6 Ways for a Small Business to Reduce Operating Costs
It’s always great to have a successful quarter, or to break sales records. But there’s another way to shore up the bottom line of your small business: reduce your operating costs. In many cases, savings are one of multiple reasons to make changes. For example, by increasing your facility’s energy efficiency, you not only lower utility bills, but also operate in a more environmentally sustainable way.
Reviewing your budget at least annually and making sure that everything on it deserves to be there is a good idea. You may find ways to save money that were unavailable to you last year. Following are 6 ways small businesses can reduce their operating costs.
1. Re-Examine Your Marketing Strategy
You don’t necessarily need to give up traditional advertising media like print, radio, and television, but if you’re not familiar with the performance of a well-designed internet marketing strategy, you owe it to yourself to find out more. A smart paid advertising strategy, perhaps using social media ads, along with an overall online strategy that includes a great website, blog, and social media presence can result in far more bang for your marketing bucks.
2. Use the Cloud
Unless stringent security or other regulations require that you have servers and databases located on your premises, cloud services can be a smart way to save money. Not only is the up-front capital investment lower, you don’t have to worry about maintaining servers, and can scale up or down as necessary. Thoroughly research any cloud app provider you consider, to learn about their track record and the security measures they take to protect your data.
3. Cut Back on Paper and Associated Supplies
Replace paper forms and workflows with electronic equivalents, and you save time and resources while reducing your error rate. This goes for everything from HR forms to building maintenance requests to digital invoicing. Transitioning away from paper-based workflows cuts costs immediately in terms of paper, ink, and supplies, and cuts costs long term due to fewer errors and less time lost to things like tracking down a lost form.
4. Speak With Vendors About Leasing or Buying Used Equipment
You don’t have to buy business equipment new, and in some cases you don’t have to buy it at all, but can lease it. Weigh up all these options when you need a new office copier, print system, or even office furniture. When a local business upgrades its equipment or furniture, they may try to sell it themselves, or work with a used business equipment provider to sell it for them. Vendors may not heavily advertise used equipment, but it’s definitely worth asking about.
5. Embrace Mobility
If you have workers in the field, at job sites, or who travel frequently, make sure they can make the most of their mobile devices, whether they use their own or your company provides them. When your employees can log service calls, fill out forms, and submit claims from their tablets or phones, everyone saves time, and records will be more accurate since there’s less lag time between, say, a service call and filling out the virtual paperwork.
6. Optimize Your Tax Situation
If you find that you are paying a higher tax rate than the business next door (information you can get from city hall), you may be able to negotiate a better rate for yourself. Many municipal governments are willing to help small businesses by offering tax breaks, so it can’t hurt to ask. If your business is expanding, talking over your tax situation with your local government can work in your favor. They’d generally rather help you stay than move your business elsewhere.
When you use PerfectForms, an intuitive, cloud-based form creation software, you address several of these cost-saving measures. You can significantly cut down on paper and ink usage by creating electronic forms, you don’t have to have the servers on your premises, and you can make your forms and workflows mobile, so your workers in the field are always in sync with those in the office. If you’d like to learn more about how PerfectForms can help you cut operating expenses, we invite you to contact us at any time. We would be more than happy to speak with you and answer your questions.