Running a business is expensive! And, trying to cut costs without sacrificing quality or efficiency can be a real challenge.
So, we have asked the incredible CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisers and entrepreneurs to share their best cost-cutting tips for businesses.
Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
1. Power Down at the End of Day
My tip is to power down at the end of the workday. Turn off all the lights, machinery (like fax machines & computers), & switch off certain appliances like coffee makers when leaving the office so they are not running all night & adding to your bills. If you are able, try to minimize electricity expenses during the workday. For instance, if you work in an office with plenty of natural light, open up the blinds/windows to let in the sunlight & turn off your office light to brighten up the room.
2. Free International Phone Calls
Although WiFi calls are sometimes OK for calling domestically, you might still get charged when calling internationally. If you have international clients or business partners who are also entrepreneurs, use a free calling app like WhatsApp (or Messenger or Skype). Just be sure your app’s profile picture is appropriate for business use. As an added bonus, besides cutting cost, those apps also enable free group calls.
3. Check Your Subscriptions
Business psychology experts know that once we are subscribed to a service, we are unlikely to unsubscribe. So, we end up with many services we pay for on a monthly basis. Many of the amounts are small, so we rationalize that they aren't worth the effort it would take to unsubscribe from them. That's exactly what these companies are counting on. I urge you to go through that list of small recurring expenses and see the big result that comes from cutting out those you don't really use any more.
4. Rethink the Lunch Meeting
There is something nice about breaking bread and getting to know someone over a shared meal. However, it adds up quickly - as do coffee meetings. If you're the vendor, you're expected to pick up the tab. And then, there are the hidden costs - drive time, gas, tolls, and STRESS. Lots of things can go wrong - traffic, delays, car issues - for little upside. Rarely does a contract get signed at the table. More likely, we lengthen the total sales time by adding another event to be scheduled.
5. Stop Sponsoring the World
When you own a small business, no matter how much they tug at your heart strings, you CAN NOT sponsor every gala, golf outing, chamber of commerce event, wine tasting, or partner event. If you let yourself, you will get sucked into a never-ending black hole of donating to organizations to get your name on a "Longest hole sign". By cutting out this expense, we saved a ton of cash that brought us $0 return or new clients.
Christopher Carter of Approyo
6. Remote Work = Better Worker
Promote telecommuting whenever possible. I was SVP of Finance at a financial institution and two-thirds of my staff telecommuted. I currently work from home rather than renting space. Telecommuting allows you to avoid the cost of unnecessary office space and improves productivity. You can recruit top talent that values the flexibility of working from home. Many processes are now paperless and communication between staff can occur via email, text, phone, or video.
7. Don't Pay Rent - Housesit!
Paying rent can be a huge expense. I have been using a house-sitting site for the last two years, so I am on the same time zone as my clients but don't incur any accommodation costs. Sits can be from one week to six months long, so you can simply filter by the longer options, with good wifi, in nice places. I mostly do video calls and have a pull-up screen, which sits behind me, so I always look like I'm in the same place. I also love staying in new places and meeting people's pets if they have them!
The best change that I made was to transition my business land lines to VoIP connections. It works with my exiting office phone instruments and my cell phone, as well as through apps on my computer and tablet. As long as you have Wi-Fi access, connections are excellent and free. If you need to make calls using your cell network, then data charges apply. $700 per year with PBX, voicemail, fax, messaging and audio/video conferencing included, it even has a link for calls through your web pages.
Mitch Krayton of Krayton
9. Google My Business Investment
If you need to trim your marketing and advertising budget but don't want to trim your leads, invest time and effort on Google My Business. It's free, local marketing on steroids, yet the majority of small business owners never take the time to fully optimize or even create a free listing. For some of our franchise locations, Google My Business accounts for up to 30% of their overall sales! Claim and verify your listing, and then provide all the information Google wants and you're off to the races!
10. Expense Audit to Save $
In the digital age, I find myself constantly signing up for software or other services to make my business more efficient. I recently conducted an audit of all my monthly fees over the last 3 months. I found a few items that were no longer needed and could be discontinued. I also pay attention to the lifetime Appsumo deals that are emailed weekly. In the last 6 months, I was able to replace a few of my monthly fees with a lifetime deal. This will save more money over time.
Carol Roth is a national media personality, "recovering" investment banker, dealmaker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation.
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