Save your struggling small business by cutting costs without having to lay off your workers.
- Step 1: Lease or sublet any unused space or equipment your small business has. Make money on space and equipment that is just sitting there.
- Step 2: Cut employee costs. If you don't need someone to be in the office full-time, have them work freelance. Or have them work from home and telecommute. Pay for their internet access and supply computers. Fewer employees translates to smaller office space.
- Step 3: Lower your mailing costs. Have the postal service clean up your mailing list to make sure it is accurate. Ship in bulk to save costs and switch to an e-newsletter instead of mailing it.
- Step 4: Save on travel expenses. Try to meet online in a video conference. If you have to travel, have employees share rental cars and rooms when possible. Buy tickets online and avoid eating in hotels, as this is usually more expensive. Cutting costs here and there can mean the difference between going under and being in business for years to come.
- FACT: According to the United States Justice Department, in a 2010 lawsuit against Visa and MasterCard, merchant fees cost businesses about $35 billion a year.
- Step 5: Get rewards and discounts. Sign up for member rewards at office supply and electronics stores. Talk to any trade association that you belong to and find out whether you're eligible for any sort of discount on your insurance.
- Step 6: Put a moratorium on office supplies. Don't let your employees buy any more supplies for the office until absolutely necessary. Force them to use the supplies available. Collect free pens and notepads from trade shows.
- Step 7: Buy only the equipment you need. Set up a network printer that all of the office computers can use rather than buying several printers. Purchase used equipment and attend going-out-of-business sales when buying for your business.
- TIP: Invest in motion sensors that turn off lights when no one is in a room.
- Step 8: Avoid merchant fees from credit card companies. Use online payment services like Paypal, or have costumers pay with electronic debits from their checking accounts.
- TIP: Offer your customers perks, like cash-back bonuses or airline miles, if they typically get them from using their credit card.
- Step 9: Use open-source software to save money typically spent on expensive software. There are many free programs available that are just as good for use in the office.
- Step 10: Save on energy costs. Buy energy-efficient technology for the office and have your employees shut down their computers, turn off lights, and shut off air conditioners when they aren't being used.