How to Save Money at Your Small Business

If your small businesses operates on a shoestring budget, finding ways to save money is a never-ending battle. If you don’t find ways to cut back on payroll, advertising and other everyday expenses, you can jeopardize your profit potential and put your business at risk for having to shut its doors forever. When you spend wisely and use smart money-saving techniques, you can scrimp and save your way to a more robust bottom-line.

Opt for Penny-Pinching Advertising

You don’t have to pay big bucks for fancy TV ads and radio spots to get the word out about your business. While these methods of advertising certainly have their place, they are not always realistic when your budget is strained. There are other budget-friendly ways to spread the news about your company.

  • Use social media. The social media boom makes it possible for you to reach large segments of your demographic without going broke. The biggest obstacle to advertising via social media is figuring out how to use it to your advantage. Once you build an audience, it’s easy to encourage repeat business and reach out to new customers.
  • Spread your URL. When you pass out flyers, business cards and coupons to the public, make sure they contain your URL. You can also use your URL on magnetic vehicle signs, employee t-shirts and any promotional items you hand out.
  • Use piggyback advertising. When customers buy items, seize the opportunity to stuff coupons, flyers and newsletters into their bags. If your customers buy online, give them the option to opt-in to special promotions and sales via email so you can keep them updated.

In addition, you can leverage your existing relationships. If you spend time building relationships with customers, colleges and the people you know through networking and professional organizations, they will spread the word about your company to others.

Slash the Cost of Everyday Supplies

When employees don’t have to eat the cost of copy paper, ink, paper towels, paper clips and other supplies, they don’t pay attention to how much they use. This causes you to have to dig into your budget to replace wasted supplies. If you want workers to reduce waste, you have to bring it to their attention.

When you have monthly employee meetings, discuss ways to cut back on supply waste. To make workers more receptive to the idea of cutting out waste, turn it into a “going green” campaign. It’s a win, win for all involved. You get to save money on supplies, the environment benefits from your company’s reduced carbon footprint and your employees feel like they’re part of something bigger.

During your meetings, some things you might suggest workers do to scale back include:

  • printing on the front and back sides of paper
  • reusing paper clips instead of throwing them away
  • only printing when absolutely necessary
  • saving important reminders on computers instead of using Post-It notes
  • encouraging employees to bring their own reusable mugs for coffee instead of using paper cups

In addition to getting employees to willingly scale back on their wasteful use of supplies, you might also create a policy that forbids using company resources for personal use. This means no printing or copying photos, invitations or other things that have nothing to do with company business.

You can also renegotiate with your suppliers to see if you can get a cheaper rate on the things you buy from them. If they are not willing to lower their prices, shop around to see if you can get better rates from other vendors.

Cut Back on Payroll Expenses

If you’re not careful, the labor costs associated with running your company can spiral out of control and eat up every dime your business brings in.

  • Outsource nonessential tasks. Instead of hiring an in-house person to do your bookkeeping and accounting, outsource these duties to an independent contractor. The cost of outsourcing can sometimes be cheaper because you don’t have to pay a salary or provide benefits to an employee. An independent contractor charges a flat fee based on the scope of the project.
  • Use temp workers. Sign up with a local temporary agency and hire workers through them. This will save you the costs associated with placing ads every time you need to fill positions. Since temp agencies handle the administrative side of things, it also saves you the hassle and cost associated with administrative tasks. If you are looking to hire workers on a permanent basis, the “try before you buy” nature of a temp agency allows you to sample workers’ skills before you commit to hiring them.
  • Hire interns. Reach out to local colleges and hire soon-to-be grads to increase your manpower. College students are eager and ready to get some real world experience to put on their resumes. Since college students are just starting out, you can pay them less to sell your products, do administrative task, run your SEO campaigns or do other things in the company. If an intern’s skills prove to be an asset to the company, you can offer her a full-time position after she graduates.

BONUS: Save time and money by using employee scheduling software to manage and communicate with your employees. Sign up and try When I Work — it’s free for 30 days!

When you run a small company, it’s all about the bottom line. If you want to boost profits and make running a business worth your time, seize every opportunity to save money on payroll, marketing and any other processes you need to keep things running smoothly.

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