We hear a lot about the economy turning around -- that businesses are experiencing an upswing.
Nevertheless, the glory days haven't exactly returned for many businesses, which are still making cuts and whittling budgets down.
Even if your business is doing fine, it never hurts to be smart and trim costs where you can.
Fortunately, some cuts and changes don’t require a huge sacrifice. And who knows? You might find your business even gets more out of paying less.
Curb your business travel -- and cut costs where you can.
Meeting with long-distance clients can be the most costly, most expendable, but also the most beneficial expense for a business. Fortunately, modern technology can replicate the experience at a much lower cost.
All the way out in Big Sandy, Montana Kamut International, growers and distributors of Kamut Khorasan Wheat have made some significant cuts by using Skype for conducting international conference calls. “We use technology to the fullest to cut down on trips overseas to see our partners,” says Kamut International president and founder Bob Quinn.
According to Kamut’s CEO Trevor Blyth, when committing to business travel, they try to be flexible with schedules and purchase the least expensive flights, even if it’s more challenging. “Most of the time we take public transportation instead of renting cars or taking taxis,” says Blyth. “We don’t stay in higher-end hotels when a Hampton Inn will do. These items save us thousands of dollars each year. Since we are in the organic/sustainable business these cost-savers help us keep things in perspective, and we feel a duty to live and work in a sustainable way.”
Get the most out of your headquarters.
Patty Tobin owns a fine jewelry shop in New York City, where the cost of running a business and living is not a trivial expense. Tobin makes it a point to negotiate with her landlord by freezing rent rates, providing a month out of the year lease at no charge, giving credits towards utility charges if not included in rent.
Within her shop she is mindful year-round of heat and air conditioning. “[I am] constantly checking with telephone and cable providers for better rates, too.” Better yet, cut out the landline and fax line -- with Blackberrys and iPhones, and everything compatible for email, who needs them?
Consider a la carte assistance vs. long-term contracts and hires.
Lisa Krohn runs a personal assisting and organizing company for businesses and entrepreneurs. She consults small companies and individuals, and teaches them to be more efficient, self-sufficient and to rely on themselves -- all while increasing their self-esteem and integrity. “There is no badge of honor for working long hours if you aren’t efficient,” says Krohn. “I help them re-edit so they use their time better. I undo the multi-tasking because it’s actually very inefficient."
Because companies of all sizes hire consultants, a one-person entrepreneur like Krohn is of little expense, as she’s paid by the hour. “I am affordable consulting and outsourcing without the ego,” says Krohn. “”I’m no-contract and no-lawyer. I just send in an invoice and we’re done.”