With gas prices now surpassing $4 a gallon in some areas and the cost of many business-related products and services continuing to rise, it’s no wonder many small business owners are seeking out creative ways to save on their monthly expenses.
With tax season now over, it’s the perfect time to take a closer look at your budget to determine if there’s any fat that can be trimmed. Not sure where to start? Here are five strategies for saving a surprisingly substantial amount.
Become More Energy Efficient
Obviously, cutting down on driving to see clients and suppliers can reduce what you’re spending on gas. However, there are ways to reduce energy costs within your office space, too. For example, switching from a desktop PC to a laptop can slash energy use significantly. Setting electronics to sleep after a certain number of idle minutes, shutting down equipment at night and replacing lights with more energy-efficient varieties can also contribute to a reduction in energy spending.
Utilize a Cloud-Based Phone System
Switching to a cloud-based phone system like RingCentral is one of the most effective ways to lower business expenses, particularly if you’re making lots of long-distance phone calls. And with bundled phone features that can improve productivity, making the switch to RingCentral can not only save you money but help you make more money, as well!
Evaluate Your Marketing
Have you been spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on print advertising that hasn’t delivered significant ROI? Are you paying to attend trade shows? An increasing number of small business owners are evaluating their marketing initiatives and considering less costly inbound marketing strategies – blogs, search engine optimization and social media – to attract customers.
Leverage the Help of Freelancers
If your small business is in growth mode, you can probably use an extra pair of hands from time to time to help out. However, hiring an extra staff member may be prohibitively costly. A smart alternative to increasing your productivity while keeping costs down is to utilize the services of a freelancer. Often highly qualified individuals, they can be brought on board for a particular project or for a certain amount of time, typically for a fraction of the price of what you would pay for a regular employee. Accountants, attorneys, bookkeepers, IT professionals, marketers, writers and more can be found for hire on freelancing sites like Upwork, oDesk and Guru.
Reduce Bank Fees
Without closely monitoring your banking transactions, you may be woefully unaware of a subtle business expense – bank fees. Transaction costs, NSF fees and check printing can all add up! It’s worthwhile to sit down with a bank representative to go over these fees to determine if there’s a less costly way to manage your business banking. Oftentimes, making simple switches to electronic bill payment and using your debit card instead of checks can reduce your costs.
Hopefully, these money-saving ideas for your small business will inspire you to look at your budget and consider other ways to streamline your expenses. For more helpful money-saving tips, go to the U.S. Small Business Administration website.