No matter how large or small, 2013 is set to be a year in which all businesses need to make sure that they are as cost efficient as possible.As the uncertain global economic situation continues, there are several ways to cut costs and increase efficiency. From the first weeks of the year, you will see real savings accumulate over the next twelve months. Here are a few suggestions to get the ball rolling:1. Adopt flexible working practicesBy cutting the need to travel, instant savings can be made; not least by cutting expenditure on rising fuel costs. Moving to conference calls rather than face to face meetings saves time and money without compromising efficiency.Flexible working can help you to manage your workforce more efficiently, reduce costs and improve morale. With innovative use of remote office applications, workers can work flexibly in terms of hours and location, meaning savings across the business.2. Consolidate to control costsIf you’re going to shift operations to telecoms and IT, then it is imperative that you can be confident that you are doing so efficiently. 62 per cent of UK businesses have more than four suppliers for telecoms and IT alone. By switching to a unified communications package you can integrate applications on a single platform or device which results in real savings.3. Make Sure Your Business is Energy EfficientAccording to the Confederation of British Industry, businesses in the UK waste on average 10-20 per cent of the energy they buy. That translates to a great deal of money wasted and a comprehensive review of the ways in which your company uses energy can result in great savings.Reducing the heating by a single degree can save 10 per cent of the annual heating budget. Consider Start by addressing out of hours consumption; this is where businesses waste thousands.Simple things like turning computers and monitors off, ensuring that water consumption is kept within reason or reducing printing waste can save fortunes. Consider getting vehicle tracking devices on your company cars (here you can find fleet management on Expert Market, a B2B website).4. Sub-let SpaceMany offices operate within their physical means and leave space lying empty. Identify whether you are maximising the potential of your business suite. By sub-letting that space wisely, you can not only generate vital revenue rather than paying for space you’re not utilising, but also build your business network. This is done by ensuring that a potential client or contractor sets up their office on your territory. The potential benefits are huge if you can snare the right tenant.5. Review The Company Postage SpendThere is huge waste on postage. A shift to second from first class can mean at best 24 hours difference in delivery times, but very often makes no difference. Many companies send everything by second class, and watch how much that can save.Even more cost effective is the leasing a franking machine, in spite of lease costs. Apart from removing the need to buy stamps, each frank also carries a 1p saving. This adds up to an average saving of 5 per cent, with many machines also providing free credit.6. Content MarketingSimply “advertising” your business is not enough in the competitive online market. Harnessing inbound marketing techniques will help you to attract the greatest number of people interested in your products and services.It is far more cost effective and therefore profitable to find a targeted group of consumers or businesses, rather than scatter gun the entire market. Rewrite your website to exactly what it is you’re selling and the type of customers you want to attract. In doing so, ensure that you meet higher SEO and page rank standards.7. Harness Human ResourcesIncreased productivity and job satisfaction will always result in raise profits and this will come from ensuring your existing workforce is efficient and motivated. Frequently, the best money-saving initiatives and cost-saving improvements come from a skilled team of efficient workers.The key is to instill a sense of ownership in the enterprise and keep workplace motivation high. By encouraging the cross-training of employees across the business workloads in different departments can be more effectively managed, in-house skill sets built and proliferated, and training costs that come with new hires and temps reduced or eradicated.8. Switch to Open Source SoftwareOpen-source software costs a fraction of the price of most of the major commercial products while still offering all, if not more, of the features. Adoption of open source solutions can drive down your IT budget but doesn’t need to mean that you are sacrificing functionality in the name of saving money.Aside from the attraction of saving money the open source option provides benefits in terms of security, the lack of vendor ‘lock in’ and, arguably, better quality.These are just 8 ideas to get you started but throughout every business a simple review of working methods, allied with a bit of creative thinking, can transform your working methods and make a more efficient business far more profitable.