As a small business owner, you know the value of every dollar, quarter, and cent you spend. Even when your sales are skyrocketing, it’s important to stretch every dime in case of an unexpected slump or any surprise expenses. Lowering costs whenever possible is just as vital to the success of your business as driving sales—without a combination of both, you can find yourself in trouble. As bills pile up, we know it can seem overwhelming to try and save money at the same time, but with the 7 tips and trick below, you’ll have no trouble at all.
Other small businesses in your area are also looking to cut costs, so team up so you both can save some dough. If you host a sidewalk sale, invite another local business with a similar customer demographic to join you and share the cost of space and materials. Sharing distribution channels, mailing lists, or even suppliers is another great way to collaborate and cross-promote.
Direct mail is an effective form of offline marketing, but having an extensive, lengthy mailing list can be costly, especially if you haven’t recently parsed through it for errors or updates. USPS offers free mailing list clean-up services, and will note any incomplete addresses and even update zip codes to provide you with additional discounts. The Direct Marketing Association also recommends printing “Address Correction Requested” on the front of your snail mail to eliminate nonresponders or weak leads. Make sure to do your homework on any direct mailing services in your area, such as Valpak, to take advantage of group discounts.
As a growing business, bartering is both a fantastic skill to utilize and a great way to save on cash. Other local small businesses are in the same position you are—trying to scrimp and save at every corner. Bartering services is a great way to assist both organizations. For example, if you are a mechanic and you require plumbing repairs in your office, you could offer auto or appliance services in exchange for them. When you are in need of a service, always try to barter before offering to pay—you may not always succeed, but there’s no harm in trying!
While going green may seem like a challenge, using paperless methods to pay bills, receive invoices, and check bank statements will help to save you both money and time. Most banks, utility companies, and point-of-sale systems will even provide a financial incentive for opting to go paperless, or at the very least encourage it. Going green will also help you to save on paper costs if you provide emailed receipts to your customers, rather than hard copies. You should also make an effort to scan your documents whenever possible—it will help save on ink and paper, and enable you to send and share information easily.
Most banks carry hefty fees, so take your time to research the bank that offers all the amenities you’ll need down the road. While many are immediately drawn to a larger, national bank, oftentimes a more regional financial institution will work harder to earn your loyalty. Standard bank charges can include monthly maintenance fees, ATM usage, overdrafts, and mailing paper statements, and the list is even longer at some places. When selecting the perfect bank for your needs, be sure to investigate all requirements of your contract (such as a minimum required balance) and all benefits (such as fraud protection and interest rate).
When you’re in need of office materials, there’s no shame in exploring your options. It makes complete sense to buy gently used when you have the option and bandwidth to do so. New technology, printers, desks, and other daily-use supplies are perfect items to purchase used. Be sure to look in your local newspaper or neighborhood Facebook pages for going out of business sales—these will often have all the furnishings you’ll need to redecorate your entire office on a budget.
Referrals not only gain you loyal customers, but they also provide you with a nearly free method of advertising. Clients that come to you by way of referral generate 16% more in profit, and will help provide you with consistent month over month client growth. Offering a small incentive to the referrer for each customer referral, such as a free item after X number of referrals, will help to save you money on expensive advertising.