For your business to grow and thrive, you obviously need to focus on your big idea but if you can spend just a little time on small business tips, you can save a lot of money every day you are in business.
Many of these small business tips, as you will see, are little things to cut costs or boost profits in minor ways. A tip that can save you $30 a month will result in an annual savings of $360. Over a 10-year period, that's $3,600. $3,600 from a little tip? We like those kind ideas.
Key Business Tips to Save You Money Now and in the Future
In this section, you will find many small business tips that you can quickly apply to make or save money now and over the long term. A quick reminder: incorporate these small business tips into your company but don't get hung up on them and don't focus on them to the detriment of more important things. Some entrepreneurs we have interviewed seem to be in business to save money, not make money: take advantage of cost-savers but keep your focus on the big picture...that's where the money and your success will be.
Create barter relationships -- Call it what you will...barter, barter and swap, barter trade or barter exchange, it is a small business tip that you can use to save money now and as long as you are in business. Depending on where your business is located, you can develop barter relationships in your office complex or office building, in your market area or online at barter sites -- or, best yet, all three! There are even barter clubs you can join. If you are currently starting your business out of your home, you can go online to find the top barter websites, register and begin using the services. What makes bartering so exciting and worthwhile is that you know your business and can turn out your product or service rather easily as can your barter partners with their own products or services. And bartered services can include almost anything. Recently, a commercial printer and a restaurateur exchanged services: the printer took his spouse out for a fine dining experience while the restaurant owner got his new, finely printed business cards that he needed. Both businesses saved several hundred dollars. You need to check with your accountant or tax professional to discuss the tax implications of bartering.
Save money on travel through video conferencing -- Save money on travel expenses by using video conferencing instead of face-to-face meetings. What is video conferencing? Video conferencing or video teleconferencing allows two or more locations to speak and interact by two-way video and audio transmissions simultaneously. It is different from videophone because it caters to conferences rather than individuals. The great thing about video conferencing is that you do not have to invest penny one in equipment if you choose not to. There are probably local office business centers in your neighborhood that offer this service as well as dedicated conferencing centers. Whatever the cost for these services, it will be much less the price tag of traveling to the location, the time spent doing it and the personal wear and tear. There are web video conference services available, should you wish to go that way. All in all, it is a great money saver.
Bundle telephone/internet services to cut costs -- There are cable deals and deals from the phone company today that allow you to cut costs by bundling services...telephone service, internet connection and possibly a cable TV hookup. You can typically save money by bundling all three of these services through one carrier.
Move over to VOIP to cut your phone bills substantially -- The VOIP telephone, which is also known as voice over IP or voice over internet protocol, is a small business tip that can be a solution to high telephone expenses at your new company. Even some of the largest companies we visit now have VOIP phone service. VOIP service providers drastically cut your telephone expenses over the traditional phone company. VOIP is telephone service over the internet. You need to have the technology to be connected to the internet through high speed internet modem equipment to take advantage of VOIP. Some VOIP systems can be had virtually free; others cost a few dollars a month.
Consider an office cell phone -- If you are launching a company that you know will by its nature stay small well into the future, consider adding a cell phone line to your current cell phone service as "the office phone." This strategy offers you a big savings over the traditional land line and provides you with unique flexibility, if you are out of the office a lot. Often, if you have existing cell phone service, you can add an additional line for as little as $10 a month and get a free phone to boot. If you have a cell phone plan that provides several hundred minutes a month, this could well take care of the time you are spending on the office phone.
Consider a prepaid cell phone to cut costs -- Have you ever thought of using one of the many prepaid wireless plans rather than the cell phone plan you probably have right now? Depending on your daily or monthly usage, it could cut your costs, especially if your cell phone is a back-up for you. Before you make the switch, go on your cell phone service provider's web site and check out its prepaid plan. If you are not the type who is going around with a cell phone growing out of your ear, this type of plan could save you substantial dollars over the course of a year. You need to study the plans carefully and make sure the one you choose fits your usage habits.
Use a virtual office to save money -- Your home office may be all you need to run your new company but you maybe thinking about leasing expensive office space and then decorating it to present a professional face to the world. One way to have that professional face while saving money and lots of it is to go with a virtual office. A virtual office allows you to have a fine address for your business at which you receive your mail and have a receptionist answer your business phone professionally in your company's name. Then when you need a real office or board room to meet with clients or other members of your team, you merely call ahead, reserve space and your virtual office becomes your real office for a long as you need it.
Save money on your new checking account by asking questions first -- One of your initial actions when you start a business is to open a business checking account. Before you take that step, take the time to go to three banks to learn about their services. Ideally, what you want is free checking, a very short hold on business checks you deposit, online access at no cost and new printed checks at little cost. You also want to go over the various fees that are charged such as when you go into overdraft, use of atm and so forth. One entrepreneur became enamored with "free checking" advertised by the local branch of a national bank and jumped at it. Later, he learned to his horror that it took almost two weeks for the bank to clear his out-of-town checks. Since checks actually clear electronically at the speed of light, this bank had a virtual lock on $10,000 of his money week in and week out...some free checking! He went back to his old bank. So ask a lot of questions about fees. Whenever you deal with a bank, if something seems too good to be true, it is. In recent interviews with small business people about their banking habits, the one positive that emerged was that the moderate size regional banks gave the best service and offered the best products--not the national banks.
Use a cash back credit card to cut costs -- If you have a relatively good credit rating and pay off your credit card debt each billing cycle, consider using cash back credit cards to cut costs in your business. The typical cash back credit card will offer a 5% cash back on travel, home improvement stores, department stores, gas, restaurants and others purchases -- things businesses use a lot. Sometimes the card companies will offer a 5% to 20% cash back at their online shopping sites, although what often happens is that the price is jacked up and you can get better buys elsewhere. Cash back cards do not have the lowest interest rate so if you cannot pay off your card at the end of each month, it might be better going with another card. Obviously, if you can pay it off, the interest rate really doesn’t matter because it would not apply to your balance. Check the annual fee and all other fees associated with this card to be sure it makes sense and will be a real savings for you.
Use business auctions to save on purchases -- Try to make your major purchases at auctions to save big dollars. As you start a business, you can find great deals on office furnishings, office equipment and perhaps even consumable office supplies such as printer paper. The trick to using auctions well is to give yourself a lot of time because it is virtually impossible to coordinate a purchase and an auction at the last minute.
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