When choosing service providers to supply your business there can be a multitude of options, confusing terminology and commission hungry sales people which make it hard to determine who is the best fit to supply your business.

The cheapest cost might not always be the best option but choosing incorrectly can cost you thousands of pounds a year and drastically reduce your annual profit margin

Association Of Small Businesses is a group of small business owners which come together to leverage the best deals on all business essentials. By acting as a group, we are able to access where possible large discounts not available to stand alone businesses, as our numbers grow so does our buying power and we can reduce an array of costly common business problems.

We employ a team of negotiators and researchers to carry out due diligence and market research on our members behalf and constantly monitor the market to keep up to date with any changes or pricing that is beneficial to members. Members are also encouraged to flag up any deals that they come across which may benefit the rest of the community

There are plenty of vultures out there trying to pick the profits off the bones of small businesses. Collectively these bad choices can easily mount up to over £5000 per year and in some cases much more- no small figure. In today’s tough business environment this can mean make or break for some unfortunate small businesses and so it is vital to overcome these costly common business problems.

We have compiled a list of the top five costly decisions which can be easily avoided and how ASB members can avoid falling into these expensive common business problems.


1 Energy


Every business needs the power to run computers, cooking equipment, fridges, lighting, heating and with OFGEM predicting the cost of energy to dramatically rise over the next 7 years this will be one of the most common business problems for anyone with a business premises.

Small businesses can range in annual costs from less than £1000 per year for a small office right up to £20,000 per year for restaurants and busy takeaways. And in some cases, this can be reduced by almost half if the correct choices are made at the beginning or when negotiating new contracts.

The first factor to consider is the energy efficiency of the building and the items which draw power within it. If you choose to move into an old poorly heated property with fluorescent lighting and old style heating systems such as electric storage or gas boilers aged 15 years or more your energy costs could be more than double than if you moved into a newer building with LED lights and modern efficient central heating.

Every commercial property should have a commercial EPC or energy performance certificate. This should be consulted before you agree to take on a property because it will give you an idea of what your bills could potentially be per month. Another way to check is to find out how many Kilowats the previous tenant was using per year and factor in any additional equipment which you will be running.

The second major factor affecting your annual cost will be the contract you agree from the supplier. With huge variances in terms and deals plus confusing terminology making pricing unclear, there can be very expensive pitfalls even for an experienced entrepreneur and this is one of the most common business problems that we see on a daily basis.

ASB members have access to a free energy consultation service from Blue Harbour Energy who will consult with you prior to accepting any deals, offer pricing forecasts and advice on reducing your usage. Finally, they will be able to provide quotes from every supplier which are clearly presented to show you comparative costs and allow you to ensure you receive the cheapest contract prices.


2 Water


As with energy, every business premises in the UK has to pay commercial water rates, this includes drainage and waste water maintenance as well as the supply into the business.

You are eligible for this even if you do not have a water supply in your business premises.

Since water became deregulated in 2008 for Scotland and in 2017 for England and Wales there has been a huge increase in competition with new providers competing to supply businesses. This has resulted in massive savings being available for business owners who shop around.

Unlike with energy, water prices are expected to remain stable for the next few years (source OFWAT- the water regulator) this means that the best practice for a business to ensure they are always paying the lowest tariff is to only take 12 month contracts and shop around annually.

ASB Members can benefit from this service being provided free of charge.

With water rates varying from as low as a couple of hundred pounds per year up to several thousand and the potential savings being as high as 40% this can equate to as much as £2000 per year added to your yearly profits.


3 Card Payment Terminals


In the digital age, we have seen a massive shift towards cashless payments across all sectors from window cleaning companies, trades and of course the retail and food sector. It is estimated that over 60% of all transactions are now done by card and with the likes of Martin Lewis recommending to the public that they always use cards to make a transaction this is expected to increase further.

Offering a card payment option benefits both the seller and customer. For the seller, there is no longer the issuer of having to wait for cash or losing out on a sale when the customer does not have cash. For the customer, there is an additional level of security when making larger purchases in the form of insurances available from the card provider.

With the payment processing industry becoming deregulated recently there has been a new wave of much more affordable options coming onto the market which is shaking up the established giants such as Barclays and Worldpay. With the increase of options there also comes increased confusion and more common business problems arising.

Which provider is the best fit for your business requires an impartial assessment of your needs with a variety of factors being taken into account such as transaction speeds, turnover and rates. There are also a number of hidden fee’s that need to be factored which vary from provider to provider.

ASB members can have a comparison drawn up free of charge which will show in clear terms how much the total spend will be each year and which provider will be the best fit.

With savings of up to 40% available on card processing fees, choosing the correct provider can be worth around £1000 per year on average.


4 Business Waste Disposal


Every business in the UK produces waste. What most businesses are not aware of is the variety of choice available when selecting a provider to handle on your behalf. With costs of up to £1000 per month for small businesses that handle a large quantity of waste and the potential to reduce that cost by up to half, the ASB can offer free advice on how to reduce your waste output and also offer impartial advice on which provider may be the best fit for your business. After all, no business wants to fall into the pitfalls of costly common business problems.


5 Not Maximising Tax Breaks


As the saying goes only 2 things in life are certain – death and taxes!

What is not as clear cut, however, is the amount of tax liability that you are obligated to pay as a small business owner. There is a multitude of tax breaks and legal tax relief benefits which are available to the small business owner which are often overlooked.

The ASB can provide a free consultation to ensure that you are making the most of these benefits, you would be surprised at how many there are and how simple they are to implement.

We have seen several thousand pounds wiped off tax bills every year that otherwise would have been paid unnecessarily to HMRC

An initial assessment of eligibility can be as quick as a 5 minute phone call, this is completely free for members


Join ASB to Overcome Costly Common Business Problems


These are just some of the ways that businesses in the UK can fall foul of overpaying on expenses and run into costly common business problems.

With the cost of running a business being one of the top 3 reasons cited for business failure, we have made it our aim to share this information to help other small businesses from falling into the same traps. As you can see, some of these decisions could take only a few minutes and ultimately cost you thousands of pounds, and they are just the tip of the iceberg for the unsuspecting entrepreneurs. If you are interested in protecting yourself and joining a business community run by small business owners for small business owners that believe in the ethos stronger together then apply for free here.

The ASB is an impartial, non-profit making organisation run for the benefit of our members.

We are completely free to join and open to any quality small business.

We are a member led organisation with no complicated hierarchy and all members have voting rights.

Our Directors and chairmen work voluntarily, are small business owners themselves and receive no wage from the association.