Whether you are self-employed or have expanded to the point where you’re running a business with a small handful of employees, the larger the operation, the more everything seems to cost. In order to keep a handle on business overheads to stop them from crippling the company, you need to seek out ways to cut costs and find those bargains.
Here are 10 ways to make your business more efficient in 2016.
#1. Go Digital and Reduce Paper Usage
It is fair to say that you may still need to print the occasional letter to send in the mail, but for the most part the cost of printers, ink and toner can be safely removed from the business by going digital. A cloud server solution like Google Drive for Work, Dropbox for Business or Box can store digital versions of every document. Contracts can be prepared, approved and signed online using Docusign or RightSignature.com removing the need to print and send out contractual agreements. This will help better protect the environment by reducing the business’ carbon footprint at the same time too.
#2. Take Advantage of Payment Terms
Unlike for personal consumers, businesses that are invoiced by companies for goods and services can take advantage of the payment terms offered for prompt payment. Companies keen to keep their accountants receivable down to a sensible level may offer discounted payment terms of the billed amount.
#3. Look for Yearly Subscription Deals
Many online services that businesses use, like cloud services, web hosting, and Microsoft Office 365, offer subscriptions that heavily discount when the customer is willing to pay for one year upfront. The discount for being willing to part with a larger upfront amount can be upwards of 20-30%. It is important to be aware of the financial status of the companies that you are doing business with in case they are running into financial trouble. Take a quick look over their most recent online annual report to verify their finances before paying a year in advance.
#4. Find Discount Coupons
Using discount coupons is common among bargain hunters, but less frequently used by business owners who wrongly believe that the time it takes isn’t worth the savings. A coupon website like Frugaa.com lets the business owner quickly search by retailer, category or budget to track down suitable discount coupons. The categories covered include computers, furniture, electronics, office supplies, and web hosting.
#5. Look into Strategic Outsourcing
The growing trend in America is for businesses to actively outsource tasks and projects that they do not need a full-time employee to cover. Part-time employees are expensive to employ, time-consuming to train up, and require office space, desks, computers, phones, and other office equipment to support their needs.
Outsourcing to US-based or offshore personnel reduces the requirement for office equipment and larger office space which allows the business to downsize their office to something more reasonable. It is also worth looking at whether the office needs to be situated in such a prestigious location or whether a place a little bit more off the main drag would be better.
#6. Switch to VoIP Communication
Using a digital VoIP business solution can help reduce the phone bill from the local Telco. Many companies would benefit from a switch to Skype for Business, Google Voice or another VoIP solution that offers more affordable calling rates during peak hours, inexpensive voicemail setup, and good call quality.
Regular business contacts who also use the same VoIP solution can usually be called free of charge. These types of VoIP solutions also have the option for individual or group video calls with similar pricing.
#7. Market Using Social Media More Than Traditional Marketing Channels
Consumers and businesses have moved into social media in a big way over the past couple of years. This has made it cheaper than ever to present your brand in an affordable way without needing to spend on billboard advertising or TV spots to make a strong impression.
People who wish to deal with your businesses like to see honest, straightforward communication that they can trust. Informative Facebook posts and replies to customer comments, interesting photos pinned to Pinterest pin boards, and live streamed Periscope chats all help to put a face to the brand and increase brand awareness. This can be done at a fraction of the usual cost of traditional advertising whilst being able to reach your target market more effectively.
#8. Cut Travel Expenses
Do you or your executive need to travel at all? By all means, look for discounted flights and use Uber to cut down on expensive taxi journeys from the airport, but first consider if a virtual meeting can take the place of an in-person meeting? Companies are beginning to see the benefit of this approach to save employee time lost during transit and to remove the cost of travel completely.
#9. Negotiate Harder
It can be a good idea to learn to become a better negotiator. Sales trainers like Grant Cardone offer sales training to teach employees how to gain the interest of their prospect, present products and services in a convincing manner, and to close the sale. Whilst most of us don’t think of ourselves as salespeople, we go through life selling our ideas, negotiating, and taking actions. We can all learn to negotiate harder to secure bargains when buying goods and services for the business.
#10. Review Every Expense
It is easy to get into a rut and maintain the status quo. To cut down costs, we need to examine all business expenses with a fresh eye to see whether the business can do better with another supplier or if there is another way to acquire the service at a lower price point. Don’t rest on your laurels; brainstorm ways to reduce expenses by taking a couple of items every morning and thinking up ways to spend less on them.
Reducing business overheads in 2016 is about being smarter with how money is spent in the company. It is all too easy to run on automatic, get busy with running the business operation, and ignore the money disappearing out of the business via expenses every day. Isn’t it high time to start looking for discounts and ways to do things differently?
Images “tablet with financial word cloud / Shutterstock.com“
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