When running a business, the economy can present a roller coaster ride in profits, but can also lead to tough financial decisions on behalf of the business owner. One great decision taken by many business owners is to cut back on the overall business expenses to compensate for the lower revenue. The following are quick and easy ways businesses can cut back and save money.
Tip 1: Go Open Source
The software required to run businesses can be thousands upon thousands of dollars. Even with software licensing, businesses will still be placing a large amount of money toward operational costs. As a business expands these costs for software only rises.
The best alternative to expensive software packages is to move toward and open source platform.
The following are a few alternatives to expensive software (these options are a great way to save money at a business):
- Use Linux instead of Windows or Mac
- Use Open Office instead of Microsoft Office
- Use Google Docs as an office suite
With just a few of the “big” software packages eliminated, more money can be reinvested back into the business as opposed to paying for the operational costs.
Tip 2: Go after market with printing
Printing can be one of the largest costs toward a business. With thousands of documents being printed each day, ink and toner costs can quickly rise as one of the biggest costs to run a business.
Over the years, the after market toner and ink industry has seen a sharp rise in interest and quality. Through stringent quality control and research, after market printer supplies have proved to be a great alternative to OEM prices.
The two quickest and easiest ways businesses can save money with their printer are:
- Refill their own ink and toner cartridges (biggest savings)
- Use remanufactured or compatible printer supplies
Coupled with a push for printers which are energy efficient and controllable settings, a business can save thousands of dollars each year by eliminating a large portion of their print costs.
Tip 3: Focus on the best customers
There are good customers and bad customers at every small business. Although many businesses don’t want to give up any opportunity to generate money, there are hidden costs to doing business with bad customers.
With a bad customer, businesses will be using up a large amount of time to satisfy them. Hours upon the phone, refunds and constant headaches are caused by bad customers. Instead of dealing with this, businesses should trim off customers which cause the most trouble for the small return.
Instead of dealing with bad customers, businesses should realize that their best customers are ones which generate the business the most amount of money. Businesses can save money by only focusing on the great customers. Reinvest the money saved from removing the bad customers, give the best customers a unique experience and the business will soon be generating more and saving money in tandem.
Tip 4: Consider a 4-Day work week
Technology is amazing. Instead of the normal 40 hour work week that’s become a staple for most businesses, it’s becoming apparent that a 4 day work week is actually very efficient and can help save businesses a massive amount of money.
With a whole day eliminated, costs such as power, phone, printing and many others can be eliminated. As businesses remove a day in the work schedule, the same amount of work can be accomplished and keep employees happy because of a three day weekend.
Tip 5: Build organic traffic
For any business advertising on the web, the first choice is to utilize paid search such as Pay Per Click, banner ads or countless other platforms. These costs to advertise on the web continue to grow as more businesses transition online. As costs rise and competition becomes fierce, the smart choice is for businesses to build organic traffic – completely free and a great way for businesses to save money.
The three best ways for businesses to save money on advertising are:
- Install a blog, write great content and reach high search engine rankings
- Use social media to generate buzz around products and services
- Hold contests and promotions which have customers tell another
Instead of spending money toward paid advertising, time invested toward free traffic will continue to save business money years down the line.
As businesses continue to evolve as they transition to the web, all business owners should continually push to try new things. The traditional model of the 40 hour work week, advertising platforms, operational objectives and many other aspects will eventually transition – it’s better to keep ahead of the curve, evolve with the time and save money while doing it.