No matter how successful your small business is, there’s always an incentive to cut costs. If you are faced with an unexpected expense, you can still meet your profit goal. You also may need to cut expenses to help fund a new venture. The challenge is determining what areas to cut, since cutting some business expenses can hurt your business growth.
Marketing and training are two areas of your business you don’t want to eliminate or dramatically reduce. Cutting out your marketing budget greatly impacts your ability to attract new customers and maintain share of mind among current ones. Today, social media makes it possible to cost-effectively keep the conversation going with customers; but you can’t count entirely on social networks for marketing. Your website needs to be up to date and current in design. You need to meet the mobile needs of your customers with a site optimized for mobile or a mobile app and you should frequently reach out to customers through direct or email marketing about promotions, company news or information relevant to their needs.
Training is an investment to make sure that your employees are constantly upgrading their skills to keep your business moving ahead. Furthermore, employees are more motivated to stay with your company when you invest in their career development. (Read: “Training your small business team within your budget” to get ideas for keeping your training costs down.)
Today’s technology can help cut costs
In addition to marketing and training, you never want to compromise on the quality of your offerings or customer service. However, there are many ways where you can reduce expenses and even enhance your small business operations. Here are five ideas for cost cutting, several of them leveraging today’s new technologies:
Reduce office space: By letting employees work remotely you can reduce the amount of office space you need. You can store all your company information in the cloud – some services are free and others are on a pay-as-you-go model – so that your employees have access to information they need wherever they are and can share documents. If you can’t change your lease, sublet some of the unused space
Go paperless: It’s good for the environment and your small business budget. Only print documents that are absolutely necessary to read in hard copy. And when you go paperless, you reduce the need for filing cabinets and other supplies you use to manage paper documents such as paper clips, file folders and even Post-It notes.
Make calls over the Internet: Replace your legacy telephone system with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VoIP can save your small business communication costs—anywhere from 20 to 40 percent depending on your service provider – in a number of ways. First, you don’t have to install new phone lines, since VoIP equipment hooks directly into your existing broadband network. In terms of installation you can choose between a Virtual PBX (also called a hosted PBX) or on premise IP PBX.
Meet online: It’s no longer necessary to drive across town or fly across country to have a face-to-face meeting. You can meet online via video conferencing, of which many services are free such as Skype or GoogleTalk. You can conduct a conference on your desktop or mobile device, using a headset for best call clarity.
Buy used: Check out used equipment or furniture on Craigslist or eBay. Some items are really not even used; they may have been opened and returned. Whatever you do, buy from dealers you’ve checked out to make sure they are reputable.
There are many more ways to cut down on your expenses. Talk to other small business owners or check into forums to see what other small businesses are doing to cut costs.