For any small business, it’s important to spend money wisely and eliminate unnecessary expenses. Here are 11 money-saving ideas to boost your bottom line.
The owner of that new business down the street is in the same boat as you are: You’re both strapped for cash. So why not help each other out and save some money by bartering? You can partner with a business that doesn’t compete with yours. For example, a printer can barter a brochure job for some catering from a local restaurant. Or you can partner with a business that provides complementary services, but not the same exact services as you do — like a massage therapist and a yoga instructor. It might not always work, but it’s certainly worth asking.
2. Buy gently used equipment
You can save up to 60 percent by buying used computer equipment, copiers and office furniture. Auctions, social media, and newspaper or online classifieds are good sources of used equipment.
3. Use brand ambassadors
Advertising can cost you a bundle, and there’s no guarantee that it’s going to attract business. So why not tap into free advertising from your customers? These brand ambassadors are more than happy to talk up your business to their family and friends. It’s also a smart idea to offer your current customers discounted or free services for every new client they refer to you.
4. Get free or low-cost help
Give college students a chance to learn the ropes by setting up an internship program for your small business. Interns will get valuable work experience and college credit. In return, they’ll beef up your social media presence, organize your files or complete other important tasks — without breaking your budget. Just be sure to check with an HR consultant or employment lawyer about the laws in your state regarding paid and unpaid internships.
5. Streamline and save
Investigate ways that your business can process payments faster. For example, switching to an electronic payment method, such as Deluxe eChecks, can help you eliminate the need for paper check stock, print and mailing costs. Plus, you can take back your time by paying your bills in seconds — without printing, signing, stuffing and mailing paper checks.
6. Go green
Being environmentally friendly can save you money on supplies. Replace paper and plastic plates, cups and utensils with reusable ones. Reduce paper and printing expenses by going paperless. Ditch the paper by sending email, signing contracts electronically, storing documents online, and taking notes on a whiteboard or your computer. Find more green tips here.
7. Outsource and automate
Invest in programs that make fast work of critical tasks, so you can focus on your business. For example, Deluxe Payroll can help you process your payroll efficiently, accurately and right on time. And our partner VerticalResponse boasts Email Automation, which makes it a snap to create emails that welcome new subscribers, win back lapsed customers and more, all in minutes.
8. Pay invoices early
The early bird gets the discount. Many vendors offer discounts to clients who pay invoices ahead of schedule. For example, it’s common for vendors to knock two percent off the invoice total when clients pay in full within 10 days, instead of the usual 30 days. Work with your vendors to negotiate friendly early payment terms.
9. Ask for a discount
Sometimes saving money is as simple as asking for a discount or requesting to negotiate your rates. Talk to vendors and suppliers to let them know you’re interested in being a long-term client. It’s a lot less expensive to keep current customers than it is to attract new ones, so many vendors may be willing to offer you better prices, faster turnaround and other perks to keep your business.
10. Make a dent with reduced rent
If you don’t need a full-time office, a shared workspace can offer a more affordable and flexible alternative. Shared workspaces are furnished, professional spaces you can rent by the hour, day, week or month, as needed. WeWork, for example, offers short-term workspaces with plenty of amenities.
11. Close your office
Another great alternative to renting a workspace is allowing your employees to telecommute. Most employees will jump at the opportunity to work from home. Not only will it eliminate their commute, but they also may be able to get a tax break on their home office space.
Overhead costs can add up fast, but they don’t have to drain your small business dry. Start using these tips right away to keep costs in check and more profits in your pocket.