How to slash your small business costs

By Mike Roberts

The small business environment is hugely competitive. We have all heard the often quoted but seldom sourced statistic that 80 percent or more of new businesses fail within 18 months, and while the veracity of that number might be open to question, the underlying point is plain for all to see. Survival is by no means guaranteed, and small business owners need to work better and smarter to succeed.

While delivering products or services better, faster or cheaper than the rest is obviously key to increasing sales, it is easy forget that there are two side to the profitability coin. Increasingly, firms are looking inwards to find ways of reducing costs and improving the bottom line. Here are some ideas.

[amazon_link asins=’1119268532′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingin-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’b1bd9b90-4e00-11e8-8863-1730bf874e86′]Technology is your friend

Smart use of technology can reduce your business costs in myriad ways. Teleconferencing allows people to attend meetings without the cost and time associated with travel, online payment facilities reduce administration costs, and open source software can reduce or even eliminate software licensing costs. Conduct a full technology audit and ask yourself if you are fully leveraging the advantages that your tech can deliver.

Reduce printing costs

One of the most common suggestions you will hear for reducing office costs is to go paper free. This is a concept that people have been taking about for the past 20 years or more, but the truth is we still need to print from time to time. Some clients prefer paper billing, while there are contracts and letters that still need hard copies with an ink signature.

However, there are certainly ways you can significantly reduce your printing costs. Shop around online for printer ink and you will be amazed how much you can save. These Printerinks 5540 HP cartridges, for example, are 35 percent cheaper than you will typically pay from a regular supplier.

[amazon_link asins=’0071396977′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingin-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’bd35b516-4e00-11e8-ad00-09327f4115b9′]Reassess your office space

This is the age of the virtual, the mobile and the remote. If you paying out rent and other overheads on office space, perhaps it is time to critically assess whether it is more than you need. By encouraging staff to work remotely where possible, and ditching the traditional “territorial” desk space in favor of hot desks that can be used by whoever needs to be in the office on a given day, you will probably find you could get by perfectly well with an office half the size.

Look at bartering arrangements

Barter is one of the oldest types of business arrangement, but the funny thing is, it is making a big comeback in the 21st century. The arguments in favor of bartering are compelling, having the effect of improving cashflow and reducing inventory. Take a look at some of your business partners, both upstream and downstream in the supply chain. Are there potential opportunities for setting up a bartering arrangement?

Each of the above measures might make a small difference to your overall costs. But added together, they could spell the difference between success and failure.


Mike Roberts is an editorial columnist for a number of prestigious online technology and business magazines. He posts articles by others on various topics related to strategy, digital marketing, technology management, social media, and e-business

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