A philosopher might tell you not to wish for an easier life, but to be strong enough to live the life you’ve been given. A smart business owner might say rather than wishing you were earning more money, you should focus on spending less. In other words: focus less on sales and more on profits. There are plenty of great ways to reduce what you’re spending, to operate more efficiently and to save money in business without having to make any real sacrifices. Here are just a few:
Rethink How You Spend
Rather than considering what you’re spending, consider how you’re spending. Many of the business credit cards at American Express can be used to cut down on what you’re spending on interest. Also, you can cut down on all of the fees that are charged per-transaction by dealing in bulk orders and bigger money transfers every time you have to head to the bank or access any financial account.
Your insurance is a consideration here, as well. If you have no insurance, you’re going to wind up paying a lot out of pocket if something happens, but overspending is no better. Again, it’s not about not spending, it’s about spending correctly.
Consider the Little Things
Your big expenses might not be the expenses that you need to be worrying about. Consider the breakroom. You provide your workers with coffee and a fridge to keep their lunches in, but you could be losing a lot of money here. We’re not talking about nickel-and-diming your employees until they’d rather just go home for lunch, rather, you can save money in the breakroom in ways that make your employees happy.
For instance, let’s consider the coffee maker itself. Chances are that a lot of the coffee gets burned being left in the pot all day, and some employees can’t seem to figure out how much grind to put in the basket. You can remedy both of these problems by investing in a few small coffee pots and tossing the big one, so people have to make coffee at one, two or three cups at a time, rather than wasting whole pots. This will also allow for multiple brews to be made at once, which will make things that much better for your workers.
It’s a small change, but once you start thinking about the office in this way, you’ll be surprised what you can come up with. Even using your thermostat more efficiently can help tremendously.
A Favor for a Favor
In the early ’90s, the rap group the Wu Tang Clan released the song “C.R.E.A.M.,” an acronym for “Cash Rules Everything Around Me.” This view dominates industry and business but in reality it is actually somewhat shortsighted. Although money is the most powerful item in the big business CEO’s toolbox, it does not, in fact, rule everything around you, the small business proprietor.
Your most powerful tool is trust; it is your most precious commodity, your stock in trade. Bartering a favor for a favor or a simple, cash-free trade can make a big difference in how you spend money on your business. Going back to the breakroom issue, imagine if a legal firm offered free advice to a local coffee shop in exchange for a free pot of coffee every morning. You can apply this ethos to anything that costs you money at the office. Whether we’re talking about paper supplies, advertising space or furniture, if you can swap for it, you can save a lot of money.