When you run a small business, you are constantly stuck in a balancing act. Every day duties, taxes, costs, customers… everything has to work out just right to keep yourself earning well. It can feel like it is a day to day struggle, and any tricks that help you in the short or long term are always appreciated. Nowhere is that more true than in the area of saving money.
You have probably enacted your own little short cuts, and quite often gone without to make sure you have the right numbers at the end of the week, month and quarter. But you don’t have to scramble to save a few dimes. There are a few simple ways that you can save money for your business, giving you more leeway (and more profit) at the end of the day.
Use Open Source Software
Looking at the cost of software, you are probably in shock. For business versions of popular programs like Office, Quicken and other similar software, you can be spending up to $1000 for an official copy. Some get around this by using trial versions, but that won’t hold you for long. As for limited versions, they might not have the features you need the most.
But there are open source software programs that you can download for free. A great example of this is OpenOffice, the fantastic Microsoft Office alternative that lets you do everything from create doc files, to budget, to make graphs. It is easy to get, and doesn’t cost a dime. You can also find great add-ons made by users for a number of purposes.
For a Photoshop alternative, try GIMP. While slightly more complicated, it has the same features and is free.
Cut Out Paper Costs
One of the most surprising expenses for any company is paper. It goes fast, and it adds up really quickly. But you can easily save money by getting rid of the paper and using digital means to run your business. This includes memos between staff, writing notes and doing anything else that would usually require paper that will just be thrown away.
You can invoice through email, or even through an online payment service like PayPal or eCoin. You can advertise online or by using other media. You can utilize text messages and handle most communication with customers through their mobile phone. All of this is almost expected from businesses now, and so would also help to modernize your company.
Use Social Media Websites
Want an easy way to cut advertising and marketing costs. Social media websites have become invaluable for the small business owner. Not only can you spread the work of your business through Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare, but you can use sites like LinkedIn for networking with other professionals in and out of your area.
Try using social media sites to run contests, talk to customers, get feedback and even advertise sales. There will be a marked difference in your profits, not to mention money saved on marketing campaigns.
Of course, there are other things you can do: start an affiliation with a company so you can get discounts where needed and expand your market without additional advertising costs. You can recycle items and start buying cheaper things for the office. But the three things above can save you thousands of dollars a year, which is a lot from a small company.