It’s a crowded environment right now for small businesses and it can be difficult to stand out. Sometimes, it may feel like your business needs to puff up its chest a bit just to be seen. And while we previously wrote about how SMBs can make a splash in the marketplace without breaking the bank, it’s also important to stand out to your employees as well. The unemployment rate is still historically low in the US, still under 4% at the time of this writing, and small businesses might find it hard to attract talent and be relevant compared to larger companies. Additionally, seeming like a small business can often turn off potential clients who may look for a more “established” company to work with that has a larger footprint. For these reasons, let’s dive into another 5 ways to look big while saving on your expenses, focusing on how to make your small business look impressive to both external and internal eyes. 1. Lease Equipment In our last post, we mentioned shared workspaces to save money, effectively “leasing” a physical address without all the hassle and costs of actually signing a long-term contract on space. So why not do that with expensive office equipment as well? Your small business may not have the capital to splurge on new MacBooks or the giant copier that can collate (whatever that is), or even the standing desks or ergonomic chairs that employees love. But all of these can be leased so you can put your best foot forward with clients and new hires alike. There are several benefits to your small business if you decide to lease equipment as well, besides the cost savings. It’s easier to scale up or scale back depending on what you need, which is especially great for seasonal businesses. If you’re buying expensive equipment, it can be a hassle to resell anything and the money recouped can often be not worth the headache. Leasing also doesn’t mean you lose out on tax deductions for depreciating equipment (Section 179), so you get that benefit as well. And the best benefit is that your business can always have the latest and greatest gadgets that can impress new hires and clients without going into debt. Heck, you can finally lease that kegerator to attract all those recent college grads! 2. Telecommuting/Remote Work Who even needs an office space anymore? If you’re like a lot of today’s modern businesses, remote work is the new reality. Ladders estimates that by the end of next year, “25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote.” Lead the charge by going fully remote at your company. And going remote isn’t just a great way to save your small business a bunch of overhead, but a desirable feature for employees as well. According to Pew Research, the appetite to work remotely is showing no signs of slowing with 6 in 10 US workers saying they work from home at least part time. Telecommuting is no longer a bug, but a feature, as it is usually a win-win for both the business and the worker. The owner saves on overhead costs that obviously include space and equipment, but also in utilities, food, and other in-office offerings. Meanwhile, the opportunity to work remotely is a feature that many job searchers are looking for, and businesses that do not offer the option may be losing out on 70% of potential employees. Embracing telecommuting can make your SMB look bigger by having employees across the country, and even internationally. It also opens up the potential to hire more contract workers (which today’s workers want anyway) by being flexible. This also saves on costs (contract workers don’t have to have many benefits) while expanding your base. 3. The 4-Day Work Week If you were clutching your pearls at the idea of going fully remote, this one might give you palpitations. But more and more companies are embracing the 4-day work week and are saving a good amount of overhead expenses by doing so. If you’re skeptical, you can read up on how this experiment has been going across the UK, New Zealand, and Australia. Spoiler alert: the employees love it. Companies haven’t seen much of a productivity loss at all, even when some companies didn’t extend work hours during the 4 days (to compensate for having Fridays off). And while most had someone “on call” for client emergencies on Fridays, their “external clients and external stakeholders don’t really notice any change in their service” according to one participant. This experiment is set to expand to the US in 2023, and that could be a good excuse for your company to jump in. Not only will you save a full 1/5th of your daily operating expenses like utilities and cleaning, but it can seem very attractive to younger employees looking for a company that champions new ideas and work-life balance. And this idea can put your company on the map. According to Entrepreneur, “offers of pay increases, unlimited PTO and full healthcare benefits were no match for those experiencing burnout or on the verge of quietly quitting.” The 4-day work week is seen to have great ROI as it helps both attract and retain workers, while reducing overall employee costs at the same time. Until someone invents the 3-day work week, of course. 4. Health Insurance via Associations As long as American health insurance is tied to employment, offering great coverage is not only important to attract job seekers, but to show that your small business is capable enough to provide a safety net. More than half of HR professionals and recruiters say that medical coverage is the most attractive benefit for job seekers, especially in a time when health is at the forefront of so many people’s minds due to world events. Unfortunately, health insurance can be an enormous cost to businesses. According to Zippia, the average employer contributes over $6000 per employee, and over $15,000 when offering family coverage. That adds up quick! So how can your SMB offer the all-important health coverage without breaking the bank? One of the best ways is to join a business trade association that can offer steep discounts on plans. For example, the National Small Business Association (NSBA) can help cut premiums by half, which usually will more than make up for the membership fee your business has to pay to join. Check out Lendio’s roundup of small business associations you may want to research to see if you can benefit from these pooled discounts. 5. Smarter Accounting Nothing will lose your business both employees and clients like bad accounting. Inaccurate or late invoicing is a horrible look that will chase away repeat business, and inaccurate or late paychecks is even worse. Big businesses almost always have their accounts payable in order, which is a large part of how they become and stay trusted brands. Small businesses always have to balance the cost of good accounting with the “cost” of bad accounting. Of course, even leveraging the services of an accountant once a month to balance your books can add up to thousands of dollars over each fiscal year. Luckily, another way to cut costs but maintain accurate books and good invoicing habits is to invest in great accounting software. Solutions like Lendio’s accounting apps cost a fraction of the amount of a CPA and also provide all the tools you need to invoice like a pro, balance the books, categorize expenses, and more. It’s a simple and inexpensive way to do accounting like an enterprise, which can elevate the perception of your company in the market today. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Lendio. 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