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6 Ways to Reduce Expenses When Running Your Small Business

James Fowler runs a small business in North Carolina and writes about techniques to improves sales, lowers costs, and maximize time.

Nowadays, small business owners face a number of challenges that many of their predecessors did not have to deal with. According to Forbes, small business regulation has recently increased at unprecedented rates. Compound that with reduced consumer spending and a struggling economy and it becomes that much more important for entrepreneurs and business owners alike to cut costs at every possible turn. For some helpful moves that can make your operation more fiscally efficient, read on.

1. Green Your Operation
Most people think of going green simply as a means of benefitting the environment, but it’s also an excellent way to reduce costs. Switch to CFL light bulbs and they’re going to pay for themselves in about three months. Go paperless and you can cut down on postage and printer expenses. Sell your no-longer-needed electronic gadgets so they don’t end up in landfills. Get an energy audit for your office to learn ways to help the environment by reducing your company’s energy consumption, and, as a result, its expenses.

2. Get More Out of Your Staff
This may take a little cajoling, but there really isn’t much need to have a separate housecleaning service if your employees are go-getters. Divide up the cleaning duties evenly and switch them out on a regular basis. Reward staff from time to time with dress-down days and you’re much more likely to get their buy-in.

3. Outsource
Instead of bringing on new staff every time another project pops up, consider outsourcing some of the work instead. Check out the Elance website to help get started. Just be sure to choose a qualified professional so you don’t end up spending more money in the end.

4. Share Advertising Costs
Let’s say you run a retail business that sells computers. Find an independent computer repair company near you and see if they’re willing to partner up for some shared advertising. You can market your business for half the cost and reach just as many customers as you would going it alone.

5. Get Free PR
The options for free public relations for your business are many and varied. Negotiate relationships with local media personnel and work toward getting interviewed on TV and local or internet-based radio stations. Issue a press release whenever appropriate to let the public know of a new product offering, or an expansion of services. And get involved in community events to spread the word on a grassroots level as well.

6. Get Your Software for Free
Although you may not be able to find every software title your business needs for free, you can certainly get a lot of them. There’s an open source version of Microsoft Office called Open Office that should satisfy all your word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation needs. Check out the CNET website for a complete list of the other titles available free of charge. They include video creation software and document conversion software, among others.

In your efforts to reduce expenses, think twice before you slash your payroll budget. Of course, bottom feeders should always get the scalpel. However, if your team generally performs at a high level, look for other ways to cut costs. If your growth has been stagnant, keeping your team in one piece can benefit you tremendously once you begin to expand.

What ways can you think of for small business owners to reduce expenses?

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