As a small business owner, you probably never escape the need to scrimp and save. A shoestring budget is every entrepreneur’s plight—it really is the only way to ensure that your profit margin is where you want it to be. Luckily, working on a lower budget is not the nightmare some people make it out to be. All you really need to do is manage your money in smart ways.
Buy Used and Recycled
A quick Google search will lead you to a few companies that supply offices with recycled (often re-fillable) printer cartridges at around half the price of new ones. There is no reason to keep buying new cartridges when recycled ones work just as well.
When you need to fill your office with equipment such as scanners, printers, and similar devices, consider looking for them second hand. You can find some great quality equipment out there for up to 60% less than the recommended retail price. Only buy brand new equipment when you really need to. Purchasing second-hand equipment allows you to focus your budget on things that are more important.
In addition to purchasing recycled printer cartridges, consider only printing when you absolutely must. Smart companies with a goal of moving forward are doing whatever they can to go paperless. It may seem like an overwhelming task to go through piles of existing paperwork in your office to find the important bits and pieces, but once you have done this, you can scan those papers and convert them into a digital format that is remarkably easy to work with, making your office more efficient.
In an attempt to stretch your paperless office even further, try opting for paperless billing. When your clients pop in, ask them if they would prefer to have their invoices emailed to them. This saves you valuable paper and ink. It also saves your client from having to carry around piles of bills that they might lose, misplace, or throw away.
Coupled with efficient document management strategies, a paperless office could save you hundreds of dollars that are better spent elsewhere.
Barter Goods and Services
It might seem like an old-fashioned idea, but commercial bartering really helps you stretch your budget further. Locate other businesses that may be interested in swapping one service for another. A quick online search will lead you to commercial barter clubs in your area. It may even be worth your while to look for The National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE), which allows business owners to exchange almost anything of interest.
A bartering system could lead to saving hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars every month. Why pay for something with your hard-earned cash, when there is a better way to go about it? Not only does the barter system help you save money, but it also fosters a sense of community between you and other local business owners. This could lead to a little extra help in times when you need it most.
As you go about your business, take a look at the different business practices you regularly utilize. Where can you cut back? Are there cheaper options? Keeping these in mind allows you to keep your business going on a tight budget. What is your favorite way to cut back on costs?