Written by Jeffrey R. Armstrong – President/Owner of Armstrong Capital
Your favorite Master Note Buyer – Straightforward, Honest, Fair…
With the economy struggling every business, including note brokers and cash flow consultants, is trying to cut costs to make ends meet. But even in a good economy, small businesses like ours always need to watch where our dollars go. Especially when you are starting out you may have resources and need to watch every penny. So this month I thought I share with you some of the things that I have done and learned about to keep my expenses down all the time. Hopefully at least one of the next 25 ideas can save you some cash and trim the fat off your enterprise so you don’t become a casualty of the latest economic downturn.
- Go green! Energy-efficient technology will save you money over the life span of your computers, phone systems and other tech tools. There are often tax benefits to green technology, too. Not to mention it’ll help out the environment.
- Get a cheaper business phone service. Check out VoIP. VoIP is basically a phone service that uses the Internet. Many small businesses are opting for this cheaper alternative that can save them up to 60% over their traditional telecom costs.
- Reduce the number of phone lines. You could accomplish this simply by configuring office PCs to send and receive faxes. Check out efax.com.
- Buy recycled printer cartridges. Printer ink is one of the most expensive liquids on the planet. Much of it is margin, so find low-cost sources.
- Reassess your phone plan. Even if you don’t switch to VoIP, you can get service for cents per minute depending on your call volume.
- Turn off equipment when it’s not being used. This can reduce energy consumption by 25 percent; turning off the computers at the end of the day can save an additional 50 percent.
- Lighten up. Dark walls require more power to produce the same amount of light. If possible, repaint your walls or lighten up your office space with wall hangings to reduce the amount of energy you use.
- If appropriate, use laptop computers. These portable computing machines consume 90 percent less energy than standard desktop computers.
- Keep a close watch on energy consumption. Set your thermostats to a lower temperature, turn off all appliances when they’re not in-use and encourage staff to shut down their computers when they’re out of the office.
- Keep it in the family. Got kids? Hire them! You’ll get cheap help, your kid will learn responsibility and you may get some tax breaks, too.
- Don’t pay retail. Get purchase orders at trade shows, buy wholesale or even check out the local offerings on Craigslist, Backpage or Kijiji to save big bucks on office essentials.
- Eliminate unnecessary paper waste. Implement paper-reducing strategies such as double-sided printing and reusing paper. You’ll save some trees, too!
- Word-of-mouth marketing works. Use your associates to get referrals.
- Create an e-newsletter. It’s much cheaper to market to previously acquired customers than creating new direct-marketing collateral.
- Communicate on online forums and message boards. You’ll interact with potential clients and customers — for free.
- Start a blog. You can advertise, review your offerings and give free tips as often as you’d like without worrying about running up your budget.
- Use email. Similar to the newsletter, email marketing campaigns will let you interact with specific customers about new products that might interest them.
- Get your clients to advertise for you. Ask them to write a testimonial on your Web site or tell their colleagues about your products or services.
- Be a guest speaker. Speak at real estate offices, networking meetings community meetings or teach a business course to reach new potential customers.
- Join trade associations, subscribe to newsletters and attend trade shows and conventions. You’ll get industry-specific information, advice, sales opportunities and other member benefits.
- Be an early bird. Send mail early in the day, and you can usually expect to get one- to two-day delivery for the price of a first-class stamp.
- Shop around for an overnight courier. Overnight delivery rates for the major couriers are competitive; however, if you’re willing to wait a few hours — or even an extra day — you could save
- Bank on an early deposit. Make bank deposits early in the day so you get credit (and start earning interest) that day.
- Order your checks from a printing company. Printing companies often charge less than banks.
- Don’t overlook crucial tax deductions. In addition to being able to deduct a portion of your rent or mortgage interest and utilities as business expenses, you can also deduct a percentage of various home-maintenance expenses, along with a portion of the cost of services such as house cleaning and lawn care. Check out the Internal Revenue Service’s Web site, or check with a knowledgeable tax adviser for more information.
This is just a start, but these suggestions may help your business make ends meet during the economic crunch as well as keep your costs down during the good times. What steps are you taking to cut costs and save money in your cash flow business? The more money we can save on recurring costs and overhead the more we will be able to spend on our marketing! TWITA!