When we compare large corporations and small businesses, there is often one universal comparison to be made: finances. While it’s not always true, many small businesses begin working with a much lower budget, with the goal of seeing the business grow and seeing the financial rewards increase over time.
For many small business start-ups, having the ability to cut costs wherever they can will make the difference between becoming a successful enterprise, and going belly up. Being smart about spending and addressing budget choices will help these smaller businesses to put their money where it really counts, in order to see the company flourish.
There are a lot of ways for a small business to start making smart financial decisions for the business as a whole. If you’re trying to find ways to save money for your business, consider these 11 easy ways for your small business to save money today:
Some of your greatest allies as a start-up company will be the other companies who support and sponsor your business. Sponsors have the ability to help you put on parties, auctions, seminars, and other events that will help to draw in both old and new customers to learn more about your company.
Sponsors will often donate to a certain event, offer their products as gifts, or use their spending to help you host something for your existing and potential clientele. This is often a win-win for both companies, as the smaller business will be increasing their potential traffic and clients while the sponsor will also have the option to advertise their own products and services.
Finding sponsors is a key factor to saving money, as these sponsors will be the ones to pay for most of the costs of these events, while your small business can reap the benefits of increased traffic and interest.
Not all of your employees will need to be at the office 24/7, and, similarly, not all of your employees need to be full-time workers. Outsourcing has increased in the last decade, with a lot of the trend coming from improved technology and the ability to work with employees who are working from home or even around the world.
Small business can save money in this regard because they can limit the number of full-time employees they have and hire outside of the company for smaller jobs that can be done faster and for a cheaper price.
Outsourcing also doesn’t necessarily mean lower quality; in fact, many freelancers with just as much if not more experience than those who might be in an office setting prefer to work for multiple companies. Be diligent with your interviews and try to keep in contact with outsourced workers to ensure you get what you’re paying for.
Be Smart About Perks
While it can be nice to offer all kinds of perks to your employees, like high-end desks and full buffet meals every Wednesday, sometimes these costs just aren’t manageable. When it comes to saving money, it’s a good idea to be realistic about what you can splurge on for employees, and what kinds of things would really set you back.
When it comes to showing your appreciation for your workers, even the smallest things will be noticed. That means, instead of hosting huge lunches, offer smaller breakfast options each day or have potlucks every month. Being upfront will also help with this issue if there is one; explain to employees that you’d like to show them you value their work in some way, but that you’d also like to be able to keep their jobs. More often than not, employees are willing to let some perks go if it means helping the budget.
Decide on a Strict Charity Policy
Even though it’s likely we’d all love to regularly donate to our favorite charities, this isn’t attainable for everyone. For many small businesses which work in sectors that charities often require items from (clothing, food, etc.), it can be hard to refuse requests to give back.
However, these kinds of donations can add up quickly, especially if you’re constantly being bombarded and having to decide on numbers. An easy way for your small business to save money is to decide on a specific amount of gift that you can give to charities, and stick to that manageable number for all of them.
This means that any time a charity reaches out, you will have a completed letterhead that makes your giving abilities clear so that you are never caught empty-handed or giving away more than you have.
Buy in Bulk
If you’ve ever been to a bulk store, then you know that there are often a lot of great deals for large quantities of just about anything. For small businesses, saving money will likely mean embracing the idea of bulk purchases, so long as you know you’re going to be using the product before it’s expired.
For example, purchasing ink cartridges in bulk is a great way to save since you’re likely going through a lot of ink, and they can often be very expensive in singular packages. Ink cartridges like the Canon Pixma are a high-quality option for printers, but they are sold for a fraction of the price when you buy them in large numbers. Aside from printer ink, other things that you might want to consider buying in bulk for your small business include any writing tools, computer paper, notepads, and other office tools that will likely get used and which have a long shelf life.
Try Negotiating Rent
One of the largest expenses you’ll have to think about is the price of rent; luckily, this might be one of the expenditures that you can try to negotiate to a lower price. This kind of approach will depend on the individual situation and the landlord, but, if you’re renting for a hefty price, it might be a good idea to at least try to have the expenses pushed down a little. Even getting the rent lowered by $300/month can save you $3600/year, which would certainly be better spent somewhere else.
Limit Your Meetings
It has been widely expressed that, although they’re often necessary for a business to carry out, work meetings have a negative impact on the production of a perfectly good workday. While you might need to host a few meetings a month to make sure everyone is on the same page, gathering a large group of people to listen to one person speak at a time simply doesn’t get the bang for its buck.
Essentially, you’re paying your employees to sit in a room and offer their opinions, but often these meetings either go off topic or don’t get to a resolution by the end. When this is the case, that means huge losses for your day, and no one has gotten any other work done. While your phones are ringing and no one is selling anything, you’re paying employees to sit in a brainstorming session that could otherwise be done by workers who have finished their projects for the day or which could be handled by a few select workers.
To save money, consider having very few meetings per month; try cutting back to two or three, at most. If you can, also cut back on the number of employees who are present. Ask yourself who needs to be there, and who you know will contribute. Similarly, don’t worry about investing in huge spreads of food; the more food and drinks you prepare, the longer co-workers expect they’ll be there.
If you can, perform a five to ten minute meeting every morning, where you go over tasks for the day and specific goals that need to be met, and congratulate those who worked especially hard the day before. Make it quick and to the point, and you’ll notice that you’re paying for actual results.
Cut Back on Maintenance
This doesn’t mean that your office space should be left to rot just to save a couple of thousand dollars. However, if you have a small business, it’s likely you don’t have a whole lot of employees or a very large space with which to work.
If you can, try to cut cleaning maintenance staff to a weekly basis, instead of daily, and ask your employees to empty their own garbage. You might also have kitchen cleaning duties passed around the workplace and take it into your own hands to handle anything that needs immediate attention.
There is nothing wrong with having interns among your employees, especially if it means cutting back on your small business costs. Often, interns are the hardest-working employees you’ll have, and they can usually work from other locations so you don’t have to sacrifice work space, extra internet usage, or more office furniture. This is one of the best ways to get a lot of work done at a fraction of the cost, so long as your interns can handle the work and they’re excited to be a part of the team.
If you’re considering hiring interns, be sure to interview them personally, to get a feel for their dedication to improving their resume and whether you can see them being an integral part of your company in the future.
It’s not always necessary for your small business’s name to be plastered on a billboard in the middle of Times Square. There are lots of ways to get your brand name out there without breaking the bank, and, with so many options, it’s easy to play around with them to see what options work best.
Thanks to internet marketing, now, more than ever, it has become very easy for small businesses to advertise their brand to a large audience in cost-effective ways. Whether you embrace public relations as an integral part of your business, advertise using social media outlets, or learn to improve your website’s search engine optimization, all of these options can be integrated at low cost and high reward.
For small businesses that are targeted toward younger audiences, utilizing social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram can help to spread the word about your brand and increase customer awareness. These kinds of platforms are free to use, and you only need one or two employees to work on these platforms a few short minutes a day to keep customers in the loop. This kind of advertising might also be made even more efficient if you’re using tech-savvy interns to daily update your social media.
Offer Your Services for Services
There’s no shame in offering something other than money to get a required service. For many small businesses, reaching out to other companies for help might mean offering them a week of your own talents in exchange for theirs. This could be anything from offering your web design expertise for an office re-design to getting some free advertising done in exchange for a specific number of blogs.
When it comes to small businesses, it really is a community of businesses that all want to succeed. Do some research to find the services you need in the area, and lean toward those companies that are also small businesses, and which may be in need of something you offer.
You might not have all of the top-of-the-line tools and a limitless bank account to support your small business, but you likely have some great employees and a space that’s full of potential. If you’re struggling to make ends meet within your business, you’ll definitely want to re-evaluate your spending and budget before you throw in the towel for good.
The suggestions listed above are just some of the ways that small businesses work to improve their spending and to cut back on things that aren’t necessary at this time. As your company becomes more successful, you’ll want to revisit these decisions, but make sure that, above all else, you keep the integrity of your brand and make financially smart decisions.