You have to spend money to make money. But some small businesses might have a hard time reigning in all of those expenses enough to actually turn a profit.
Luckily, there are tons of little things businesses can do to save some money or cut expenses during leaner times. Here are 50 ways you can save your small business money starting today.
Cost Cutting Tactics for Your Business
Crowdsource Some Services
Work with Freelancers
Even if you need some more involved work done, you can save money by contracting with freelancers rather than paying a full salary and benefits package to a new employee.
Use Free Online Tools
Online tools like Google Docs give you many of the same capabilities as paid software programs, but it costs nothing to use them. That’s great news for your budget.
Turn Off Office Lights
Keep your monthly office bills down simply by turning off lights in rooms you’re not using. You might even consider investing in some lights that turn off automatically when they don’t sense movement for a certain period of time.
Unplug Unused Tech
Likewise, other electronics that are constantly plugged in but not in use, even if they’re turned off, can cost you a lot of extra money on your electric bill. Unplug unused electronics to save that money.
Wherever possible, avoid printing out hard copies of documents to save money on paper, ink, printers and storage. Keep digital files instead.
You might also be able to save some money on things like office supplies, utilities and even rent by allowing your team to work from home on occasion or even most of the time.
Buy Office Supplies in Bulk
When you do purchase office supplies, you can get better deals if you buy in bulk. So plan out what supplies you need and, if possible, stock up all at once.
Recycle Office Supplies
You can also potentially save or make some money by recycling old supplies like printer cartridges and electronics.
Sign Up for Loyalty Programs
Another easy way to save money on office supplies and equipment is to sign up for loyalty programs from the stores or businesses that you buy from regularly.
Coupons can be another great way to save money. Browse for coupon codes online or sign up for newsletters to receive special offers via mail or email.
Plan Shipments in Advance
When ordering supplies online, it can also be a good idea to plan out your shipments in advance so that you don’t end up paying more for shipping fees than necessary.
In some cases, you might even be able to avoid buying larger pieces of office equipment or furniture altogether. See if you can find the items you need available for lease instead.
Get Energy Efficient Appliances
For office appliances, you can save on energy costs in the long run by investing in energy efficient models. This will make your office more environmentally friendly, too.
Use Free Cloud Storage
Instead of taking up space on your hard drive and requiring you to purchase even more storage for your business data and important documents, you can use services like Dropbox or Carbonite, which offer some free and paid storage plans.
Skip the Landlines
Setting up landlines for your business can be costly. But with all the other communication tools available, it may not even be necessary. Instead, consider using a VoiP service like Ooma.
Nix Unused Services
With so many different services available to businesses, it can be easy to get carried away. You might even sign up for some products or services that come with monthly or annual fees that you eventually stop using without really thinking about it. So it can be smart to go through your monthly expenses and just cancel any services that you no longer use regularly.
Use Open Source Software
Open source software is software that can be freely used, modified and shared by anyone. Programs like WordPress give you the opportunity to save money on website creation and various other functions, as long as you’re able to understand the technology.
Look for Business Discounts on Insurance
When purchasing various types of insurance for your business, you might be able to save some money by inquiring about small business discounts for your policies, especially if you bundle multiple policies together.
Utilize Free Resources
There are plenty of free resources available for small businesses, including those from organizations like SBA and SCORE. You can find mentorship, legal forms and more for free instead of paying for those things elsewhere.
Join Trade Associations
You might also look up some trade associations in your industry to see what kinds of opportunities and resources they offer. You might have to pay a fee upfront to join, but it could still save you some money in the long run.
Negotiate Your Lease
When deciding on office space for your small business, you might also be able to get a bit of a deal if you try to negotiate with your landlord. Even a small difference in your monthly payment can make a big difference for your finances over time.
Use Social Media
When it comes to marketing your business, social media can be a much more economical option than traditional print or broadcast advertising or marketing activities.
Facilitate Word of Mouth Marketing
It may also be beneficial to focus on creating some word of mouth for your business, either through referral discounts or other promotions, instead of spending money on those traditional print and broadcast ad spots.
Create Marketing Partnerships
You can also consider working with other companies in your area or industry to save on marketing costs.
Clean Up Your Mailing Lists
Whether you’re sending out direct mail or email to your customer list, getting rid of any customers who have moved or who haven’t bought from you in years can help you save money on stamps or list hosting services.
Cut Superfluous Expenses
During the course of running your business, you’ll likely accrue some expenses that aren’t absolutely necessary but still beneficial. For instance, you might host a pizza party for your team every once in awhile, which can help improve morale and camaraderie. But constantly springing for lavish lunches might not be as necessary. So cutting out those over-the-top expenses can really help you save.
Hire Entry-Level Employees Where Possible
When it comes to hiring, you can save some money by being open to working with employees who don’t have tons of experience. Hire people who are smart and who learn fast. Because hiring people with years of experience may mean you’re going to have to pay them more.
Try Temporary Employees
You can also potentially save some money by utilizing temporary help. You can hire temporary help to supplement your workforce during busy seasons or just hire new team members on a temporary basis so that you can be sure it’s a good fit before spending tons of money on the onboarding process.
Keep Employees Happy
On the other hand, it can be a financial benefit overall to provide some nice benefits and incentives to your employees so that they’re happy at work. If you can keep employees for longer, you’ll spend less on training and onboarding over time.
Consider a Four-day Workweek
One way you can potentially help both your employees and your bottom line is to consider shorter work weeks. You’ll spend less on things like utilities and supplies while also potentially improving employee morale and productivity.
Cut Down on Meetings
Meetings can be a major waste of time and resources for businesses if you host them regularly and don’t get much done. So only have meetings, especially in-person meetings, if it’s absolutely necessary.
Regular cleaning and maintenance services around the office can also lead to significant expenses. So evaluate whether or not those services are absolutely necessary. You might find that you can get by with a cleaning crew coming through twice per month rather than weekly, which can save significant expenses.
Negotiate with Vendors
When you purchase other products or services for your business, you may also be able to get better rates if you simply ask your vendors about discounts or try to negotiate with them.
And if you don’t like the deal you’re offered somewhere, you can always shop around with other vendors to find better prices.
Bundle Your Services
In some cases, you can also get better rates if you bundle different services or products together.
Barter with Other Businesses
If a vendor you’re working with is also one that can use some of your business’s products or services, you might be able to work out some kind of trade so that you both can save money.
Get Sponsors for Events
When you host events for your business, you can save some money on the cost or even make some extra money by getting other businesses to sponsor or provide products and services for the event.
Use Cloud Based Accounting Services
When it comes to accounting, you can buy expensive software for your computer which has to be updated with each new edition — often at additional cost. Or you can use cloud based accounting programs like Xero to save money and space on your hard drive.
Minimize Your Inventory
If your business keeps a large inventory of certain products, you might be spending a lot of extra money by holding onto them — especially if you use them only sporadically. So it may be beneficial to re-evaluate what you actually need.
Automate Time-Consuming Tasks
If you’re paying your team to spend tons of time on tasks like posting regular updates to social media, you can save money and get more done by automating some of those tasks.
Buy Used Equipment and Furniture
When you purchase things like office furniture and equipment, you might be able to find some good deals by looking for used items at secondhand stores or even on sites like eBay and Craigslist.
Share Office Space
For your actual office space, you might be able to save some money by sharing that space with another business.
Utilize Coworking Spaces
Or, if you’re a very small operation, you could just sign up for some space at a coworking facility rather than renting a dedicated office for your business.
Choose a Location with Low Rent Costs
When choosing the actual location for your business, you might find it beneficial to look in a community with low cost of living and cheaper rent on office spaces. This is especially if your company doesn’t do traditional retail or some other business that depends upon foot traffic.
Keep Track of Tax Write-Offs
You also need to have a system for keeping track of tax write-offs so that you don’t end up paying more than necessary at tax time each year.
Make Payments Early
When you make payments on monthly business expenses, make sure you pay on time so you can avoid any late fees. And in some cases, you might even be able to get a bit of a discount if you pay for several months or a year in advance.
As long as you can pay off your balance each month to avoid paying interest, it can be beneficial to put any business expenses on a credit card that has a rewards or cash back program.
But Eliminate Debt
Just make sure that you don’t carry any extra or unnecessary debt, since those interest payments can make a big dent in your company’s bottom line.
Review Expenses Regularly
And finally, just make sure to look over your business expenses on a regular basis so you have a good idea about where all your money is going. If you can keep a handle on your expenses, you’ll have a better idea of where you can realistically make cuts and save.
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