No matter what type of small business you run, the overhead can get expensive. Every dollar counts in today’s tight economy, and businesses of all sizes are looking for ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality.
These cost-saving tips can help you increase your working capital—and your profits—while still providing everything you need to run a great business.
Start Out With a WordPress Website
Every small business needs a professional website. However, the cost of hiring an agency to design and maintain it adds up fast. Fortunately, for businesses without a big website budget, there’s WordPress.
WordPress.com is a hosted solution that’s frequently used by bloggers, while WordPress.org is a downloadable, feature-rich platform for website creation that requires a separate domain host. Both are free, and both offer thousands of free themes and plug-ins to enhance your website.
Digitize (Almost) Everything
Making paper a thing of the past for your small business can save you plenty in both resources and time. With a paperless office, you’ll have lower storage and printing costs, and improved efficiency and collaboration capabilities.
If your small business uses an invoice system, switching to electronic invoices will save on printing, postage, and time. For any documents that still come to you on paper, an inexpensive scanner saves you having to store and keep track of them.
You can also digitize a lot of your hardware, like external drives and additional workstations, with cloud-based solutions for backup and virtualization.
Use Software That Saves Money
Software often constitutes the bulk of the IT budget for most small businesses. But like all other industries, the software market is highly competitive—and free, open-source platforms have emerged to address nearly every business need. These free software platforms typically offer the same features as their paid counterparts, for the low price of nothing.
Chances are, you can find open-source software to replace just about anything you’re using now. As a freelance writer, I use Freedcamp for project management—a free online solution that’s also used by companies like Google and Adobe. There are free alternatives for everything from business email, to productivity suites, to customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
You can also use software in place of hiring or outsourcing tasks, such as QuickBooks for accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll.
Ask About Discounts
A lot of vendors and suppliers offer discounts that they don’t advertise—you just have to ask about them. For example, Rackspace, Microsoft, and Amazon Web Services have an array of promotions for start-ups, including some free services.
Many suppliers will give quantity discounts that can save you 50 percent or more. There may also be discounts for paying early, interest-free vendor credit loans, and special small business discounts for events or conferences. Simply asking vendors about any discounts they have, and what you can do to earn them, will turn up surprising savings.
When you run a business, saving money is always a good thing. How can you cut costs for your small business?