The following is a staff post by Deacon Hayes. Please join me in welcoming him to the site!
When you are running your own business, expenses can really eat away at your bottom line. That is why it crucial to pay attention to how much money is going out every month and figure out ways to keep expenses low. Here are 5 ways to reduce your business expenses:
When I started an Ebay business back in 2009, I knew I needed to get some equipment to make the operations run smooth. I bought many used items including a bigger desk, a label printer, and a bar-code scanner. You would be amazed at what you can find in great condition on Craigslist, Ebay, or even thrift stores. One of the big concerns I hear is, “Since it is used, doesn’t have a higher likelihood of breaking?” It could break, but there are a couple of good rules to consider when it comes to purchasing used products.
Buy from reliable sellers. For instance, Ebay and Amazon have a feedback system that will tell you if these sellers have history of selling quality products. If you see multiple complaints from customers, then look to buy the product elsewhere.
Buy products with a good reputation. I usually will read the feedback online for the product I am looking to purchase. Generally speaking, if it has 3 stars or less, STAY AWAY! Another important aspect to consider is that the more feedback an item has, the better. A product that has been reviewed 3,000 times will definitely have a more accurate rating then one that has been reviewed 3 times.
Shopping around can save you a TON of money in the long run. Technology makes this so easy to do these days. In fact, there is actually an app for smartphones called Shop Savvy that will do this for you. It is one of those apps that makes you think, “I wish I would have thought of that.” All you do is scan a product while you’re in a retail store, and it will tell you where it is cheaper. Not only will it search online, but it will also tell you if a local retailer has it for less.
Fix What You Already Have
For example, if you have an industrial grade copy machine and it breaks down, don’t immediately rush out and buy a brand new one to replace it. First, find the model number on the copy machine and research forums online that address the issue you are facing. I can’t tell you how many times I was able to fix problems by simply doing this one thing. If you can’t fix it yourself, consider hiring a copy machine technician to repair it. It may cost you $100 but it is still less than $1,000 for a new machine.
Getting new prospective clients can be expensive. One way to lower your cost for acquiring new business is to use Guerrilla Marketing. Put simply, this is using low-cost and sometimes unconventional means to get more business. Do you have a pet grooming business? If so, you could buy a dog costume and wear it on the corners of the plazas with Big Box pet stores. Maybe you are a plumber and need more clients. Why not make some plungers with your business name on them and hand them out at the next home and garden show in your area? This is probably the best way to get your name out fast without breaking the bank. Be creative and start thinking outside the box when it comes to marketing your company.
Hire College Students
The beautiful thing about hiring a college student is that they are looking for experience and are generally willing to work for cheap. In fact, some colleges require their students to do an internship before they graduate. What does this mean to you? Well, you might actually be able to get someone to work for FREE. Now, I am not saying that interns are not worth paying. But sometimes as an entrepreneur, cash flow can be tight. If you can’t afford to pay for a part-time employee, finding an unpaid intern might be the solution you’re looking for.
Looking for ways to reduce your personal expenses? Check out 10 Ways to Trim Your Budget.