As a business owner, you’re constantly looking for ways to reduce expenses and increase profits. Take a look at eight cost-cutting strategies that may help you save thousands of dollars each year:
- Use Freelance Contract Employees When Possible. Instead of paying for benefits and other employee expenses, hire freelance contract employees to help you with specific operational duties, such as accounting, marketing, payroll and more. Not only will you pay for what you need, but you’ll get expertise that you may not be able to afford otherwise.
- Maintain a Virtual Office. Why pay rent for office space if your business doesn’t require it? Instead, maintain a virtual office where you and your employees have the flexibility to work from home. And if you need to hold a business meeting or get together as a team, consider renting a workspace to do so. You can find local businesses that will sublet or rent temporary office space by the hour, day, week, or month.
- Go Paperless. Send invoices via email, opt to pay bills online and advertise to your customers using email. And internally, get everyone on board with Microsoft, Open Office, Google Drive, or Adobe to share, review, edit and sign documents. Plus, you can keep your files securely in a password-protected digital file instead of printing everything and storing it in a file cabinet. Think of not only the paper you’ll save but the toner and other costs associated with printing and mailing documents.
- Review Your Phone Plan. Do you really need a landline? And if so, you may be able to negotiate a better deal by combining your cell phone with your landline. Or consider using a virtual phone line, which will save you a lot of money. But if you don’t need a landline, cut it and then shop around to ensure you’re getting the best mobile plan available for your needs.
- Negotiate a Great Deal for Everything. Don’t be shy to ask for a discount on anything and everything — from office equipment and business insurance premiums to lunch for your staff. Use discounts you’ve earned through reward programs to pay for your supplies. Consider getting money-saving apps installed on your phone or computer (such as Honey, Swagbucks, or Shopkick) to get even more out of everyday shopping.
- Buy Used Equipment and Furniture. Browse Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace to find used office equipment at discounted prices. People will often sell home-based business office equipment at a fraction of what you would pay at a store. Additionally, pay attention to going out of business sales or online auctions as well.
- Consistently Manage Your Subscriptions. There’s usually an open-source, free alternative to nearly any product in today’s market. Unless you absolutely need a specific type of software for your business, get rid of it. Do your homework and see what’s out there before you pay for another year. And conduct a quarterly audit to make sure you’re using all the “bells and whistles” you’re paying for — if you’re not using a complete package of services, cut back (or cut it out completely).
- Avoid Paying Unnecessary Fees. Businesses spend thousands of dollars annually on extraneous expenses, such as annual fees, late fees and processing fees. By simply staying on top of bills and paying them on or before their due date, you’ll save a lot of money each year. And if you use a credit card to pay bills or purchase equipment, or have taken out a loan for business purposes, pay down your balance as soon as possible to minimize your interest charges.
While this is not an exhaustive list of ways to cut costs, it can give you a jumpstart for the next several months. In addition, as you implement some of these strategies, you’ll see your cash flow increase, allowing you to get what you need when you need it and improve your bottom line as well.