As the economy spins small companies and startups are looking at what they can do to cut costs to save money now. Here are some ideas:
- Everyone does not need a phone.
Sure you need one in the office and maybe someone else does but you don't need one on every desk.
- Have everyone turn off their computer at the end of the day. If you don't remote-control your computer set it to turn off after 30 minutes idle.
- PDF instead of printing
Printing wastes paper, toner and time. It's easier to share ideas electronically. Avoid printing whenever possible.
- Death to the fax machine
Don't have another line for a fax machine. Use a free efax account to receive faxes and use the scan & PDF to send documents back. Take the fax machine out back and have yourself an Office Space moment. (Please post photos if you do)
- Sub-lease/share office space
If you have more space then you need consider renting or sub-leasing some of it.
- Save on software (online/google apps for domains)
Google Apps for domains instead of Exchange, Google Docs instead of Office. Give people the tools they need but a bias for online apps can save you a lot.
- Filtered water instead of bottled water, soda, etc.
It's better for the environment, better for employees and it saves you money.
- Send sick employees home
Keeps other people from getting sick. People who have a cold can easily work from home.
- Stop advertising things where you can't measure ROI
Are you advertising products or services and not measuring the Return on Investment? You have to know if your advertising is working.
- Do it yourself marketing - Blog, update your website
You can market your own website, service, company. Start a blog, email a press-release about your company. Update the text on your homepage. Is your content stale? Fix it.
- Ask your friends who they use for vendors and how much they pay
Find out who others use for suppliers. If they are getting better rates see if you can negotiate something better.
- Buy 'Home' level services instead of 'Business' class
Many companies and software companies sell business plans for Cell phone, Internet, Backup software, PC's and more that have higher prices for business services that often have few or no advantages to small businesses. If the company allows it, buy the 'home' plans to save a bundle.
- Buy your white boards at Home Depot
It's called "Solid White Tileboard" and it's ridiculously cheap. You could wallpaper with this stuff.
- Clean your own office
Get a Rommba and take out the trash. You don't need someone to come-in every week.
- Get someone to help you with your books.
My accountant has "found" over a thousand dollars for me. Well worth the money spent and the time saved.
- Good Payroll systems can be low cost
Don't overpay for payroll. Good quality services can be very affordable. I recommend Bank of America Payrole. I used to pay 5 times that much for a system that was much worse.
- Save on legal costs
If you do a lot of the work upfront you can save a ton on agreements, patents and other legal advice. If you prepare upfront then the time your attorney spends helping you will be efficient time. Often times standard agreements are available online that apply to your specific situation.
- Cancel memberships that don't provide value
If you signed up for a professional membership that sends you a newsletter that you don't read go cancel your membership. If you have a membership that you only use a little cancel that as well. Larger member organizations often send you 20-50% savings coupons as soon as you cancel. You can always go back if you change your mind.
- Don't use recruiters
Offer your employees and their family rewards for finding new employees. You'd rather give $1-5K to your employee as a bonus then $10-$20K to a stranger.