Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at August 20th, 2018
There may be many expenses you should consider cutting from your business. You may have some ideas in mind. But here are even more.
Do you have to cut expenses from your business? Are you looking to cut costs but you are not sure of where to start? We have five specific expenses you can cut which will help your bottom line. And they might even make your company more efficient at the same time.
If your company is spending a lot on hardware, such as IT and servers for data backup, then switching to cloud computing could help you cut costs.
The financial investment and physical space necessary for a computer system large enough for an entire office can be rather expensive. Some of these on-site storage solutions can also throw off heat. No problem in the winter. But in the summer, your air conditioning bills might be higher than they need to be.
There several cloud services out there, such as OneDrive and Dropbox Business. And by combining cloud-based services, you could even get rid of the need for physical data storage devices.
For larger services than Dropbox and the like, ask around. Who do other local businesses turn to for their storage solutions? And as with any other expense, major or minor, you should be sure to shop around to get the best deal.
Speaking of cloud storage and embracing all that is virtual, why are you using paper again? Yes, some things need paper. But how many do not? It may be more than you think.
You can reduce the amount of money you spend on paper, printer ink and shipping by going paperless. Consider sending emails instead of letters whenever you can do so. Or even send faxes (remember them?).
Not only can it cut down on clutter; it’s also more sustainable. You’ll reduce your carbon footprint. And your customers and correspondents may even wonder just what took you so long.
In addition, if you are still sending out paper invoices, see if your customers are willing to switch. Maybe they will if they get an incentive. Sometimes, such an incentive can be small, such as 5% off their next bill.
For documents requiring signatures, you probably still need paper. But you do not need it for the pages which don’t have signatures. So consider only printing and retaining a paper copy of the signature page.
This could conceivably work for contracts and legal pleadings. But check your local jurisdiction in case judges will not accept this.
Remember embracing the virtual? Here’s another way of doing that.
Are you a road warrior, or do you employ any? Their lives are filled with airports and train stations, rental car companies, frequent flyer programs, hotels, and restaurants.
Also, being a road warrior can hurt their family lives and even their health. You can promote employee wellness and job satisfaction by bringing those people home. You might even find that reduces health insurances costs.
Modern technology can make it easier for us to be in two places at once. Instead of spending on expensive plane tickets and hotel rooms and more, look to take advantage of free resources when you can. These can be resources like Skype and Webex.
Another option could even be telepresence. But you’re looking to cut costs. Currently, telepresence can be rather expensive.
In-person sales will entail some traveling. Or will they? Can your sales team meet people in the office? Or can they meet prospects in some more centrally located common space? Maybe some traveling can be cut. Of course, always call first, to save both time and money.
While you might not be able to give up all traveling, free web conferencing and video calls can save time and money that could be reinvested into your business.
Telephone systems can be really expensive. However, you could save lots of money by just combining some free or inexpensive online services.
Skype has a premium business phone service for less than $3 a month. Free Conferencing has free conference call services. Grasshopper offers a virtual phone system for an unlimited number of employees. Telephone systems are no longer your only option.
Do your employees have smart phones? Of course they do. According to Pew Research, 77% of all Americans own a smart phone. And 95% own a cell phone.
But for working-age Americans, the percentages skew even more in favor of smart phones. 94% of all American between the ages of 18 and 29 have smart phones. The same is true for 89% of all Americans between the ages of 30 and 49. And even Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 embrace the cell phone, to the tune of 73% overall.
So the chances are very high for you being able to text your employees.
Your employees are smart and capable, right? So why not seek guidance from your team? Try talking with your employees about your current cost-cutting methods.
What are their suggestions for reducing business expenses? You may find that they believe the expenses you should consider cutting from your business are not the same as your ideas. And that is perfectly all right!
Maybe they suggest that everyone brings in their own coffee mug. Or they might suggest that the company allow for some work from home days to turn down the heat and air conditioning.
Or two employees could each work from home three days a week and share an office. You’ve got a brain trust at your fingertips – call on it!
Yet another idea might be to trade services with vendors. After all, your company might sell accounting services. And another company may sell coffee, or the like. Getting into regular relationships with other companies can also cut expenses.
This is something we have noticed with vendor accounts. When a business gets into a relationship with its suppliers, you can get better terms.
And these do not always have to be companies that report to the business credit reporting agencies. They can just be regular suppliers. Maybe it’s the people who supply coffee. Or it could be a regular cleaning service or car rental place. Be creative!
In a way, this is the same theory behind frequent flyer miles. That is, what kinds of discounts can you get when you throw all of your business in one direction?
Here are some tools which can help you save even more cash.
If you’ve got projects, then you need Asana. Projects can be complicated affairs, with multiple moving parts and dependencies. With Asana, you can track when you got started, how far along you are, and see which tasks remain undone. Just like with Slack, you’ll get fewer emails, too. Oh, and you can also use Asana for meeting agendas, employee management, and more.
With DropBox, you can create, collaborate on, and share documents easily. Take care of version control issues by just having the one copy of a document. This is better than everyone having their own person (and dissimilar) copy.
DropBox is also useful for distributing files too large for an email program to handle. Because DropBox is its own storage system, your files will be fine even if your laptop is ever lost or stolen. And you can even recover files which have been deleted.
Easy to implement, particularly for WordPress sites, Google Analytics is the premier method for tracking visitors to your site, where they came from, where they went on your site, and what they did when they were there.
Figure out the outcomes you want to see before you get started. Do you want customers to sign up for a mailing list or join a group? Maybe you want them to take care of their own help desk problems, or buy something. Or maybe you want something else?
Decide what success looks like to you. Is it five of something per week? Or is it five hundred? Or is it five thousand? Once you have a benchmark, you can start to determine whether you are succeeding, or not. All goals should be from MARS:
Google Analytics takes care of the first and the last of these requirements. It’s up to you to determine whether what you want to have happen can be improved or changed, and whether your expectations are at all realistic.
Get an online Human Resources Department with Gusto. Run payroll and benefits, keep track of taxes, and time off calculations. Set up direct deposit and keep track of tax forms, too.
Hootsuite is a social media management dashboard. You can schedule tweets, Facebook posts (even to pages), and posts to Google Plus or LinkedIn. Hootsuite also provides two free reports on engagement.
Bulk scheduling allows for multiple tweets and other messages for uploading at any time. For the free plan, there are some limitations on this.
If you’ve got marketing campaigns using email, or newsletters, MailChimp is a great solution. With MailChimp, add automation to marketing while still making your customers feel like they are getting your personal, undivided attention.
MailChimp also keeps track of helpful metrics, like subscribe/unsubscribe rates.
Have you got too much email? Slack understands.
Got email chains which become convoluted, split off, and out of sync? Slack understands that, too.
For remote work, you can’t beat Slack. It’s a smart group chat-style system which lets everyone see the same files and the same conversations at the same time.
Keep everyone on track, and in contact. And you can do so even if half of your team is on the other side of the planet. And, at the same time, tame the dreaded inbox beast.
It’s not just for blogging anymore. WordPress is a great way to make a website or blog really shine. With numerous plugins and widgets, WordPress allows for nearly infinite customization options.
And with well thought-out themes, you won’t have to worry about design, color choices, or if your site will look good on mobile. WordPress can help you create graphics; add a shopping cart, and a slideshow, too.
Zendesk serves as a customer relations tool. You can answer comments on social media platforms like Facebook, and also use it as a help desk.
Zendesk keeps track of these customer communications with information on when they came in and who answered them. So nothing slips through the cracks.
It also allows for chat with customers and the building of a knowledge base for self-service. Keep small problems from escalating to bigger ones!
Creative cost-cutting can not only help your bottom line. It can also give your employees a chance to flex their creativity muscles. It can also be a chance for your company to decrease its carbon footprint. The world of work is changing. You may as well save cash while it does.
There may be more expenses you should consider cutting from your business – what have we missed?
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