It costs money to run a business. Even small businesses with low overhead incur certain costs, and any money you spend detracts from your overall profit. Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce your monthly business expenses.
1. Go Electronic
I run a freelance writing business from home, and I try wherever possible to conduct business electronically. When you submit documents via e-mail, for example, you don’t have to spend money for paper or postage. Use the Internet to pay your bills, communicate with service providers, and send out your monthly newsletter. Even to send faxes.
2. Use Your Cell Phone
Unless you spend a significant portion of your day on the phone (e.g., you run a call center), you can significantly reduce your monthly business expenses by getting rid of your land line. Your cell phone will suffice for most calls, and you can even get a separate business number from Google Voice or a similar service routed to your phone for free.
3. Cut Products and Services That Don’t Earn Their Keep
You might think it’s a great service to offer, but if none of your customers takes advantage of it, your marketing and administrative efforts might be draining your bank account. To reduce monthly business expenses, cut dead weight. Get rid of products and services that don’t “earn out” after they’re launched.
4. Share with Others
You can cut down on business expenses by sharing with other business owners, suggests Entrepreneur.com. Partner with others in the same boat to buy office supplies in bulk, for example, then split up the purchases. You can also use each other’s equipment; maybe you have a fax machine and they have a laser printer. Rely on each other.
5. Buy Generic
Many office supply and big box stores carry their own generic versions of products that cost much less than the name brands. There is usually not a significant quality difference between the two, and you can try out different things to see whether they will work for you. But buying generic will save significant money for your business.
6. Turn Off the Lights
Lighting is important for any small business, but lights burning in an unoccupied room are wasting money. To reduce monthly business expenses, consider using motion detectors or timers to control the lighting in your office or storefront. If no one is there, either because of the time of day or because no motion is detected, the lights won’t be running up your electric bill.
7. Forget New
You don’t have to buy new equipment and supplies to run a successful business. Used or pre-owned products are often just as effective, especially for back-end tasks. If you run a retail store, don’t discount the value of used shelving and lighting fixtures. You can give new life to old things with a fresh coat of paint and new hardware.
8. Attend Trade Shows
These events can reduce your monthly business expenses in numerous ways. First, a single trade show can take the place of lots of paid advertising you might need to run otherwise. Second, you’ll find great deals from other exhibitors, which means you might get a price break on something you’re buying for your business anyway.
9. Encourage Working from Home
If you can work from home rather than a leased office or storefront space, you’ll save a lot of money. But even if you need the commercial space, your employees cost you cash every time they come through the door. Allowing them to work from home one or two days per week is like money in your pocket.
10. Watch the Utilities
Utility companies, from phone and Internet to lighting, are always raising their prices. Keep tabs on what you’re spending for utilities, and keep your eye open for other deals. When it makes sense, switch providers. You can also call your current provider and let them know you’re unhappy with the price increases. To keep your business, they might lower your bill.