Small-business owners are constantly trying to build their businesses and increase profits — but they often overlook the ways in which they can save money.
By examining your spending and cutting costs when necessary, you are doing one thing: increasing your profit margin — and who doesn’t want that? So manage your expenses closely, and use these cost-saving measures whenever possible.
- Offer your expertise. Consider teaching a class, speaking at a community meeting, or pitching article ideas to your local newspaper or magazine. Not only can you find potential clients, but you can also increase your level of visibility, credibility, and trustworthiness with your community at the same time. Don’t forget to link to your article or upload an audio file of your lecture on your website as well. Bonus tip: Use your expertise to barter with other professionals in your area — If you are a photographer looking to expand into children’s portraits, offer a free session in exchange for advertising on a popular family blog in your area.
- Join an association. Many trade or business associations have reasonable membership fees and you can score discounts on everything from travel and car rentals to insurance and phone services. If there isn’t a specific group in your area, join a community organization. These groups often have informal meetings where you can network and build referral relationships with others in your neighborhood.
- Use the Internet to your advantage. It costs nothing but a few minutes to create a company Facebook and Twitter account. This can cut down on your need for traditional print and radio advertising, which can get expensive quickly. Other social media platforms can also be effective, depending on your business: If you own a small fashion boutique, utilize Instagram; if you have a company blog, remember to link all posts to Pinterest to increase page views. The amount of time it takes to maintain these accounts is well worth the money — you can even utilize a service like HootSuite, which allows you to manage several social media accounts in one location.
- Economize Your Employees. If you need help in a particular area of your business but don’t have the budget, or even workload, to hire a full-time employee, consider hiring temporary employees to help with a specific project or busy season. You can also hire interns from local colleges or outsource your work to contract or freelance workers in a variety of fields — including communications and media, information technology, graphic design, and even engineering.
- Office Overhead. Small-business owners have always been taught to buy in bulk; however, that may not necessarily be the best idea. Instead, buy only what you need today — not what you think you might need tomorrow. Consider buying recycled paper and ink or refurbished printers and secondhand office furniture. Some experts even advise you to cut down on all unnecessary printing — according to research done by Xerox, 40 percent of office paper is discarded within 24 hours of printing. Utilize free online storage sites like Google Docs, DropBox, and Amazon Cloud Drive instead.
What is your favorite money-saving tip for small businesses?