cuttingcosts Finding ways to reduce overhead is a common goal for small business owners. Not only do overhead costs cut your profit margins, they can also literally make or break your business. So, with the New Year now in full swing, we thought we’d share some easy-to-implement ideas on slashing what you pay each month.

1. Barter with Other Business Owners
Bartering for products and services is becoming increasingly popular with small business owners who want to network with others, keep income off the books and minimize their expenses. Many communities and industry groups have even established bartering networks that help business owners who are interested in trading what they have to offer.

2. Use a Cloud-Based Phone System
With no hardware or software to buy or maintain, a system like RingCentral‘s can instantly cut your phone costs while also giving you access to features that are typically only available to large-scale enterprises.

3. Buy Recycled Printer Cartridges
Printer ink is literally one of the most expensive liquids on Earth. However, much of the high cost is just margin for cartridge makers. To reduce costs, find a low-cost supplier of recycled cartridges and save more than 50 percent on your printer ink.

4. Watch Energy Consumption
Turning off equipment at the end of the day can reduce energy consumption by up to 25 percent. Setting thermostats, encouraging staff to shut down computers when they’re out of the office and installing timers on lighting systems can also help slash your monthly utility bill.

5. Reevaluate Your Insurance Coverage
An annual review of your insurance coverage and a little comparison shopping may save you a substantial amount. Evaluate a variety of options and ask about umbrella policies (which often come with discounts). Because insurance rates can fluctuate tremendously, this research is often well-worth the investment of your time. Don’t forget to check with groups with which you’re affiliated, as well. Many offer competitive group insurance.

6. Choose the Best Business Credit Card
Whether you’re looking for travel rewards, cash back or a low interest rate, choosing the right credit card can yield big savings for your business.

7. Eliminate Paper Waste
Double-sided printing and reusing copy paper for notepads can save you big time while also helping to preserve natural resources!

8. Use Online Coupons
The Internet has a wealth of coupons and promotion codes for many of the products business owners need. From hardware and software to web hosting and phone systems, seeking out online discounts is worth the effort.

9. Hire Temporary Help When Business Picks Up
To avoid having to pay for employees sitting idle during slowdowns, consider hiring temporary or freelance help during surges in activity. Sites like Elance and Guru, along with local temporary agencies, have large pools of qualified individuals who are ready to go to work for you.

10. Get an Executive Suite (co-working)
Renting office space can be expensive – especially for small businesses that are just starting out. A less-costly alternative that gives your business a professional image for a fraction of the cost is a virtual “executive suite.” Most include a set number of hours each month in an office, a business mailbox and access to business services and conference rooms.

These are just a few tips to help your business reduce overhead. What steps are you taking to save money in your business this year? Share your ideas with other small business owners on our Facebook page.