Whether the economy is flourishing or struggling, as a small business owner, you’re always looking for ways to save.
This is especially important in recent years, as an increasing percentage of business owners report experiencing cash shortfalls each year. In fact, one survey found that 84% of business owners didn’t have enough cash to cover expenses last year.
While you might have to get a little crafty, there are plenty of ways you can reduce costs, improve forecasts, limit overspending, and more. Some ideas will save you more than others, but a mix of strategies can result in big savings for your business.
That stockpile of cash could be critical for your business. Read on to find out 19 ways you can save money today.
19 Ways Your Small Business Can Save Money
1. Utilize Free Tools and Apps
There are various free online tools for business owners – you just need to know where to look for them. These websites and apps can replace expensive services or paid subscriptions and eliminate monthly bills.
Below are just a few examples of free tools. If you don’t see something that suits your needs, you can do a quick Google search to see if a free or more affordable tool is available.
- Pexels, Unsplash, and Burst: Royalty-free images that you can use commercially, on your website or on your blog.
- Canva and Hatchful: Create social media assets, logos, infographics, and more with little design knowledge.
- Wave: Free accounting and invoicing software.
2. Opt for Lower-Cost Advertising
While advertising is necessary to help you connect with potential customers, it can also get expensive fast. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to cut advertising costs and still reach your target market thanks to the internet.
You can take a totally free approach by building a following and advertising on your social media accounts. If you go this route, be sure to carefully choose the platform where your ideal customers spend their time. You’ll also need to follow social media trends, create content, and post consistently to make this tactic work.
Email marketing is also worth considering – it's a low-cost investment and produces consistently high ROIs (returns on investment). You’ll need to build up your email list first. Then, you’ll need to write and send newsletters and promotions on a regular basis.
3. Hire Contractors
If your business is growing and you need to hire help, consider choosing to hire contractors instead of employees. Employees tend to be expensive to maintain, as you must pay them a yearly salary, health insurance, and paid time off.
Instead, hire contractors and freelancers. You employ these folks only as long as you need them and you don’t have to give them benefits. Contractors can help with almost anything, including marketing strategy, customer service, human resources, and more.
4. Choose Inexperienced Employees
If you do need to hire regular employees, consider choosing people who don’t have a ton of experience – like someone just out of college. Younger, more inexperienced employees are often willing to accept lower pay in exchange for valuable experience. They also tend to have more knowledge of technology and an eagerness to learn.
When you write a job posting, add a note welcoming graduates to apply. Since you’re hiring more inexperienced folks, you may want to put some extra thought into the hiring process. Carefully craft your interview questions to ensure you hire smart, coachable employees who have the soft skills necessary to succeed.
5. Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate
If you aren’t locked into a contract with your monthly bills, you can try to negotiate them down. Your landlord, vendors, suppliers, and service providers all depend on your payments in order to stay in business. This includes everything from your phone service provider to your merchandise supplier.
In many cases, these vendors are willing to hear you out when you ask to negotiate. They’d rather accept a lower rate than lose a long-time customer. Even if negotiating doesn’t work in your favor, the worst that will happen is they’ll say no.
6. Connect with Other Small Businesses
Other small business owners are likely looking for any way they can to save, just like you. While it’s important to connect so that you can support each other, networking can also help you save money. You can barter your skills or services with other small businesses.
For example, you might offer your marketing skills in exchange for another owner’s photography skills. Or, you might give a few free products in order to get help from a branding agency.
You can reach out to local small businesses in person or online. There are even Facebook and LinkedIn groups for networking with people in similar industries as your own.
7. Host Sponsored Events
Events are a great way to maintain connections with your existing customers and draw in new faces. However, they can also be quite expensive to host. If you can find a sponsor or two, you can fund your event with the help of someone else’s money. In exchange, sponsors typically ask for advertising during the event.
It’s generally best to get a sponsor that’s in a related industry, as these businesses will be more interested in advertising to your target market. You can do this with just about any type of event. For example, you can teach a class, give a talk, or host a gala.
8. Choose Used Equipment
Equipment is expensive and adds up fast. You can often save money just by buying gently used tools. Even if your business doesn’t rely heavily on equipment, you may be able to take advantage of used office supplies. For example, you can get a used printer or recycled printer cartridges.
Consider shopping online, too. Facebook Marketplace, Mercari, and other sites allow you to buy all kinds of used tech.
9. Change Your Payment Service Provider
You may be paying unnecessary fees each month to your payment service provider and not even realize it. Check your monthly bill and switch to a different provider if this is the case.
Pay.com offers transparent pricing and low fees. We have flat-rate, per-transaction pricing with no hidden costs. We keep our pricing structure simple for your convenience so that you never end up with surprise fees. Plus, you only pay for successful transactions.
10. Set a Monthly Financial Planning Date
As mundane as it may sound, it’s important to review your finances each month – even if you have a bookkeeping service that automatically tracks and sorts transactions for you. You must hold yourself accountable by getting involved each month.
Set a date (like the last day of each fiscal month) to review the previous month’s cash flow. You can use this time to look for:
- Suspicious charges
- Unnecessary monthly services to cut
- Progress toward savings or budgeting goals
11. Maximize Your Tax Return
If you aren’t prepared, taxes can be a huge expense at the end of the year. Be sure that you understand and meet state and federal tax regulations to avoid any fines or penalties. If you struggle to understand taxes, hiring an accountant could be a worthy investment.
Beyond just meeting tax requirements, a tax professional could also help you save and earn a bigger tax return. This includes finding deductions for your office expenses. For example, you can deduct some of your expenses, like your monthly internet bill, if you work from home.
12. Look for a Better Deal
We discussed negotiating with your vendors above. However, there is always a chance that your vendors simply won’t budge on pricing – but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with them. Make it a regular practice to look for better deals on all of your services.
For example, if there are multiple internet providers in your area, chances are they’re always competing to have the lowest introductory price. You can take advantage of that and switch your internet provider from time to time. You can also ask for discounts by offering to pay early or bill yearly instead of monthly
13. Limit Hours of Operation
If you have a physical office or storefront, you’re paying for more electricity and heat during all hours when people are there. If you cut down on that time, you can save significantly by shutting down all electronics and lowering the heat or air conditioning during non-business hours.
If you have an office with employees, consider moving to a four-day work week. Employees will likely appreciate the additional day in their schedules, and you can save an entire day’s worth of bills. If you have a storefront, you might track your business hours with the least traffic, then cut back a few hours here and there.
14. Go Virtual
Making your business entirely virtual can cut costs in a major way. By getting rid of an office building or brick-and-mortar store, you rid yourself of rent, electricity, gas, and internet bills. Although this isn’t an option for every type of business, it can save big money for business owners that do have this type of flexibility.
It’s worth noting that going entirely online will have its own costs. You may need to swap your employee’s desktop computers for laptops. You’ll likely also need to invest in some web-based technology, like a meeting platform or digital security tool.
Still, there are ways to save here, too. For example, you can use cloud-based software and avoid paying for expensive hardware. This allows you to pay by the user rather than buying and maintaining in-house software.
15. Choose Bundled Services
If you live in a more rural area, you may have limited options for local services. That means you might be stuck paying whatever prices they set with no option to negotiate. However, you may still be able to save by bundling.
Many phone, internet, and TV providers offer a bundled option that provides a small discount on each service. Reach out to your service providers and see what’s available.
16. Go Paperless
Printing can be a huge expense – and there’s really no need to print the vast majority of documents anymore. For many business owners, this is simply an old habit. Swap your printer for digital solutions that save you money.
You can send virtual invoices and proposals. Send, sign, and share contracts online. You can even pay your bills online. Plus, you likely already have technology and services that allow you to utilize these capabilities.
17. Avoid Losing Out On Sales
It might seem obvious, but another way you can lose money is by missing sales. People report abandoning online purchases for a variety of reasons, including:
- Tax, fees, and shipping costs were too high
- Delivery was too slow
- The site didn’t offer guest checkout
- The website crashed or had errors
- The site looked untrustworthy
- There weren’t enough payment methods
Check your website and correct these problems if you have them. You can easily solve the last two issues on the list by switching to Pay.com as your payment service provider.
Pay.com offers a variety of payment methods, so you’ll never lose a sale because the customer couldn’t pay the way they wanted to. Plus, Pay.com has advanced security features that you can display on your checkout page so that your customers feel safe.
18. Get a New Bank or Credit Card
You may be losing out on cash because of the institutions you use to manage your finances. For example, your bank could charge you fees because you aren’t meeting a minimum monthly input. Or, perhaps they offer a low APY (annual percentage yield) and you could earn more each month in interest with a different bank.
Likewise, you may also be missing out on points, cash back, or other benefits with your current business credit card. Take a look at your current financial accounts, then shop around for better alternatives that could put more money in your pockets.
19. Invest Where It Counts
While cutting corners can save you thousands, it’s also important to recognize where investing is worthwhile. For example, having business insurance may seem like an unnecessary monthly expense. However, that insurance could save you thousands of dollars later on if someone chooses to sue your business.
Consider your investments carefully. Other examples of helpful investments include disaster insurance, hiring a lawyer to review your contracts, and hiring an accountant to do your taxes.
Financial Mistakes Small Businesses Should Avoid
No matter how long you’ve been in business, there’s a fair chance that you’ve made a financial mishap or two. Sometimes these happen just because you aren’t sure what to look for. Here are other financial mistakes you should work to avoid:
- Overspending on inventory
- Mixing personal and business finances
- Not focusing on cash flow
- Spending your emergency fund on non-emergencies
- Failing to invest in professional services, like lawyers and accountants
- Spending too much on initial startup investments
- Avoiding business insurance
- Failing to budget
The Best Way for a Small Business to Receive Online Payments
While it’s important to save money, it’s also critical that your business can earn money. Make it easy for your customers and clientele to pay you with Pay.com. You can get started quickly with fast approval, then set up a customized checkout page by using the Pay Dashboard – even if you don’t have technical experience.
If you don’t have a website, you can still use Pay.com to accept online payments. Send your customers direct payment requests by generating Pay Links. You can even take card payments over the phone by manually entering payment details into the Pay Dashboard.
Choose from a wide variety of payment methods, including credit and debit cards, ACH transfers, and digital wallets. Pay.com is flexible so you can get paid in whatever way works for you. Plus, Pay.com has a transparent fee structure so you’re never stuck with surprise bills. Pay for successful transactions only and never waste money on a payment service provider again.
The Bottom Line
No matter how long you’ve owned your business or how successful it is, chances are you’d like to save some money. It’s also fair to say there are multiple ways you’re currently overspending. Take time to assess your business and see where you can adjust using the tips above. Though some may save you more than others, a multifaceted approach will save you the most.
Don’t forget, you can enjoy a transparent pricing structure, flexible payments, and a variety of payment methods with Pay.com. It’s easy to use and you can be up and running in no time. Click here to get started now.