At UpCounsel, we are all about saving businesses money! We love it, we obsess about it and we have fun doing it – especially for our customers.
Making wise financial decisions during critical times can make or break a new business or start-up with a limited budget. Here are twenty business cost saving ideas to help reduce operating costs:
- Barter. Try trading your product or service with another business that offers something that is normally a business expense. Commercial barter brokers like IMS Barter or BarterQuest.com can help you establish exchanges with other businesses.
- Shop around. You may think that the time saved by buying supplies all in one place is worth a higher price, but shopping around for business goods can save on costs that will eventually add up. By taking a few minutes to research prices on office supplies, you may find a much better deal. If you feel loyal to a specific supplier, check if they will price-match their competitor who is offering your supplies for cheaper.
- Share your knowledge. Contact local newspapers and blogs to ask if you can submit an article for publication. The public will consider you an expert on your industry while you promote your business (for free!) to the local community.
- Buy used office equipment. Scouring craigslist or scoping used furniture stores can save your business a significant amount of money. Many used furniture stores cater to businesses, making it easy to find deeply discounted desks, office chairs and conference room tables.
- Join a trade association. Business and trade associations can give you access to discounts on things like insurance and travel expenses. These savings can equal to more than the cost of the membership itself.
- Insurance is essential. It is imperative to purchase appropriate insurance for your business to protect your investment in the event of a disaster.
- Check for group insurance rates. If your business is one with a trade association, check to see if your organization offers competitive group insurance rates.
- Hire interns. College students are hungry for experience and will work for free or school credit.
- Hire independent contractors. Payments made to independent contractors are not taxable by the IRS.
- Network! Making an effort to stay connected with people who are likely to refer business to you will expand your client base.
- Deduct, deduct, deduct. Consulting with a tax professional who can point out tax deductions that haven’t been utilized can save money.
- Use the right credit card. Credit companies offer a variety of benefits for businesses. If you pay off your credit card balance every month, it may be wise to switch to a card with a higher A.P.R. but better rewards.
- Choose the right place to operate. Do you need to work from an executive suite? Consider working from home or switching from a full-scale retail location to a kiosk or temporary space.
- Reduce shipping costs. Did you know that the U.S. Postal Service offers discounted shipping rates if you barcode your mail? Check out more info on the U.S.P.S. Parcel Barcode Discount.
- Be picky about your mailings and your mailing list. Consider reducing the frequency of your mailed advertisements and stop spending money on mailings to customers who do not live in the immediate area.
- Be your own advertisement. Make an effort to promote your business whenever you can by wearing clothing or using gear with your logo and URL. Be sure to include your URL in your email signature, too.
- Download forms. Instead of paying someone to generate a form, look for one you can customize yourself and print for free. UpCounsel has many free customizable forms that may be useful to your business.
- Outsource smaller tasks. Many companies focus on completing small tasks, which can free up your own time to focus on more income-generating work. Companies like TaskRabbit will connect you with background-checked people in your neighborhood that are willing to run errands or write blog posts.
- Include fee agreements in contracts. When negotiating or hiring professionals like attorneys or accountants, be sure to include a written fee agreement to prevent surprise costs down the road.
- Stay loyal. Establishing a loyal relationship with suppliers can result in discounts for repeat business.
Have other business cost saving ideas. Share them here or tweet us at @upcounsel with the hashtag #business_savings.