When it comes to the bottom line, there are essentially only two ways to increase profits – either sell more or cut costs. If you’re looking to tighten up your budget, consider these cost cutting opportunities for small business owners.
Credit Card Fees
Start by investigating your bank’s fee schedule, read the fine print and find out exactly how much you are paying. Could you reduce your costs by changing the way you make or receive payments? If you accept credit card payments from customers, you could be paying too much in processing fees. Most banks will offer an introductory period where transactions are free or have reduced fees. Higher volume users are also in a good position to negotiate discounts and lower rates.
Marketing is all about maximising profitability for your small business. Track your activity to make sure you are getting a measurable return on your marketing investments. It can be easy to find yourself throwing money at the same marketing activity month after month, rather than thinking critically and creatively about how to attract new customers. If your marketing investment is not paying off, be honest about it and move on.
From salary continuance to key person insurance to workers insurance, it’s important to review what you have and what you are spending. Insurance company underwriters often make mistakes in their classifications – usually in favour of the insurance company. Every year review your insurance – get multiple quotes, check for loadings, combine insurance, watch for double coverage and make annual payments in full. Also review your provider’s claim process, they may have lower premiums but they may also have a lengthy and complicated claims process.
While it can be one of the hardest areas of your business to consider cutting, it can also be one of the most important. If three employees are doing the tasks of two employees, you may have to let one go. Being a smart businessperson is evaluating whether you have the right people, in the right roles and whether they are all adding value to your business.
Memberships and Subscriptions
If you’re no longer reading a particular magazine or logging on to a subscription website it’s time to re-evaluate. Review your monthly subscription fees and cancel any that don’t benefit you or your small business.
When it comes to software, most businesses overbuy by about 60% in some areas and are not adequately licensed in other areas. Software licensing is one area that will typically have the highest price fluctuations for exactly the same product. The prices for identical packages can sometimes vary as much as 50 percent. Make sure you research prices and rates to ensure you are getting maximum value on your investment.
When was the last time you actually looked at the detailed plan for your phone? Do you frequently exceed your small business data plan? Do you end up paying extra? Would your business benefit from switching plans or changing carriers? Shop around and don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal.
More often than not, the rates Internet providers advertise are not the lowest rates available. It helps to know what comparable businesses are paying to ensure you are getting the best rate. The bottom line: when it comes to saving money, no one knows their small business operations better than you. But while you are powering toward the end goal in front of you, don’t forget it’s worth taking the time to see if you aren’t missing an opportunity to save money.