Here are 8 tips from Melinda F. Emerson, SmallBizLady, that small business owners can implement now to save money.
1. Track Expenses Using a Budget.
Budgets are about planning and tracking spending – you need financial information to make business decisions. Track business expenses by month or by quarter. Ideally, you should have a twelve month budget, but at the very least, make a three-month budget.
2. Eliminate Unnecessary Expenses.
Club memberships or services with monthly fees can add up over a twelve month period. Evaluate whether you actually use the private dining room, the postage meter, the online credit alert service, or your merchant services account. Sometimes a private memberships club will allow you to park your membership for a reduced fee.
3. Relocate to Cheaper Office Space.
Overhead is one of the largest monthly fixed expenses for a small business. If you have a long term lease, start first with trying to renegotiate with your existing landlord. If that doesn’t work, look for other space or consider retreating back into your home. Contact the county where you are located to seek out HUB Zone space or see if they offer any tax abatement for locating in a certain area.
4. Lower Interest Rates on Loan Payments.
Work with your bank to arrange for automatic debit payments. Your bank will lower your interest rate if you agree to automatic debits.
5. Investigate if You Are Eligible For a Reduced Fees For Shipping.
I recently learned that my membership in the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) made me eligible for discounts for shipping and with rental car companies. Check member benefits with your local chamber of commerce and any other small business organization where you’re a member.
6. Lease or Buy Used Equipment.
Unfortunately, there are many businesses large and small going out of business these days. There are plenty of opportunities to pick up gently used office furniture and equipment. You might also be able to pick additional office supplies. Try second hand furniture stores, too.
7. Consider Bartering Services.
You never know who might need your services. Start with business contacts, but do not overlook your personal day care provider, law professional, hair stylist or mechanic. You can also join barter network organizations. The key to bartering successfully is good verbal or written communication between the two parties. Whatever you agree to, be sure to communicate it in writing.
8. Comparison Shop for Everything.
Just as large companies require three bids to make a purchase, so should your business. Search the internet for deals, but beware of shipping fees. Sometimes the cost with shipping is not a better deal. Use the internet price to haggle with your local vendor for a better price for services, such as free delivery and installation.
Melinda F. Emerson, SmallBizLady, is one of America’s leading small business experts, whose mission is to end small business failure. Forbes Magazine recently named her one of the Top 20 women for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter where she hosts #SmallBizChat, Wednesdays 8-9pm ET for emerging entrepreneurs. She publishes a resource blog www.succeedasyourownboss.com and is also the author of the national bestseller Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works. (Adams Media)