It’s the New Year! Time to make all those resolutions about losing weight and walking the dog… but how about taking some quick steps early in January that might save your business money throughout the entire year?
Here are five steps my management team is taking to save us money in 2011:
1. Set the tone.
Your team will take their cues from you, so meet early with them and remind them of the importance of being frugal this year. Getting everyone focused on intelligent thriftiness at the beginning of the year can pay dividends as the year progresses. Remind the team of simple actions they can take to save money, like asking for discounts when purchasing goods and services for the business.
There is nothing wrong with asking; and if you don’t ask you can’t save!
Let them know they should turn off their computers when they leave the office at night to save money on electricity. Then solicit ideas on areas where the company can economize. It’s all about setting the tone and getting your employees bought in.
2. Check subscriptions and recurring charges.
The beginning of a new year is a great time to review your monthly expenses. Small, recurring charges can add up over the course of 12 months. Make sure you are still using all of the subscriptions that you see billed on your corporate card – everything from magazines to cloud services to trade group memberships. If you are not using the product, cancel! And if you are planning on using the service for the entire year try to get an annual plan. Companies often offer discounted annual memberships.
I realized that I had signed up for a couple of services on a monthly basis so I could “test” them – and I had forgotten to buy the annual plan when I started using them regularly! Pull out a couple of your last few credit card statements and looks for savings.
3. Plan for taxes.
It’s never too early to talk with your accountant about tax strategies for the new year. I know you’ll be spending way too much time with your accountant come April, but why not make April 2012 a little better by making sure you are taking all the right steps from the first month of January?
4. Create an expenditure plan.
As a competent business owner, you probably already know a large percentage of the big expenditures you’ll need to make in the coming year. And you likely also have a decent idea of when you’ll need to make these purchases. Put all this down in a spreadsheet, and estimate the dollar amount and the purchase date. Getting all the items on paper will help you visualize your big cash outflows for the year, and will help you prepare to make more intelligent purchasing decisions.
I find that if I know I’m going to need to make an important expenditure in June, I start looking for deals in March – and can often find discounts, sales or items on eBay. Also, if you know what you are going to need, you will be more thoughtful in how you react to coupons and special offers you get from your vendors.
Finally, remember that the account managers who serve you are likely working on quarterly commissions. If you can pull forward your purchase by a few weeks to the end of a quarter, you may be in a much better negotiation position. But you can’t do any of this unless you plan ahead!
5. Check out Anita’s e-book on small business money saving tips!
She lists 75 ways your business can save money and prepare for growth. You’ll find great ideas from saving money on stamps by using your bank’s check payment feature to taking advantage of your kids’ latent tech skills.
What steps are you taking this January to run a more economical business this year? Please share your thoughts below – let’s help each other have a great 2011!