You’re running a small business. You employee a few people too. And you’re actively looking for ways to keep your costs as low as possible. But you still need to run things efficiently. Well, the quicker you get a grasp on your costs, the more you can save. As a result, you hopefully won’t need to lay off employees or close your doors because of a few low-performing months.
Most businesses often look at flexible expenses. For example, they might consider cutting marketing and advertising first. But these shouldn’t get cut first. Think of marketing and advertising as the lifeblood of your business. They make you money. If you cut them, your revenue and profits could drop too. And this could start a never-ending cycle to the bottom.
Instead, take a look at a few other major ongoing expenses in your business. Consider cuts that won’t impact your productivity or bottom line. It may surprise you how much you’re paying for things you don’t need. Just open your mind to finding alternatives. This could include alternatives that better suit your business. Don’t worry if they weren’t intended for business use.
Here are a few of the top cost-cutting hacks worth considering.
No matter who you are, where you’re from, what you do, you wish you could cut your utility bills – and you can.
The ability to automatically turn off all lights, thermostats and appliances each night, and turn them back on in the morning, can make a world of difference to your electric and gas bill. It will also give you comfort and peace-of-mind, knowing you can leave early and not worry about what was left on.
The hack: Every day, we hear about solutions like Google Nest and Philips Hue, marketed to households, as if it has no value to businesses whatsoever. But the truth is, there’s no reason you can’t use these exact same devices and tools to control your office remotely, at price points that are meant to serve households.
Products and services that are made specifically for families/homes are clearly going to have better price points than services which are created for businesses, no matter what size they are. The trick is to find which products that are marketed at B2C price points are also relevant to your small business. Then, you capitalize on the opportunity.
Digital storage is also something we pay a lot for even though we don’t always need that much space. Business solutions are almost always targeted at larger companies, with a lot of features you don’t need with a higher price point. However, as with the other points on this list, if you look at alternatives not necessarily geared at businesses, you may find a much more cost-effective solution that’s perfect for your business.
For example, if you’re using a popular solution like Dropbox for cloud storage and file sharing for your business of 4 people, you’re paying at least $600 per month for 3 TB of space.
The hack: Drop the business account and find a cloud storage solution that is meant to help small groups of users that are not meant to pay hefty business budgets.
For example, if you switch to a pCloud Family Plan, you’ll be able to get 2 TB of space for $500 for a lifetime. Yes, you read that correctly. In less than a year, it will have paid for itself and you’ll have that space forever. As featured on Softonic, this is a great cloud storage plan for families, but that doesn’t mean that your small businesses can’t have a piece of the pie.
The only difference is that you’ll be getting one less terabyte, but let’s be honest, most small businesses will never use close to 2 TB so you won’t even miss it. So instead of thinking about how you lose one terabyte, focus on how you’re saving up on storage space you weren’t going to use anyway.
Use Zoom, Skype, Slack, and other free VoIP online calling and texting solutions for business. This avoids dropping a ton of cash on unlimited phone calls and texts.
Do you and your employees work mostly in office or from home? If so most of these calls go through the office or home-based internet package you already pay for. If out-and-about, make lengthier calls from somewhere with free WiFi. And use your phone for emergencies and quick on-the-go calls only.
The hack: Instead of paying for expensive business phone packages from the outset, check out unlimited Internet and data packages and compare the rates. You can even try out a pay-as-you-go option for a few months to compare costs.
While there is a possibility that business phone plans may actually suit your needs best, many times they don’t, and the last thing you want is to keep spending hundreds of dollars extra each month on phone minutes and data you aren’t even using.
While you may constantly need supplies to keep your business running, chances are that there are some items that can wait a few months, especially if you know you’re going to get a great deal on the price.
If there’s one thing holidays have become known for these days, it’s massive sales. They used to just be for households and individuals, but now even B2B manufacturers, retailers and service providers are getting in the game.
The hack: Bring the holiday spirits into your business as well and shop only when the items you need are likely to be on sale.
The biggest holidays you should look out for are, of course, the December holiday season and Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, which all fall on the weekend immediately on the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Those are the days you’ll most likely get the biggest savings on almost anything. However, be sure to consider other sales-friendly holidays for specific needs – such as Mother’s Day for appliances, furnishings and decor, and back-to-school season in late August for office supplies.
You’ll need accountants, lawyers, graphic designers to build a solid foundation for your business. But plan strategically. You won’t need them all the time. Don’t pay a retainer to these professionals each month. Hire them on a much shorter, as-needed basis. You can still keep your business in tip-top shape.
The hack: When you hire these professionals initially, have them assess your potential business needs, then help you create document templates, spreadsheets or set up online tools you, or your employee, can use moving forward. Then, you can hire them again whenever you need to handle larger or unique situations.
For example, you can have a graphic designer create customized templates for the most-used social media and presentation designs in an easy-to-use tool like Canva, which you can tweak on your own. Then, if you’re launching a new campaign or have a massive graphic design project, you can outsource it to them accordingly.
Similarly, you can have an accountant set up software like Wave Accounting or QuickBooks Online based on your business needs. You can then handle the bookkeeping, invoices, etc. on your own, and only bring them in when you have a change in circumstances or to handle major matters like filing taxes.
These represent just a few of the cost-cutting hacks available to you. You’ll find lots more, depending on the type of business you run. To find them, simply go through your regular expenses. Then ask yourself whether you use if you use what you pay for to full capacity. And do other non-business-oriented alternatives exist you haven’t considered? Could they work better for your business? Make some changes. You’ll see how much less you save maintaining your business on a monthly and yearly basis.