In today’s economy business owners everywhere are crunching numbers, downsizing and cutting back on expenses just to help keep their lively hood afloat. Here is a list money saving strategies to help you business’ bottom line.
Supplies and Equipment Purchases: Get the most out of online purchases. Most business’ need to buy supplies and equipment. Save gas money and time by completing those purchases online. You can easily turn online purchases into cash back rewards by using the incentive programs that some online stores offer. Enrollment for these programs are usually free. Staples offer a Staples Rewards program where you earn 10% in store rewards on all ink cartridges, toners, most paper purchases and even copying and printing services. They offer member only specials to help you save more. You can also benefit by recycling your old ink cartridges. Staples rewards offers $3.00 in rewards for each ink cartridge or toner that is recycled at their store with a limit of ten per month. This applies to all types and brands of cartridges. Save on shipping, with every online order over fifty dollars delivery is free usually arriving in one to two business days. There is a chance to upgrade your membership for free depending on the amount you spend. Some membership levels receive free shipping on all orders. All the store rewards you accumulate with be automatically mailed to you in the form of a coupon to use towards future purchases. The coupons have an extended expirations date giving you plenty of time to use them.
Advertisement Saving: When you are ready to send out a special advertisement such as a coupon or flyer instead of mailing out separate flyers to all your customers, simply include it with their monthly bill or statement. You can also include such items in with your customers purchases. Tucking a simple coupon of flyer advertising $5.00 off the next purchase of a $100.00 or more will be a reminder to your customer the next time they are thinking of purchasing the type of the service or goods you provide.
Nothing advertises better than word of mouth. Start a referral rewards program for your customers. By telling your existing customer that when they refer someone to your business they can receive a specified discount off a future purchase. Some business’ may even want to give the new customer a small first time discount also. Make sure your customers are aware of this program by including the information of the billing statements, newsletters, blog and/or website.
If your business is not yet ready for a website, a free blog maybe the way to go. You can create a simple and free blog to help keep you customers up to date on the new services or goods your business is offering. Check out such sites as blogger.com or WordPress.com.
Another free advertising idea is a customer email list so that you can advertise to them via email newsletters. Don’t take advantage of this this information by spamming your customers with multiple emails every month, keep the advertisement emails or newsletters down to once or twice a month at the most.
Advertising With Happy Customer Reviews: When a customer is satisfied with your business and chooses to express their gratitude in the form of a thank you letter or email you can use that to help advertise and show other potential customers that you can keep them happy as well. Scan the thank you letter, copy and paste it onto your blog, website, or newsletters showing others you have gained the respect and loyalty of your existing customers. If you are confident in your customer skills then you can also include a customer review section on your website or blog. You can also include a simple poll asking your customers if they are happy with the services you provide. Be careful though this can back fire on you when you have an unhappy customer chooses to express themselves in a ugly manner. To avoid such circumstances be sure to solve all issues upfront and quickly before it reaches this level.
Banking Services: Evaluate your banking expense and fees. Some banks offer free checking accounts to small business owners. Some banks require you to have a minimum balance in your account to avoid monthly fees. Look closely at your monthly statement to see what you are type of fees you may be getting charged for. Speak with one of the bank representatives to see if they can assist in helping to you move your money to a different type of account to help save on monthly fees. If your bank is unable to assist you, research other banking institutions that offer better deals to business owner. While were on the subject of banking, unless your bank is supplying you with free check do not buy your checks though you bank. Often times buying checks though a printing company such as Designer Checks or Artistic Checks can help save money. Try paying your bills online to further help you minimizing the use of checks.
Office Equipment and Software Expenses: Most business’ have multiple phone lines and fax lines going into the office. Evaluate if all these lines are necessary and cut out the ones that are not being used. Get a detail of all long distance phone calls being made from your office. You never know when a trusted employee may be taking advantage of your long distance access.
Tons of business owners hire an overnight answering service. Unless your business deals with emergency type situations or 24 hour call needs, get rid of the answering service and hook a voice mail instead or simply forward your calls to your cell phone which can also utilize a voice mail feature.
If you rent your office equipment, evaluate how much office equipment is necessary to run your business and turn in any equipment that not being used. Laptops usually cost a little more for the initial purchase, however they normally use less electricity than a desktops. Laptops also give you the convenience of mobility. This means you can work away from the office more often. Making sure all computers and other equipments are powered off every night can save a bundle on your electric bill.
Software can become a very pricey investment and in some cases unnecessary. Research free software programs through downloads.com. They offer free trials on tons of software programs. Another free software site that I believe is essential is OpenOffice. This free windows based software offer a lot of features such as spreadsheets, presentations utilities, graphics, word processing and more. It can open and read files that may already exist on your computer from Excel, Powerpoint, Access and Microsoft Word.
Along with using the above tips you must also learn to be creative and think outside the box when it comes to OpenOfficeess expenses. Doing so can help you on your venture to cutting cost.