Small business owner? Your first port of call for improving your bottom line is to cut your running expenses.
There are plenty of ways to do it, and little things soon add up. Here’s a few ideas:
- Get a telecoms expert to review your business system and report back on ways you can save cash on broadband, telephone lines and extensions. Many smaller independent telecoms agents have access to all the big suppliers, including BT, and they know the lingo. They’ll be able to track down the best deals and tighten up your system so it works beautifully but costs less. Better still, they’ll often review your system for free
- Wean yourself off printing and save cash on printers and cartridges. As a freelancer, I work at home and never bothered to buy a printer. I run a completely paper-free office, with 100% electronic filing, and I do everything by email. Seven years down the line I’ve never missed having a printer. The odd time I’ve needed to (only three or four times!) I’ve just use our local internet cafe’s printers. Alternatively, only print when it’s 100% necessary and buy discounted ink cartridges using our discount codes
- The same goes for printed collateral like compliment slips and brochures. Digital print technology means small print quantities are great value for money so there’s no need to print thousands when you only really need a hundred. I don’t use printed materials either – do you really need them? I can’t remember the last time anyone sent me a compliment slip! I do use postcards for marketing sometimes, when my online marketing efforts aren’t pulling in enough new work, but I just get a bunch printed as and when I need them, which also saves waste if I need to change the message
- Do you use an expensive merchant account? If you sell online it’s worth offering PayPal as a payment option. It’s safe for your customers, takes seconds and can cost you less, with lower transaction charges. Do your sums first to see whether it’ll save you money
- I’ve always used my bog standard personal bank account for business, but then again I’m a one woman band. My bank has never objected, it saves me a mint on business bank account charges and as a freelancer I don’t need the extra services a business account provides. What about you?
- Laptops use as much as 90% less energy than a desktop PC (remarkable!) and reconditioned laptops cost a lot less than new ones. Treat yourself to a nice, rugged, big-screened laptop when your desktop dies and you’ll save energy and cash
- I use Open Source software wherever possible because it’s… FREE! There’s at least one trusted, widely used open source alternative for designing and image manipulation, blogging, virus protection, you name it. Find them by typing things like open source version of PhotoShop into Google and check how other people rate the various choices
- Use the phone less, using email instead wherever possible. And sign up for something like Skype to get low cost calls
- Turn the lights off when you leave, and only light the areas of your premises you’re actually using instead of leaving them blazing for no good reason. Energy cost are horribly high, and they probably won’t go down in future unless some bright spark discovers how to do nuclear fission or overcomes the laws of physics to crack perpetual motion!
- Buy reconditioned or second hand equipment and office furniture, make the best use of discount codes and money off vouchers online, barter and haggle for the best price on everything you need to buy, and only buy things you really need
To make a start on saving right now, why not check out our brand new Talk Talk discount codes page!