Running a business is expensive. Between the employees, the supplies, rent and utilities, it’s no wonder so many businesses struggle to exist for five years.
And then things break.
In 2014, over half of all small business owners spent money replacing old equipment or maintaining current IT systems. Expensive things will break and all of your pens will inevitably land in the pockets of others, and your left scrounging for the money to replace a computer and buy a box of your favorite pens.
You didn’t start your business to worry about expenses, yet it’s one of the biggest components of being an entrepreneur. But what you definitely didn’t sign up for is scraping pennies to afford pens.
Your worries are almost over. Check out our eleven ideas for saving money for your business.
1. Go paperless
There are plenty of businesses that remain obstinate in their choice to use paper; nearly 40% of businesses claim they are overspending because of unnecessary employee printing. There are so many incredible tools available now – even apps on your smartphone – that make printing obsolete. Some of our favorites:
- CamScanner – A digital scanner for your mobile devices. Scan documents, turn them into PDFs and email directly from the app.
- DocuSign – No more meetings just to get documents signed. Safely send out items for signatures without a single tree being harmed.
- Google Drive – This cloud-based tool is incredible for collaboration. Work on the same document with a remote team at the same time, or make comments for them to see later.
- Issuu – An online publisher that takes your eBooks and other marketing materials and turns them into an impressive online version that can easily be shared on social media, email or with a link.
2. Go completely remote
Working remote is pretty great. When there are tools that make it so easy to work wherever, why not take advantage of that? On top of that, you remove the cost of a commercial office space.
3. Hire freelancers
Full-time employees are expensive and, while a small team can be mighty, they may not be able to get to everything that’s piling up. Instead of hiring another salaried employee, outsource tasks as needed.
Maybe you can’t afford to give your product or service away. And maybe it’s time for a really good haircut. Or maybe you need some new photos for your Website. Or maybe you’ve been looking for a really sharp, handmade desk. Just by chatting and asking for a trade, you will be amazed where you can save money.
5. Keep your meetings brief
Meetings are expensive and it’s not just the technology it takes to run one. The billable hours and salaries all have to be considered – even for virtual meetings. Keep your meetings on task and invite only the most essential people.
6. Trim the fat on marketing
As a marketer, I agree that marketing is magic and that I’m a magician. However, all that magic adds up and can get really expensive. Research more cost effective ways for you to market your business. For example, you could choose to cut back on your AdWords spend and focus on more inbound efforts (blogging, videos, social media) to drive traffic to your site.
7. Hire interns
Start an internship program and take on one or two a year. They can handle tasks that salaried employees can’t get to or take on new initiatives, and for a fraction of the cost. And they get college credit!
8. Create partnerships
Know of a successful business whose customer base aligns with yours? A partnership is mutually beneficial and can really boost the recognition of your business. Some organizations choose to eliminate their advertising spend to focus only on alliances.
9. Regularly audit your expenses
If you aren’t an accountant, this probably sounds horribly dull. However, it’s a great way to keep up with where money is going out and coming in. When you put your spending under a microscope, you can look for ways to improve it.
10. Buy supplies in bulk
One area that can save you big is buying in bulk. Whether you run through a lot of toilet paper or a pack of six pencils per week, buying these items in bulk can shave off costs that will add up year-over-year.
11. Move into the cloud
Whether your business has an official office or your team works remotely, cloud applications and software make getting things done so much more efficient. Another item you can move to the cloud is your phone. Check out our SlideShare below to learn how moving your phone to the cloud can save your business money.
Starting a small business is hard, but keeping it running is the real challenge. Assessing where costs can be cut in order to maximize the bottom line, and moving your phone to the cloud is just one way of decreasing your spending. And now you’re free to imagine what you’d do with the extra money…