One of the biggest challenges small businesses face today is driving enough revenue to surpass the expense of running the business. The good news is that you can maximize your profits through some simple, money-saving techniques as follows:
Maximize your advertising dollar
1. Utilize Partnerships
Split advertising costs with a related company. For half the expense of a flyer, you and a neighbor – or the owner of a complementary product or service company, can reach twice the customer base by combining mailing lists and sharing flyer space.
2. Upsell Opportunities
Save money on promotions by slipping upsell advertising materials into invoices, product packages, and other mailings, to reduce postage. Let existing customers know about related products that could solve some of their other problems. “Warm” customers are more likely to buy from you than are prospects that are new to you or your company.
Get out into the world
3. Gather Testimonials
Encourage happy customers to tell their stories. Of course you do that already, but expand the reach by having their stories printed or posted on the Internet or filmed as a commercial. Case studies or success stories are a great way to get word of mouth advertising on a wide scale and your customers will tend to be all the more excited to share their story.
4. Build Thought Leadership
Teach. This doesn’t need to cost you anything and may even net you some additional cash in the form of stipends or speaking fees. Share your expertise with the world regarding your product or service and people will start to see you as a leader in your industry – quickly building your social credibility.
5. Create a Connection
With the wide variety of social media channels available, find one or more that cater to the special interests of your ideal customers. Are they action oriented? Establish a YouTube channel. Do they like photos and how-to posts? Join Pinterest. Are they more interested in typed discussions and news items? Jump on Facebook or LinkedIn’s group forums to build community and utilize Twitter to maintain customer service.
Reduce overhead expenses
6. Get Free Conference Calling
Reduce travel expenses with conference calling. Rather than pay for hotels, rental cars, daily expenses and other travel costs – in addition to renting meeting space and buying catered lunches, consider VoIP conference calls. Easy to implement and highly affordable solutions are readily available. To learn more about how VoIP works or to get a free trial, check out magicJack.
7. Save on Supplies
Get materials and supplies for free or at a discount. Instead of spending valuable time or resources re-inventing the wheel, get free customizable forms at Formnet.com and free software at Download.com. Buy used equipment for your office space and refilled printer ink cartridges to further reduce costs. Consider bartering for supplies, equipment, or services needed through barter exchanges – such as those found on the National Association of Trade Exchanges, you can exchange products or services for the things you need without using cash.
8. Hire Freelancers For Less
Use independent contractors for your staffing needs. Freelance writers to help with the case studies mentioned above, software developers to help with programs you need but can’t find elsewhere, even temporary office assistants can be hired on contract. You don’t have to withhold taxes or cover them on your insurance, but you do need to be sure that their duties fit within the guidelines established by the IRS.
9. Do Your Research
Speaking of taxes, take advantage of all of the tax breaks you can. If you work from a home office, part of your rent or mortgage can be deducted. Some home maintenance costs can also be deducted, as well as some services like cleaning and lawn care. If you conduct business in restaurants, coffee shops, or in your car, some of those expenses can be deducted, too. Be sure to check with the IRS, your tax attorney, or tax preparer for a list of what can be deducted and what kind of proof you will need to justify your claim.
Watch this video to learn how you can save money for your business:
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For some real-life examples of small businesses saving money, check out these small business success stories.