15 Ways to Save Money as a Small Business Owner

As a small business owner, you are all too familiar with the high cost of starting and running a business. You’ll encounter overhead costs, such as rent, advertising fees, shipping fees, among other expenses.

This makes it difficult to balance a small business budget. That’s why every money-saving decision you make is critical to keeping your business running successfully.

While it all starts with good planning, some cracks in your plan can be unforeseen. In other cases, wrong forecasts or overspending in areas you didn’t expect can lead to spending more than you anticipated.

So, how do successful small business owners save money and boost their bottom line? Here are our thoughts.

1. Work with a Financial Plan

One of the first costly mistakes that first-time small business owners make is to skip or simply ignore the process of writing their financial goals when starting out. We can’t stress enough the value of creating a financial plan.

Just think about it. Without a financial plan, how can you tell how much money your business needs to survive the next six months? What financial goals are you targeting? Where do you see your business one year down the line?

Financial planning helps you see the big picture, which can help you make better decisions. Once you write down your financial goals, the reality becomes clearer, and you can predict how your sales are going to be. You can also forecast and prepare the course of action if your business goes viral and sales exceed your expectations.

In essence, financial planning forces you to manage your finances wisely, a step that can help you save money.

2. Go Paperless

Did you know that you can cut costs by up to 90 percent by going paperless? Using paper means expenses of buying paper, storage costs, and printing costs. Whereas, if you scan company documents and store them on your computer or in the cloud, you cut all those expenses.

What’s more, cloud computing makes the process of sharing information seamless, fast, and more efficient. Not only does this save you time and money, but also the cost of hiring someone to manage paper documentation and maintenance.

3. Drop Traditional Advertising in Favor of PR, Social Media, and Content Marketing

Generally, business advertising is one of the major ways to grow your revenue. Simple methods like Google AdWords and Facebook have worked for many businesses. Traditional options like TV are also good choices as well.

But here’s the thing. You don’t have that kind of money to spend on advertising. The good news is that you can stop paying for advertising costs and still reach your target audience. Public relations is a much cheaper and more effective form of advertising.

Inbound marketing and SEO techniques are other forms that work quite well in attracting more traffic to your website. Making YouTube videos exposes you to thousands of potential customers, and remains an effective way to boost traffic to your website.

Social media platforms like Instagram have now become an avenue to promote products and improve brand awareness without spending a lot of cash.

4. Outsource Whenever Necessary

We all know that employees are an essential part of a business. However, employees come with big expenses – from office space to salaries to insurance and other benefits. This can leave a huge dent in your already limited finances.

A good alternative is to outsource.

Consider keeping your full-time staff to a minimum and outsourcing any other work that your staff cannot cover to independent contractors. The advantage of hiring consultants or freelancers is that you get to work with experts in their fields at negotiated rates in exchange for high-quality work.

That’s not all.

You could get some or all your personnel to work remotely. This way, you don’t have to pay for rent, lights, coffee pots, or cleaning services. Still, you can expect improved productivity from your remote workers. In fact, research by FlexJobs shows that remote workers are 35-40 percent more productive than in-office workers.

5. Ask for Discounts

Your suppliers are business people, too, and want to stay in business just as much as you do. Most of them will be willing to offer quantity discounts on products that they offer regular customers.

All you need to do is negotiate lower prices and ask what you need to do to qualify for discounts. You’ll be surprised what you might be able to get, including up to 50 percent discounts, interest-free loans, and free delivery.

6. Take Advantage of Free Tools and Apps

With the digital world taking center stage in today’s market, you can’t afford to run an efficient business without leveraging productivity apps. Tools like Asana and Basecamp have helped business owners collaborate more seamlessly with their staff and share documents and information with ease.

But just because you need software to streamline your business operations, doesn’t mean you need to spend on pricey software. You can find various options that offer free trials or free services for certain features.

Say you want to invest in a time tracking tool. Consider comparing the costs and features different time trackers offer for the given price. In addition, compare things like trial periods and monthly subscriptions. To save costs, go for apps that offer free plans with unlimited access to premium features.

7. Hire Interns and Recent Graduates

Understandably, you may be inclined to hire more experienced people to help you run the business. However, experience comes at a higher cost, probably one that you can’t afford right now.

Instead of straining your limited cash, consider hiring interns and recent graduates. These people may not have many years of experience, but they are eager to build their careers and will bring their A-game.

The good thing about interns is that they bring raw energy to your workplace and cost way less than experienced hires.

8. Save at Least Five Percent Every Month

Depending on how much revenue your business is making, you can adjust this figure to suit you. The point is, saving even a small amount of money each month consistently creates a cushion that can keep your business operating during hard times.

A wise option is to make this process automatic. That way, you don’t have to remember to save or to consider if you can afford to save this month.

9. Reduce Employee Time

The four-day workweek is gaining traction in most companies for multiple reasons. For starters, it improves work-life balance and boosts employee morale since it gives them more time to accomplish personal stuff.

The four-day workweek will also work in your favor because you’ll save more on utilities and operating costs, as well as on salaries.

10. Cut Unnecessary Employee Expenses

Do you give employees free breakfast and lunch? While it’s a great idea and meant to keep employees happy, it might be doing more harm than good on your bottom line. Monitoring your budget and employee spending reports every month will provide insight into how you can avoid making costly mistakes.

Hold a discussion with your team and explain why you need to cut certain expenses. They will understand when it’s a choice between free lunches and getting laid off.

11. Eliminate Pointless Meetings

According to a survey conducted by The Muse, unproductive meetings waste over $37 billion annually. The same survey found that up to 67 percent of meetings are unproductive. Those figures alone should be scary enough to sway you from holding unnecessary meetings.

Anything that can be communicated via email, Skype, or other communication apps doesn’t need to be discussed in a meeting. Meetings that don’t have a purpose are not only frustrating and time-wasting, but they also waste plenty of resources, including labor.

In the same spirit, you might want to keep your meetings lean. Hosting meetings on-site entails several costs, such as travel, hosting, lunch, and so on. Virtual meetings are also costly and prevent employees from doing real work like acquiring new clients.

To ensure meetings are productive, limit the number of people required to participate in meetings. According to the Harvard Business Review, the most productive meetings have a maximum of eight participants.

To summarize this point:

  • Reduce meetings, and you’ll likely see an increase in productivity.
  • Meetings with many participants are an utter waste of time.

12. Purchase Supplies in Bulk

Ask around, and you’ll learn that buying anything – from office supplies to foodstuff – in bulk is cheaper than buying per piece. In addition, you’ll probably save money on shipping costs due to free shipping offered for buying in bulk.

Analyze your supplies and expenses and determine what’s purchased frequently. Order these items in bulk from online suppliers or bulk warehouses, and you’ll save hundreds to thousands of dollars.

13. Understand Your Customer

Where do your customers go online? Is it Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram? Knowing this vital detail can save you time and money that you would otherwise spend all over the various internet options.

Once you understand your customer behaviors, you eliminate all other options and focus your budget on where you’re likely to gain traffic. That way, not only will you save money, chances are you’ll increase your profits as well.

14. Reward Loyal Customers and Employees

It may seem a little backward to spend money when you’re trying to save every penny. However, this trick works wonders for customer loyalty and employee morale. Offer occasional discounts and value-added packages to your most loyal customers, and reward loyal employees with free lunch or treats or bonuses.

This will likely result in increased purchases and better relationships with customers, and improved employee engagement, hence more productivity.

15. Hire Someone to Do Your Taxes

Now, we’re talking about turning your business into a lean, profit-making machine. Isn’t hiring an accountant the exact opposite? Look at it this way. You decide to do your own taxes and end up spending three days on that task alone, including sleepless nights.

If you hire an accountant to handle accounting and taxes for you, you can focus on your business and get to spend your free time with your family. What’s more, a tax professional will keep you updated with changes in tax laws and regulations and protect you from making costly mistakes.

If you’re home-based, you can deduct a portion of your rent or mortgage interest and utilities as a business expense. Visit the IRS website to learn more about tax deductions.

Conclusion

Every business has unique processes and systems in place, says Ramneek Sidhu, a Digital Marketing Consultant. However, these money-saving tips apply to all kinds of small business owners who want to lower costs and save money. We hope they are just what you need to save your business money.

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