Spending Less in Your Business
Ways to save money on technology, equipment and office supplies.
Many small businesses look for ways to spend less on office equipment and technology and supplies without compromising value. Here are a couple of questions that I get asked over and over again:
Q. How do I save money on office equipment and technology?
A. Since technology changes rapidly, it’s important to factor in the shelf life of the equipment to determine whether it’s better to rent or lease, especially with larger, more expensive equipment. Getting to know your supplier will benefit you because the better they know you the better they will take care of you. Don’t be swayed by the ‘newest’ technology. Just because it’s new doesn’t mean that it’s best for your business. Only upgrade when you really need to.
Q. What are some strategies for buying office supplies?
A. First, only purchase what you really need. Since office supplies are easy to come by it doesn’t make sense to have a large inventory on hand. Develop an inventory system so you don’t run out. Second, many office supply stores have loyalty programs and offer its members special discounts. Try to buy the things you use over and over again when they are on sale. This takes discipline, but will save you money in the long run. Third, always buy store brands since they are usually less expensive than national brands and the quality is comparable.
Ways to spend less on marketing and professional services.
Spending on marketing and professional services, especially if you are a start-up or a small business, can be a tremendous drain on your resources. Below are a couple of questions I get all the time:
Q. What’s one thing small businesses spend more money on than they need to?
A. In most cases, it’s marketing. Spending money on advertising or brochures when you can’t measure the results is not a good use of your resources. There are lots of ways to get free marketing (blogging, newsletter, community events, HARO). Business owners who have the discipline to use free avenues of marketing will find they will deliver more benefits than the paid ones.
Q. When does it make sense to outsource basic bookkeeping and basic legal services?
A. First, you have to figure out how much it would cost you to outsource these services. Then determine how much time you (or an employee) spend doing those functions. Plus factor in the cost of the tools and software that you may need. Then weigh the hard costs – you doing it versus outsourcing. Another important factor to consider is whether you are good at or even like doing those tasks. Your business will be better off if you do the things you love and figure out a way to delegate those things you don’t.