Business owners face plenty of problems on a daily basis, but the most difficult issues typically involve company finances. Getting a business — and especially a small business — to survive in an already struggling economy means learning to pinch pennies wherever possible.
Fortunately, you don’t need to hire a financial consultant to reign in excessive business spending. Instead, use this guide to cutting costs around the office to learn how to thrive in today’s tough economic environment.
Trim Insurance Costs
If you’re looking to cut costs around the office, take the time to sit down with your insurance agent to reevaluate your company’s policy and see where there is room to save. While you don’t want to skimp where it really matters, there could be room for a little monthly trimming that might add up to big annual savings. For example, if you’ve recently made changes to your business structure, you may be paying for coverage you no longer need. Don’t assume that your policy has to remain static as the rest of your company evolves.
Research Business Service Providers
Before renewing phone, Internet, or digital business solution contracts, do some research on the deals available through various providers. Since business accounts are worth more than residential contracts, service providers frequently offer business owners signing deals to gain loyalty. Many communications providers also offer additional discounts for bundling services together. Whichever provider you go with, take the time to find the Internet and phone packages that work for your needs.
Take Advantage of Reward Programs
Sign up for reward and loyalty programs with suppliers to get extra savings throughout the year. Some companies give discounts if a business spends a certain amount each month, while others may offer rebates for bulk purchasing. As with insurance coverage and business services, make time to discuss purchasing options with your supplier contacts. You may be pleasantly surprised at the deals they offer to retain your business.
Schedule Bill Payments Carefully
Paying bills on time is a good way for small businesses to minimize extra costs in the office, as late fees can add a significant percentage to monthly expenses. In the same vein, don’t assume that paying as soon as possible is the best plan, either — paying bills too early can actually be a bad move for small companies. Make time to plan out your bill payments to optimize revenue flow. If you have a business account that accrues healthy interest, time your payments to cash in on that first. Or, if a supplier offers a discount for paying your bill early, make that payment your monthly priority.
Cut Travel Costs
While travel is going to be unavoidable sometimes, there are a few things you can do to cut back on your overall trip expenses. First, instead of flying your entire team out for a conference, pause to analyze how many people truly need to make the trip. If certifications are on the line, everyone probably needs to go. For a small conference, on the other hand, consider sending just a few employees. They can share the conference experience and conclusions in a presentation when they return.
Some businesses feel that they need more than just a few employees to attend seminars. If this is the case for your company, do some research on local training options. Sometimes there are cost-efficient classes right down the street, which will save you money on pricey flights and accommodations.
Become an Energy Efficient Business
Energy efficiency, traditionally a hallmark of “green” companies, actually offers substantial financial benefits for all types of businesses. For example, using more efficient LED or CFL lighting can cut a company’s electric bill by hundreds of dollars annually. And while energy efficient light bulbs cost more initially, many companies see their investment returned in just one year.
Another way to cut your utility bill is to change your office thermostat a few degrees. Keep the building a few degrees cooler in winter and slightly warmer in the summer. Maintaining a moderate temperature will give you a more affordable energy bill without sacrificing employee comfort.
Consider Buying Used
Finally, small-business owners should consider buying used equipment whenever possible. Obviously it may not be feasible to buy everything secondhand — an office that works primarily on computers won’t be able to scrape by with out-of-date technology, for instance. However, things like furniture, desks, and basic printers and copiers are generally safe to buy used. This prevents the company from wasting a large portion of their budget on unnecessary purchases that depreciate quickly.
Although running a small business takes a lot of planning and oversight, these tips can help business owners ease the financial burdens that will inevitably arise. Using expert advice and following blogs created specifically for business owners can also give you helpful insights for revenue management. Cut costs and save in the office with these financial tips to see your business budget grow year after year.