5 Money Saving Tips For Running A Small Business (Plus More Smart Ways to Save)
Running a small business means you have to be extremely careful about every dollar and cent you put out. Trying to drum up initial business can be a challenge while keeping costs down, but here are five tips to save money as a small business without interfering with the quality your business provides:
1. Use Payment Depot For Cheap Credit Card Processing
Payment processing is a conundrum for most small businesses since you will lose out on many sales without accepting these transactions, but may lose money if you process too many of them, especially if they are smaller transactions. Payment Depot does away with this fear by charging a flat fee of as low as 10 cents for each use, after a small subscription fee. You won’t have to worry about racking up hidden costs or surprising charges. These savings can easily amount to hundreds or thousands of dollars each month, letting you worry about more important aspects of your business.
2. Social Media Marketing
It is critical for a small business to get their product and name out there when first starting, but costs can be quite prohibitive. Luckily, social media has become increasingly popular and many businesses are able to find success by using Facebook and Twitter to establish their social media presence. Offer Twitter followers deals and exclusive offers and make sure to post every day or two on your Facebook account. Create a simple website and include the URL in any advertisements you take out.
3. Save on the Small Stuff
As a small business owner you are in charge of all aspects of your business, including the purchasing. Make sure to develop relationships with your vendors as they will often begin to offer discounts for your loyalty. Make sure to shop around for the best prices and always buy in bulk if possible. You will enjoy lower costs and free shipping for most large purchases. You can also save money by performing services yourself instead of outsourcing them, such as delivering things directly to your clients yourself or cleaning your own offices.
4. Use Free Software
A small business will need to use software to send emails, create documents, track projects, print business cards, and more. There is no need to spend a dime on any of these, though. You can use Google’s Gmail, Calendar and Docs to take care of your basic email and document tasks, and you can download OpenOffice for a free Microsoft Office clone. Software like AceProject provides a fully loaded project management suite for no cost whatsoever, allowing you to track employees, projects and costs. Some other nifty free services include MailChimp which provides email marketing at no cost, and Vistaprint which provides small businesses with an introductory offer for 250 free business cards.
5. Know Your Tax Deductions
The best idea is to have a tax professional prepare your taxes, but even if you are doing your own to save money, make sure to research any tax breaks you might not be aware of. For example, if you provide an environmentally friendly upgrade to your home or office you could be eligible for a tax credit. Other deductions may apply for industry publication subscriptions, training classes, sales lead lists, home office utilities and internet service.
Picking the Right Small Business Accounting Software
Small businesses often see accounting as a non-critical function of their organization. There are many more important things that small business owners need to think of first, such as employee productivity, keeping clients, and keeping production to levels that can sustain growth. However, having an accounting system that meets the needs of a small business owner can make all of these functions much easier by streamlining your finances and giving you a simple, big-picture view of how your company is operating.
Research and Test before you Buy
When searching for a piece of accounting software, don’t just look at the advertisements they send. It is also important not to get caught up in the reviews done by independent parties. A piece of accounting software is not a “one size fits all” situation; a small bike repair shop is not going to need the same accounting software as a restaurant, which will also not need the same type of software as a small car parts manufacturer.
When researching these pieces of software, look at the functionality of the program. Request a free trial from the software provider, or find a free trial on the internet. Do some mock accounting transactions outside of production, and have your employees and any IT personnel you may have review the program to see if it is easy to integrate with your other existing systems. Purchasing accounting software can be an expensive proposition, so it is important to ensure that you get the best program for your money.
Make Sure You Can Be Compliant
There are several local, state, and federal requirements for accounting for small businesses, and you need to make sure that you can meet them all so you don’t have to face fines, penalties, and extra tax assessments down the line. Review what can be programmed into the accounting software you may be buying, and make sure that the report generation piece of the software will allow for compliance reports and printouts that need to be sent to government officials.
Report production, as mentioned in passing above, is one of the most important functions of an accounting system. After all, the accounting function itself is meant to report on the financial strength and trends of the business. You must make sure that the software you buy can provide you with preprogrammed reports that provide enough information for you to make informed business decisions. This goes beyond just being able to print out a balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows.
Keep it Simple
This is important, especially for small businesses. There is not always a CPA in the accounting position of a small business, if they have an accountant at all. The program you select as your accounting system needs to be easy enough for at least two of your employees to be able to understand its functions and be able to use it.
Selecting the right accounting software for your small business can be a daunting task, and it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you start your business. Selecting the right piece of software will ensure that you remain legally compliant, can understand the health of your business, and are able to record your transactions with maximum ease and efficiency.
Beat the Big Banks with Smart Business Practices
As a business owner, you need every penny to grow your company and succeed. With a few smart business practices, you can create a prosperous company without sacrificing the quality of the products or services that you provide. Smart business practices include:
• Staying current on new technology
• Moving away from traditional advertising
• Working with an affordable credit card processing provider
• Keeping an eye on all business expenses
How Technology Decreases Costs
Make sure that you know how to use today’s computer technology effectively. With current technology, you can keep accurate records of your expenses and your clients. It will let you track the money that you have coming in and going out. Also, consider using cloud-based solutions instead of your own hardware. That option is often more affordable, and it remains up-to-date.
Consider Advertising Changes
The rise of Internet advertising and marketing allows you to decrease your costs for traditional advertising and continue to attract customers. You may even be able to eliminate conventional Internet advertising through social media sites by implementing Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, techniques in your website. You can also create attention-grabbing YouTube videos to increase Internet traffic to your site, or create “clickbait” content that can go “viral” by attracting large numbers of new visitors to your site. This will help boost your rankings in the search engines like Google, which will in turn help direct more visitors – and thus (hopefully) more paying customers – to your website.
Change Credit Card Processing Companies
Credit card processing companies are necessary for today’s business owners, but you can shop around for better pricing. Companies that process credit card transactions pay a fee to the credit card issuer. In most cases, the processing company increases the percentage amount charged by the issuing bank for each transaction to earn its fee. As a result, you’ll pay more for every charge that your customers make. To save money on these services, consider working with a discount credit card processing provider like Payment Depot. With our company, you can easily save hundreds of dollars a month off your credit card processing statement.
As a business owner, you’ll require employees to complete work tasks for you. Keep in mind that employees come with many costs such as salaries, insurance coverage and office space. For some businesses, employee expenses are their largest costs. Consider hiring a minimal staff for your day-to-day activities and outsource for tasks that they do not have the time or experience to complete. In fact, it may be helpful for your business because outsourcing allows you to hire specialists, and on a contract basis at that.
Review Your Business Expenses
Since reviewing business expenses is meticulous and time-consuming work, many owners procrastinate the task. However, maintaining this area of your company is a smart business practice. Look for ways to reduce expenses or increase internal cohesion. When you make small cuts on a continuous basis, you’ll find that it creates big savings over the long run.
We can help you decrease your credit card processing costs, and when you manage your company efficiently and effectively, you will likely establish a more successful business model overall. By implementing a few basic smart business practices, you can keep your money where it belongs, which is in your company and your pocket.
5 Ways to Cut Costs in Your Small Business
As a small business owner, you have to monitor your bottom line. Profitability is a must if you want to keep your business up and running, so it’s important to be strategic about your expenditures. Expense tracking isn’t just a task for underperforming retailers… even businesses that are raking it in need to have enough liquid capital to invest in unexpected opportunities, to scale as demand grows, and to cover any unforeseen expenses that arise. Knowledge is power when it comes to cutting business costs. So, let’s take a look at five of the best money-saving tactics for SMBs.
1. Outsource Data Entry to Experienced Professionals
Did you know that bad data cost U.S. businesses $3.1 trillion in 2016? Very few companies moonlight as data entry professionals and errors can happen when you try to squeeze in important tasks like data entry in between all of the other demands on your time––and errors are expensive when you’re running a SMB.
Whether you’re using sales data to make purchasing decisions, enter your weekly revenue, forecast future expenses, do your taxes, or track employee performance, you need accurate data to run your business effectively.
Outsourcing data entry helps you out on a few levels. First, you save time by not trying to do it all in-house. You also save money on clerical errors, such as: shrinkage, unidentified tax write-offs (only 15% of business owners claim they deduct all of their potential write-offs each year), order mix-ups, and more.
By outsourcing data entry to a contract worker or third-party provider, you’re also saving money that you would otherwise eventually wind up spending on hiring a full-time employee to complete the tasks––so you don’t have to waste time second-guessing your math and can instead focus on running a successful small business.
2. Get Your Inventory on a Barcode System, Already
This is never a popular option. And that’s because business owners often equate streamlining their back-of-house operation with investing in expensive inventory management technology.
But getting your inventory on a simple barcode tracking system is way more cost-effective than you’ve probably been led to believe: A simple barcode label printer will run you about $90 on Amazon, and a subscription to a basic, barcode-based inventory management system starts at about $60 a month. Once you have over 200 units of inventory, it’s advisable to switch to a basic barcode tracking system so you don’t lose valuable stock running your business.
Considering that barcodes almost completely eliminate the risk of human error in the order picking, tracking, and delivery process, it’s well worth the small subscription fee––especially as your business begins to scale. Most inventory management providers will let you start with their cheapest option and add to your subscription as your business grows, so you’ll only pay for the processing capacity you need to track and manage your inventory. You’ll easily make up the cost with prompter, more accurate inventory location…and with all of the inventory you don’t lose to shrinkage in the process.
3. Give Your Employees Marketing Duties
Few businesses can afford to have full-time social media personnel on the sales floor. But by empowering your sales associates to create and share social media content, you can reap the benefits of a full-time social media expert with none of the cost. Training your employees to create social media content for your stores can also help to increase (that ever-elusive) employee engagement, since it gives them a personal stake in your business’s success and they’re gaining skills that they can add to their resume.
Don’t take this to mean that you should arm your employees with cell phones and send them out on your sales floor willy-nilly. In a recent Pew report, a whopping 63% of workers said that their employers have no rules about how they portray themselves on social media. But if your employees are using social media to promote your brand, you want to be sure that they are representing your store in the best light possible. Do this by training all of the employees with access to your store’s SM profiles on the dos and don’ts of posting as your company, and make sure that you have final approval on all of your employee’s posts before they go up on your pages.
4. Use Customer Data to Your Advantage
Collecting and utilizing customer data is no longer something just the domain of big box stores. An increasing number of SMBs are use customer data to improve their sourcing decisions, enrich their marketing campaigns, and increase their average transaction value. Relying on data to make business decisions increases your chance of success by 79%. But compiling customer data doesn’t have to be an expensive or complicated proposition. In fact, it has never been easier to put customer data to work for your business.
Two of the simplest ways to gather customer data are: 1) Through your POS system, or 2) Through online surveys. Many POS systems have the ability to track and monitor your customers’ purchasing behavior, and some even have the capability to funnel customer data directly into your CRM campaign. But if you don’t have an intelligent POS system, or your POS system doesn’t give you all of the data you need, consider gathering data through a free online survey site, such as Survey Monkey. Online surveys are one of the most cost-effective ways to gather and utilize customer data, so you can save money by sourcing the goods that will sell in your stores.
5. Lower the Cost of Credit Card Processing
Credit card processing is one of the most significant expenses you face as a small business owner. You want to be sure that you aren’t paying hidden fees on the backend, so it’s important to review your credit card processing statements to ensure that you know exactly how credit card processing works and what you’re paying for. Be sure to reach out to your merchant services provider with any questions that you have about your statement. And, if you suspect that your merchant services provider isn’t being completely honest about what you’re being charged, don’t be afraid to shop around for a more trustworthy provider.
Payment Depot uses a membership-based pricing model that’s completely transparent, so you always know what and why you’re being charged. Payment Depot is often called “The Costco of credit card processing” because they charge a wholesale credit card processing rate that’s similar to the wholesale model that Costco uses on home products––which explains why Payment Depot customers save an average of $400 a month on credit card processing. Speak with one of Payment Depot’s award-winning, in-house customer service reps today.