Starting and running a small business has always been tough, but with today’s financial climate, it can seem almost impossible to turn a consistent profit. Many small businesses are looking for ways to reduce costs and curtail expenses without reducing the quality of their products and services or their potential for growth. Below are some tips for doing just that.

 

Hop on the Eco-Friendly Train

Go paperless. While the cost of each envelope and stamp seems minimal, that cost adds up quickly over time, especially when you consider the volume of mail a small business requires. Additionally, paperless communication and bill-pay also means electronic storage. That means you save money and space on filing systems.

Reduce energy use. Although it seems small, the impact of reduced energy use on your expenditures can be huge. Just think about all of the energy that it takes to power a small business: computers and other electronic equipment, lights, heating and cooling. Being mindful of how much energy you are using and where you can cut back could save you big in the long run.

 

Don’t Pay More than You Have To

Utilize online marketing. Traditional marketing techniques can eat up a lot of money before they make the impact you want them to. Switching to online marketing can help you reach more people, reach them faster, and reach them for less. Social media is an especially powerful tool. It’s completely free and completely customizable to suit your message.

Buy secondhand. For most people, secondhand brings to mind memories of being forced into your older sibling’s baggy old t-shirt or stuffing grandma’s slightly moldy old couch into your first dingy apartment. For small business owners, secondhand can be an effective way of getting what you need for less. Gently used furniture and refurbished equipment often look and function like new but cost a fraction of the retail price.

Curb your travel expenses. Travel is expensive. The flights, the rental cars, the hotels, and the food all add up quickly. Consider cutting any business trips that do not generate revenue, and stick to cheaper flights and accommodations for necessary excursions.

Shop around for insurance. With the flood of insurance companies begging you to switch and save, this may seem like a no-brainer. But many people are still overpaying or carrying a policy that is not tailored to their needs. Consider contacting an independent insurance agent who can compare different companies’ policies and help determine which is right for your business.

Always ask about small business discounts. Many stores offer discounts to small business owners, even if they don’t advertise them. Asking before you purchase could save you a lot of money. You might even end up only paying wholesale.

Check for free business banking. Ask around at local banks to see if anyone offers free business banking. The quality may not be as high, but as long as the service is usable, it will be well worth the money you save.

 

-consider a coworking space rather than renting your own office

 

Manage Your Manpower

Reduce turnover. High turnover can lead to extremely high costs, and none of that money is being used to advance or grow your business. Keeping your employees challenged will help them to feel needed within the company and satisfied with their jobs. Providing employees with a high level of training equips them to better fulfill their role within the company and meet a variety of customer needs. While training may seem like an additional cost, it does help your business function more profitably and prevents your employees from feeling overwhelmed or frustrated.

Hire freelancers. The cost of hiring, training, and maintaining a full-time employee is huge. For jobs that are seasonal or that do not generate a full-time amount of work, it is worthwhile to consider hiring freelance workers. You can hire them for the amount of work and the amount of time you need them, without having to keep them around when you don’t.

Get an intern. A lot of college students and new grads are looking for experience to get their foot in the door. An internship gives them this experience. For you, an internship means cheap or free labor, and an extra hand to help with all of those tasks you just can’t seem to get to.

 

Only Buy What You Need

Ditch your landline. Between cell phones and free electronic calling options, you can take care of all of your communication needs. Landlines become a redundant, and unnecessary expense. Get rid of yours to save yourself and your business the money.

Cut back on software. Software and apps are expensive, and buying a lot of them adds up. Evaluate what software you use, what software you need, and what software you can get rid of. You can also consider using open source alternatives to more popular name brand software. They don’t have the built-in customer support, but they are free and usually come with an online community of users that can help with any questions you may have.

Don’t buy in bulk. Although buying in bulk seems like a money-saving idea, it can actually cost you more in the long run. The price of each item is undoubtedly lower, but ask yourself if you will actually use each item in a 1,000-item purchase. Those pens might be cheap, but if you only have a few workers, most of them will probably have dried out before you get to them. Only buy what you actually need, when you actually need it.

Consider bartering. Bartering gives you the option of getting what you need without having to pay for it. By trading goods and services with another company, you can reduce cash expenditures without reducing the quality of your business.

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