Every business is looking for ways to bolster their bottom line. For some this means layoffs, while others are willing to use cheaper materials even as they hike their retail prices. But if you want to keep your business strong, you need to do everything in your power to maintain the high quality of your goods and services even as you try to cut costs. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to minimize your budget while still keeping your customers satisfied. Here are just a few means of trimming the fat and helping to keep your business going strong.
- Conservation. Using less water and energy may seem like a small thing, but when you see how much you save over the course of a year, you might be surprised. So think about using natural light during the day (if possible) and switching to CFLs or LEDs (which use a fraction of the energy of incandescent bulbs and last several times longer). As for water, put sensors on faucets and install low-flow toilets. There will be an initial expense related to these upgrades, but you can often get returns from the utility company or write-offs come tax time. Alternative energy is also a good idea (solar, wind, water), and it can not only save you beaucoup bucks on your bills, it can even bring a financial return if you produce enough power to sell some back to the grid.
- Auditing. Most businesses have a lot of waste that they aren’t even aware of and it all adds up over time. So perform regular audits to track waste in all areas of operation and then do whatever it takes to reduce this waste, recycle when possible, and ultimately cut back on unnecessary costs.
- Hire interns. They may not have the experience of an industry veteran, but they do have knowledge of the latest technologies up their sleeve (thanks to advanced college courses) and for the most part they also have a strong desire to learn and succeed. They are both eager to please and prepared to pay their dues. Further, they haven’t yet developed a chip on their shoulder that says they’ve been around the block and there’s nothing you can teach them. In short, they are malleable and ready to meet your business needs, all for the spectacular salary of absolutely free. Just be aware that you’re going to have to be on hand to mentor them so that they can earn their college credit (instead of a paycheck).
- Pay your debts. Interest payments on loans and other forms of credit can cripple a small business. So instead of paying the minimum every month and then racking up more debt (resulting in you paying several times the cost of your original purchase), make an effort to pay extra on your loan principle every month and completely pay off credit cards.
- Document everything. Saving receipts is no fun, but by tracking every business expense, from donuts and coffee on Fridays to the purchase of a company car, you’ll have a better idea of where your money is going and what you can deduct when taxes roll around. You may spend some extra time keeping everything in order, but it will pay off big in the long run.