By Shanna Mallon
Every small business understands the challenge of trying to cut costs while also driving new profits. How can you save money without sacrificing the quality you’re marketing to prospects? Where is it wise to penny-pinch?
To help you find creative ways to save some dough — so your company can keep growing and moving forward — here are 10 ideas to consider!
- Try telecommuting. Before the days of the Internet, coming into a brick-and-mortar office was necessary to get work done. Now, thanks to emails, cloud computing and online business software, it’s easier than ever for individuals to work remotely. Telecommuting is not only an asset to personnel, it’s a money-saving strategy for businesses. So, cut some necessary costs associated with personnel — from office equipment to a break room — by letting your workers telecommute.
- Save on software. Open-source software can get you everything from invoicing tools to content management platforms. Rather than spending hundreds of dollars on pricy options, look for free alternatives.
- Buy in bulk. For those office supplies you need to purchase, buy in bulk. This goes for toilet paper for the office bathroom as much as for paper for the printer. As long as you’re going to need a large amount of a particular product, you may as well save some cash by buying large quantities upfront.
- Partner with other businesses. Maybe you give your accountant a discount on marketing services in exchange for a discount on tax prep. Perhaps you provide an hour or two of consulting to a graphic designer who can help with your new brochure. No B2B is an island; make friends with other companies and leverage relationships to save each other dough.
- Comparison shop. You can also cut costs by doing some digging to compare available rates. Just because you’ve always paid a certain amount for your mobile phone plan doesn’t mean there isn’t a cheaper option, for example. Take the time to see where you can get some bargains or discounts.
- Negotiate expenses. Your vendors want to stay in business just like you do, so they may sometimes be willing to negotiate on prices for products or services. If you’ve been a regular or large customer, see if you can get the vendor to lower your rate — it’s worth a try to save on monthly operating costs. This goes for your office rent, too. It doesn’t hurt to see if your landlord will renegotiate.
- Trim the extras. Some extras aren’t worth sacrificing, but others — paid lunches for employees or daily cleaning services at the office, for example — might be worth cutting if it means avoiding laying off employees. Examine your regular costs and see what can go — to make your operations leaner.
- Plan ahead for taxes. There’s nothing like finding out your business owes a large chunk of money come tax time — save yourself the hassle by budgeting ahead of time. Set a strict budget that requires you to put aside a fixed amount of money each month, and make that fund off limits no matter what expenses arise. Then, when it’s time to pay taxes, you won’t panic.
- Be open to the inexperienced. If you’re willing to hire staff members who are smart but new to the field, you can save a bundle in salary. Look for fresh-out-of-school candidates who are well-versed in the latest industry trends and technology — but don’t mind an entry-level salary. These individuals can grow as you do, saving cost in the process.
- Hire interns. What’s great about business interns is they often will work for free (or low pay) to gain experience. Look into students from local schools, studying subjects in your industry, who can handle simple tasks on a part-time basis. You’ll eliminate items from your to-do list without breaking the bank.
Whether you’re struggling to keep your business going or looking for ways to streamline, try the ideas above. By cutting costs and lowering overhead, you can help your business reach its target market and succeed even when times are tough.