Penny pinching for your business? It can be painful. Instead of getting frustrated, why not get frugal? Start by balancing your budget, separating your personal banking and business expense accounts and cleaning up your debt. There are many techniques for saving your business’s bottom line. Here are 15 ways you can implement simple changes and save.
- Attend free and/or affordable workshops and events run by organizations like General Assembly to network with other small businesses and/or participate in ongoing education.
- Host and/or co-host events with like-minded partners to deflect cost and get double the exposure for your brand and/or initiative.
- Connect with your alma mater(s). Attend networking events that are often free for alumni. Offer to speak in front of alums and/or soon-to-be graduates on a topic in an area of your expertise.
- Join or register your business with local organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, applicable trade associations and Better Business Bureau.
- When applying for credit or gas cards, cash back or point-collecting programs will prove thrifty. Take annual fees into consideration but more often than not, these cards act like a VIP pass. Same holds true for hotel and airline loyalty programs. These accounts will not only present amenities but enable you to track spending activity and evaluate where your business spends the most.
- Join a wholesale shopping club like Costco or BJ’s. Necessities like paper supplies and printer cartridges can be more affordable when purchased in bulk. If you do buy a membership, always request a business account. Remember, keep it separate from your personal one so you can track spending and how long supplies last in the office.
Staff and Space
- Growing and established businesses alike struggle with the hiring process. Save money, management sweat equity and time by employing a temp agency or hiring independent contractors.
- Take advantage of universities in your surrounding community. College and Graduate students are often eager to apply their newly-acquired skills with businesses who support their education endeavors and offer opportunities in their area of study.
- Embrace the telecommuter. Avoid office space headaches, like shifting of employees desks and/or the need to expand physical space all together by allowing staff to go "virtual."
- On the road 24/7? Plan out your trip for the most direct route AND one based on where you can find free wifi. Cafes, sandwich shops, etc. are pretty commonplace for offering wifi to its customers free of charge.
- Could your business benefit from streamlining your technology needs? Like small businesses, Better Business Bureau Serving E. Massachusetts, ME, RI & VT (BBB) is consistently faced with finding ways to be financially efficient. In 2014, BBB merged hardware and software applications onto one platform. This decision to streamline with Google proved to be a profitable venture. Converting the staff to universal devices eliminated the need for full-time IT support and improved confidence regarding security. BBB's technology guru, Lisa Ventura, said:
Not only are we greatly reducing IT issues, we have saved roughly $900 per seat by purchasing Chromeboxes versus computers with added software. With a staff of approximately 50 people, that savings really adds up.
- Be willing to invest your time in free online tools as part of your business plan. The art of engaging with your customers and customers-to-be online - if executed well - can be very rewarding for lead generation, customer retention, and more. Keep in mind, online tools don’t run themselves. Carving out time to participate in forums on topics you can add value to as well as having an active presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, not only increase your Internet footprint but won’t cost much (if anything) to incorporate into your marketing efforts. Sound like a lot? Find out and evaluate how and where your customers interact and spend your online-time accordingly.
- YouTube can be a gateway to new customers as well as an effective branding tool. Content and quality are key there (as is keeping most videos under 90 seconds). Everyday devices like an iPhone can be used as a legitimate recording tool. A focused YouTube account allows you to effortlessly cross-promote video content via your website and/or social media accounts and can serve as a 'priceless' component of your marketing budget. Cue the Mastercard commercials.
- Make a habit of periodically circling back to service providers like Internet, cable and cell phone. There are often promotions available at the start of a new quarter or a credit you might qualify for, especially if you are a loyal client.
Let the saving begin!
Did you know that 7 out of 10 consumers prefer to do business with an Accredited Business? Learn how to become part of a community of trustworthy businesses. If your business is already Accredited, find out how you can update your business online for free with Google and BBB and make it easier for people to find you online. For more information you can trust, visit us at bbb.org/boston, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Written by Stephanie Benz, Senior Social Media Associate for Better Business Bureau Serving E. Massachusetts, ME, RI & VT.