Help your business flourish with some pruning and strategic watering. Here are ten quick tips to get you started on thinking about how to save money and increase the bottom line.
1. Get rid of meetings: Every physical meeting costs time, money, and productivity. Lower those costs by limiting participants, defining a clear meeting purpose, and using web-based tools and applications to gather virtually.
2. Pay in advance: Find out which businesses are willing to accept payment in advance in exchange for a discount.
3. Reward with non-monetary incentives: Use time-based alternatives to raises and bonuses. Offer more time off, a flexible schedule, or set off time for employees’ own projects, such as Google’s 20% time.
4. Make your form of payment work for you: Pay with a credit card that earns rewards such as airline miles, hotel stays, and cash back. See if you can get a discount with vendors if you pay with checks, since they save money on the credit card transaction fee.
5. Team up: Leverage the power of numbers by finding partners to buy supplies and services in bulk. Look to trade, business, and other associations to get cheaper group rates on insurance. Share offices and resources, and partner up on campaigns to extend your reach.
6. Barter: Pay with time and product instead of cash! If you find you need a skill or service for your business, such as designing a new website, make a trade, while building and strengthening relationships with other businesses.
7. Bargain: Sometimes all you have to do is ask to see what deals are available. Do some comparison-shopping to power your negotiations. Offer a longer term or minimum purchase amount for lower prices. Review your relationships with vendors and suppliers to see where you can consolidate purchases for a better overall price.
8. Streamline: Simplify processes and workflow. By going paperless, for example, you get rid of the steps of filing and retrieval. Make the transition to more efficient web-based business applications that deal with a broad range of business tasks, from HR administration, customer service, invoicing, and finances.
9. Harness the power of cheaper technology: Instead of paying top dollar for traditional software, use open-source tools, which are often free or extremely affordable and comparable in quality.
10. Engage your employees: Ask your employees to contribute solutions or skills. They know best where workflow and processes break down. Perhaps you have employees with additional skills and interests, such as social media, who can do jobs in house for cheaper than hiring out. Instead of spreading an environment of fear and distrust with the mention of the word “cuts,” go through it together and prosper as a team!