit. 

Be smart with your heating/cooling

When heating and cooling controls are not set correctly, they can start to fight against each other in a cycle of wasted energy and upwardly rising bills. Save your business some money by setting a wide ‘dead band’ where neither the heating nor cooling system is turned on. Set your heating to turn off above 21°C and cooling to turn off below 24°C (a dead band of 3°C) and see how much you can save. 

For more building management hacks that can save you money, download the free guides from Resource Efficient Scotland. 

Go for big savings when buying energy efficient equipment 

High efficiency equipment can bring big long term savings. Harris Community Shop on the Isle of Harris saved £3,750 with high-efficiency refrigerated display cabinets. The West Highland Hotel saved nearly £20,000 a year by installing a biomass fuel boiler. And Webhelp UK saved £25,000 per year by installing a range of energy management equipment. 


There are a number of grants and loans available from the Scottish Government to help small businesses enjoy these investments. Find out more about how to apply while the funding is available.  

Look for savings unique to your business

Do you blitz the printer paper? Are you overfilling the kettle? Is your server room being cooled with strategically placed desk fans? Identify and cut out your business’s bad habits to make targeted savings. 

Fill in Resource Efficient Scotland’s online Savings Finder questionnaire to see what cost savings that you could make in your organisation.

Cut your waste, make more profit

Reducing waste can really boost your bottom line and all businesses can benefit from reduced waste disposal costs. But if you produce a physical product, whether it is silicon chips or potato chips, improving your processes to reduce waste and optimise output can massively improve profitability. For tips on cutting waste, visit 

Get your staff and customers to save money

Getting staff to take small actions in their daily routines that reduce their energy, water or raw material use can be tricky, but it’s worth it. The Westerwood Hotel and Golf Resort in Scotland identified over £73,000 worth of savings just by working with staff to reduce waste across the business.

Check out the free Resource Efficient Scotland professional communication packs for offices, hotels and shops. They provide businesses eye-catching posters, room thermometers, stickers and other motivational materials deigned to get your employees saving money. 


Elect a Green Champion

You can make quick savings with any of the steps above. But if you want to make long term difference to your profit line then appoint a Green Champion in your business to drive resource efficiency and be responsible for securing savings. 

There are over a thousand Green Champions already helping to boost the profits of their businesses throughout Scotland. Find out how you can join them.

Lower your thermostat by just 1°C

Reducing temperatures by just 1°C could save a whopping 10% on a business’s yearly heating bill. That is a massive saving for such a small change - and your employees and customers probably won’t even notice the difference.


Get the experts in

Big businesses spend thousands on professional management consultants hired to whip their teams into shape and (supposedly) boost profitability. But if you want an immediate boost to profit, getting in a resource efficiency expert could be a more valuable use of time.  

And if you are an SME in Scotland, then this consultancy support is completely free. Businesses that receive free one-to-one technical guidance from Resource Efficient Scotland on average find £16,000 a year. Find out how to apply here.

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