Whether your business is profitable, or you are missing your quarterly goals, saving money and trimming expenses is always beneficial to the bottom line. Routinely reviewing expenses and figuring out creative ways to save money is useful. Implementing ways to cut expenses should be done every quarter or can even be reviewed every month, when seasonal expenses are fresh in everyone’s mind. Starting out by rethinking your social media, shipping, how work flows and reconsidering your computer system are just a few ways to save money.
Here are 4 effective ways to cut down on operational expenses for small businesses:
In-House Social Media
Social media is a great free tool to promote your business. Yet, this can become quite expensive if you are hiring an outside firm to create your social media. Currently, social media has expanded significantly from just Twitter and Facebook, with the current popularity of Pinterest and Instagram, as well as podcasts.
If you decide to take social media in-house, you can work with your entire team to create content. For example, for Twitter, if you use a system such as Hootsuite, where you can schedule Tweets, you can have a different team member take turns each week and write tweets that has to do with their own expertise. For example, if you are an interior design firm, you could have one team member spend a week focusing on their expertise on corner kitchen cabinets, and the next week, another designer creating tweets with tips on creating a loft look, while a third week you could focus on the Pantone color of the year and interior color trends.
From here, you can take these ideas into blog writing and Facebook posts. This gives your employees the ability to share their knowledge and your customers to know a bit more about your organization, the skills and expertise of your employees. As always, create a set of rules and examples to make it clear what is appropriate content. Staying away from controversy and politics is always recommended.
Odds are you are shipping with the same provider as you did the first day your doors opened. Or, if there was a change, it was due to lost items or poor service. Yet, are your shipping systems the best that they could be?
Does your shipping provider come to your door, or do you need to send someone out to wait in line to ship your products? Do you get a discount for shipping multiple items of the same size and weight? Have you spent some time contrasting and comparing different shipping companies?
Even the smallest company can ask for a service evaluation and a discount. By calling for a person to come out and discuss this with you should be more financially advantageous than calling on the phone and getting a generic quote. If you are sending hundreds of packages a week, month or even year, these savings could be quite substantial.
When was the last time your business evaluated the processes to get from start to finish? Could you possibly be working in ways that essentially reinvent the wheel? Sometimes, companies work in a way that may have first began due to limitations during the frugal start-up days, or before efficient computer programs were created.
Each team member should have another person sit with them and evaluate how they process their work or start adapting workflow software to simplify processes and improve efficiency. A fresh set of eyes can notice that there is a faster, more efficient way of getting work done.
Are you spending a lot of money on tech support? This is a huge expense that in this day and age of computers that a 5-year-old can easily operate, should not be an issue. Perhaps it is time to upgrade your computers to something more modern and easier to use. Companies like IBM have found that by switching to Apple computers, they saved a great deal of money on tech support. The upfront cost was more, but in the long run, this will be a tremendous money-saver.
The key to successfully cutting expenses is to look at every single cost. Cutting is not just about the monetary reduction, it is also about cutting out frustration and working with ease. Determine if a budget cut or change will positively or negatively affect the quality of your product or service, then cut away!