Every small business owner wants to save money. The problem is that most money-saving measures can be disruptive for a company’s operations, particularly in the case of businesses that are already bloated and firmly entrenched in the market. This means that any savings incurred are negated by the downtimes caused by the changes.
Fortunately for companies in need of a little penny-pinching, there are some quick ways to save money that don’t require much time to do and/or won’t need massive restructuring changes to implement:
For companies that print a lot of documents, simply choosing a slightly smaller font size could mean thousands of dollars of savings on a yearly basis.
This is because smaller fonts use less ink to print. The reduction in ink consumption per document may be so small that it’s negligible, but these small savings accumulate over time. For a benchmark figure, the Fox Chapel Area Senior High School already conducted a study and found that they saved over $21,000 in a year on printing costs simply by making teachers switch to a more efficient font.
It’s not just the size of the font that has an effect on reducing printing costs – the type of font used is also a factor. Less complicated fonts like Sans Serif are more efficient than highly stylized typefaces.
Five Minute Exercise: Work with your brand manager/designer to find a smaller font that’s more efficient.
If minimizing ink usage while printing saves a company a lot of money, then you can save even more by avoiding paper usage and foregoing printing altogether. Instead of printing office documents and memos, your company can choose to share documents through email or local network.
One example is handouts normally printed out and passed around during a meeting. It is faster and more cost-efficient to just ask employees to bring a device to the meeting room and open up a document containing the reading materials. Alternatively, the text can be projected on a conference room using a projector.
You can also offer to send electronic invoices to clients instead of relying on hard copies. This will help you save on both paper costs and physical storage costs. It can also increase productivity, because it takes a lot less time to send an electronic document compared to printing hard copies for manual delivery.
Five Minute Exercise: Ask your employees to just bring digital copies to meetings, and see if it works for your company.
It’s normal for companies to choose high-end packages when procuring services from third-party companies. What most companies don’t realize is that they’re wasting money because not all of these products serve a function that is mission-critical. A company can save money simply by going for cheaper yet lower performance products. And you can save money further by getting these services for free through bundled services.
This money saving tactic is applicable to a lot of office supplies and needs, particularly with regard to IT products such as Internet access, phone subscriptions, and faxes. Many ISP providers have bundled plans that include one or all of the aforementioned services free of charge.
Five Minute Exercise: Call your service providers and see if they have a bundled plan.
The hiring process is usually not seen as an opportunity to save money. A business owner will almost always go for potential employees with better skills and longer experience, even though they have a higher asking price. But if your company is based in the U.S., there is a simple hiring choice that will entitle you to thousands of savings in tax credits: hire a disabled or returning veteran.
The U.S. has two notable programs that encourage businesses to hire returning soldiers. First is the Returning Heroes Tax Credit, which gives businesses a max tax credit of $5,800 for hiring a veteran. Next is the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit, which entitles a company to a max tax credit of $9,600 for hiring a veteran with service-related disabilities. You get the employee you need, you get thousands in tax credits, and you get to help the people who risked life and limb while fighting for our country.
If your company is based in another country, it helps to check if your government offers similar hiring-related tax incentives.
Five Minute Exercise: Work with your HR department to create a veteran hiring plan.
A big company will most likely have a few bulky equipments lying around gathering dust. These types of equipment are not used frequently but serve an important function from time to time, so getting rid of them in an effort to save on upkeep costs is out of the question. Examples include legacy factory machineries, server farms, large-scale printers, construction equipment, and even company vehicles.
If your company has these types of bulky seldom-used equipment lying around, you can earn extra revenue and save on maintenance costs by leasing them out to other businesses. All you need to do is create a contract that requires the lessee to shoulder maintenance and repairs during their use. If needed, you can reduce the rent cost in exchange for this stipulation, and you’ll still come out ahead.
There is also an option to apply the same principle to office space. If there are unused spaces or areas in your office building, you can earn extra revenue on the side by renting it out to other companies.
Five Minute Exercise: Make a list of all equipment you could lease.
If your company gets products or services from third party suppliers, you can fish around for discounts even if the supplier is a small outfit compared to your business. If you have a good professional relationship with the supplier, they are more likely to offer discounts. And if you’ve been giving them good business regularly, they may even provide custom-tailored discount rates just to keep you on board. These discounts can come in many forms, but the most common are reduced rates and value-added extras.
This cost-saving measure can also extend beyond a single supplier. If you get in their good graces, you can even ask for referrals to other suppliers in their network that could give you similar discounts for other products or services. This is a win-win situation for both sides, because you’ll save even more money while they can strengthen their network reputation with referrals.
Five Minute Exercise: Make a list of contracts that are about to renew, and consider asking for a discount.
You can also save a lot of money for your company by using debit cards or direct deposit for payrolls instead of checks. The savings are from eliminating expenses associated with checking – such as the printing of the check itself, the envelopes used, the storage, and the reduced efficiency associated with manual issuance.
There are also savings related to reduced risks with regard to fraud. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, over 60% of all fraud-related incidents in businesses involve employees. The use of a debit card or direct deposit gives the employers more control over the flow of money and greatly reduces fraud-related loss.
Five Minute Exercise: Talk to your payroll people about setting up direct deposit.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are other cost-saving measures that you can employ for your company. You can try them out free-of-risk as long as you are creative and commit to trying quick non-disruptive measures first. Restructuring, lay-offs, and other desperate measures should be kept in the backburner and held back for as long as possible.
What other quick ways to save your company money have you seen?