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Whether you’re a new small business owner who recently received a round of financing or an experienced entrepreneur who’s had steady success, cost-cutting might not be at the top of your list of items to tackle.
However, saving money should always be a concern, since every dollar you save is one more that can be put toward your bottom line. Here are 10 tips to getting started with saving—and securing the long-term viability of your business.
Do you really need as much office space as you currently own or lease? If some of your employees work from home or would enjoy the opportunity, consider downsizing. If your company is virtual, you might be able to eliminate your office space altogether.
Instead of going for expensive radio, TV spots, or costly billboards, try expanding your social media presence. You probably already have a Facebook and Twitter account set up, so try checking out other sites like Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, and Vine.
Unless you go the paid advertisement or “sponsored post” route, social media marketing is free, so explore it before going with higher-cost initiatives.
It’s okay to outsource repetitive, time-intensive tasks like data entry, payroll, or customer service. Use websites like Freelancer and Upwork to search for professionals who have the resumes you’re looking for. Just make sure to read the reviews so you know you’re getting a qualified individual.
Also, be careful when enlisting the help of workers overseas, as the time difference and language barriers could present a problem.
Send your invoices electronically when it’s an option, and elect to receive them over email or online banking. When possible, convert paper documents and store them on the cloud. Keep in mind that this isn’t just about saving trees—reducing your costs for postage and printer ink is also a nice benefit.
If you have a bank that charges excessive fees for low monthly balances or anything else, look for a better alternative. There are plenty of credit unions and small banks that can meet your needs and save you money at the same time.
Put controls in place, like strict spending limits on business credit cards or a specified “approved item” list when employees go shopping. Those pennies do add up, so make sure you’re tracking all expenses—no matter how small.
Even if you still maintain an office, you can save substantially by offering telecommuting to your employees.
For one thing, you won’t need as much office space, and with fewer employees working and firing up computers and printers, you can save on electricity as well as office supplies.
For items like laptops or printers, shop on sites like eBay or Amazon that generally offer deals much better than box retailers. Don’t be afraid to check out “used” listings or listings that don’t have a box—sometimes they’re essentially brand-new.
And for general supplies like tape, pens, printer paper, document storage, and boxes, sign up for the rewards program at your preferred office supply retailer and take advantage of mail-in rebates.
Hiring interns is a great way to save cash and give back to your community by teaching college students what life is like in the “real world” and at a small business. Interns can be especially beneficial if you find yourself in need of part-time help during a busy season.
To find qualified interns, check out the website InternMatch or reach out to the career services department at a few of the schools and colleges located near you.
The next time you need help for your business, rather than hiring an expensive professional, check out websites like U-Exchange and SwapRight. You simply list what services or expertise you have to offer (social media, web design, accounting) and then detail what you need. Most sites are free to use and let you get what your business requires for a simple investment of time.
Once you start seeing more cash in your coffers, make sure you’re appropriating those savings wisely. You might invest in bringing on more full-time help or even fund a staff retreat at the end of the year. Saving money on expenses as a small business owner is important, but knowing what to do with that windfall is equally essential.
Do you know of any other cost saving tips for small business owners?