With the economy still lukewarm entrepreneurs everywhere are trying to conserve cash. Investing money to grow your business is a must, but wasting money—well that’s something no one wants to do, but many business owners manage to do unknowingly. And although many businesses are still booming, being a cheapskate can keep more profit in your bank account.
In fact, being a cheapskate is being buzzed about everywhere. I’m not talking about the kind of person who rations shampoo, reuses tissues, or goes out to dinner with friends and hopes someone else will pick up the tab. Instead I’m referring to people who are conscious about how they spend their money, especially when it comes to their business.
Are you really in a cash crunch? There are some simple things you can do that will reduce your business budget and allow you to reallocate that money into marketing so you can grow your business. Here are a few money saving tips as well as ways to examine how you’re spending your money.
Website maintenance and hosting
I see so many people get ripped off when it comes to their websites because they just don’t know better. Make sure your website is designed in a Content Management System like WordPress or Joomla so you can make simple changes like wording or adding photos or videos yourself and you won’t have to pay someone to do it, since the going rate is around $60 an hour. These systems are very user friendly and will save you a bundle.
When it comes to web hosting you should be paying under $10 a month for a simple website hosting account. You’re better off not hosting through your web designer but with a well-known dedicated web hosting company. Web designers often charge more and don’t always give you access. If you switch web designers or they are unavailable you may have trouble getting access to your business website.
Consider switching your business phones to VOIP, the Internet based phone service. It could save you hundreds of dollars a year. I know solo home based business that even use Magic Jack at under $20 a year!
If the computer, cell phone and software you use still work just fine, you don’t need to replace them with the latest version. Only switch when you absolutely need to do so. Do you need web access on your cell phone if you work at home all day? Do you need a new operating system just because it’s available? Advertisers would have you believe you do and so would your kids, but don’t fall for it.
On the other hand, do invest in automation software if it will make your business more efficient, save you precious time or expense on outsourced help. Examples would be using an e-mail marketing program, affiliate management software, database program, scheduling program, or customer service software.
One of the most annoying expenses is replacing printer cartridges. You end up paying much more for the cartridges than you paid for the printer. Try using refillable cartridges. Plus did you know that certain fonts actually use more ink? Really, I’m not kidding! _________________
Don’t buy office supplies you might need. Only buy what you actually need. Before buying pens, post-its or paper, check different stores for the best prices so you can save money consistently. Save paper by printing on both sides when possible. Also send documents electronically when possible rather than printing and faxing or mailing. It’s incredible how much this can save you.
Don’t be a cheapskate when it comes to the marketing materials your prospects see, like your website, business card, blog. Get a skilled professional graphic designer or web designer to create your branding and you’ll come across as an experienced professional.
But with the vast opportunities available to market at practically no cost on the Internet and using social media, you’d be crazy not to take advantage. For a very small investment you can hire a trained virtual assistant to help you drive lots of highly targeted traffic right to your online door. I’ve seen small business owners spend hundreds of dollars a year on local networking groups that yielded no business rather than taking that money and spending it on something that will give them a measurable return on investment.
Spend 30 minutes going through your expenses and see where making some minor changes can save you money. And from now on, go ahead and be a cheapskate! Just don’t skimp where it counts.© Copyright 2010 Janis Pettit