Saving money as a business can be tricky—especially if you’re a start-up. We’ve compiled a list of money saving tips—ways for you to trim overhead here, and increase efficiency there until you’re on your way to better financial health.
No matter your industry or location, you should be able to apply most of this advice, even if you need to tweak it a bit to suit your needs.
1. Go green
You’ve heard it before and it’s still true: going green saves green. Whether it’s a home business, office, storefront—whatever kind of space your business is using, the more energy-efficient your space is, the lower utility costs you’re going to have. So go out and buy those compact fluorescent bulbs already—they can save you three quarters of your lighting bill per year!
2. Use open source and cloud computing
If you’re using some kind of software (used for book keeping, word processing, and presentation), you can find an open source and/or cloud version of it.
You do not need to buy that expensive office software and servers when you can switch to a cloud vendor—Google is an example—at a fraction of the cost. – Ali Asadi of A Profit Maker.
3. Use own-brand or generic brand goods
It’s always tempting to buy name brand, but it’s almost never worth the money. If you’re looking at buying goods for your business, just go with generic; the box may not be as pretty but the product will be the same.
4. Sponsors for events
There’s a wide range of reasons why a business may need to throw an event, but you likely will need to at some point, and they can certainly be costly. Joining together with another business as a sponsor to throw an event can mean a higher quality event and more press for all involved.
Especially with other businesses, this might seem old-school but can definitely be effective. If you need a good or service and have something of value to offer in return, this could be a good route.
6. Cut down on meetings
This is crucial, and can be so easy. Take a look at both your own and your employee’s calendars—how many hours per week are spent in meetings? More than likely, you can cut back on some meeting time and up time for completing tasks.
Really evaluate the cost and benefits to the company.
7. Hire capable employees with little work experience
This might initially seem counter-intuitive, but people with little work experience are looking for entry-level positions and salaries, which saves your company money. Of course, there may be times when a more experienced candidate makes the most business sense.
Often a solid employee with little work experience just needs a foot in the door, and you’ll find them competent and eager to do well.
We all had to get our start somewhere.
8. Allow employees fewer hours
In a similar vein to the previous tip, this might sound odd at first. But there may be employees at your company who would transition to part-time if given the opportunity. This can be a touchy subject for an employee to bring up on their own, but if the business owner/manager makes it known this is an option, it can save you from paying those full-time wages without having to lose a good team member completely.
9. Retain your good employees
A high performing employee or an employee who is integral to culture and keeps up morale is a valuable asset. They make you money, and keeping them around will save you onboarding costs down the line, or the loss if their replacement isn’t as valuable to the company. Check in with your team, make sure they’re happy and that their needs are met.
10. Micro contract
For those moments when you have smaller tasks that don’t warrant a new hire but that you just can’t add to your already full plate, micro contracting can be great option.
11. Review your operating expenses
If you buy bagels for the office, is there a different bagel shop that will give your business a bulk or loyal customer discount? Have you ever looked into it? The day to day expenditures on simple things all add up.
It’s a good option to compare vendors and get quotes at least once a year to make sure everything you’re paying for is a fair market rate.
12. DIY marketing and PR
Learn everything you can about marketing and public relations for your industry, and make sure you’re putting your best foot forward when you promote and talk about your business. Hiring a PR firm can be very costly, and if you’re passionate and knowledgeable, you could be your own spokesperson.
13. “When in doubt, go without.”
Should you actually make that purchase? Do you truly need to replace something? Think it through instead of just going for something larger or newer. Use what you have until you’re certain you need something else.
14. Stay on top of your accounting
When money is tight, things like late fees on bills or a client who doesn’t pay on time can be a huge problem. Pay your dues on the due date, and take pains to ensure that your collections are on time and that the outstanding balances are minimised.
15. Ask for a discount
So simple, yet often very effective. Just ask the vendor if they have some kind of promotional offer or rate and what it might entail. This won’t always be the case, but when it is, it’s so easy and worth it.
Asking for a discount and then preparing to walk away if it isn’t granted might actually be the trick to saving money and securing that discount.
16. Invest in new technology
What can you create in-house? What can you do on a tablet that saves time and office supplies? Adapting to new technologies can allow staff to automate previously time-consuming tasks, increase overall efficiency, and cut down on third party costs.
17. Paperless, as much as possible
A must in this day and age. Not only can saving on materials save you money directly, it can also be a time saver. When you do have to have hard copies, look into having regularly used forms printed and on-hand as opposed to photocopying them, as this can be a less expensive route.
Source: Based on a Bplans article by Angelique O’Rourke.