To offset and prepare for the additional costs facing small businesses, start implementing the following cost-saving tactics:
- Save on Supplies
Depending on the nature of your business, office supplies can be a major expense. If you aren't already, take a few minutes to shop online or in your hometown for deals on the items you use most. Or assign this task to one of your staff. Weigh the convenience factor against your cost-savings as some deals will be worth it and others won't. Also, consider your local office supply retailer - several times throughout the year many offer a range of supplies (including printer paper, batteries, and Post-it notes) essentially for free after a 100% cash back rebate. You need to sign up for that retailer's rewards program to be alerted to upcoming sales.
- Save on Equipment
When upgrading or replacing equipment, think used and think online. Amazon, eBay, and Craigslist are all great resources to buy gently used equipment at significant discounts. In fact, many items listed as "used" online are practically new.
- Cut Advertising Costs
Focus on your social media campaign to reduce advertising costs. Define your goals and measure the results on sites like Facebook and Twitter to make sure you're meeting those goals. Also, be sure to devote enough time to the effort - either your own or the time of one of your staff. Respond to questions quickly, and post engaging content to encourage feedback from your readers. It also helps to regularly hold promotions for free services or products as well.
- Maximize Tax Deductions
Work with a qualified accountant to make sure you don't miss any tax deductions for your small business. For example, if you employ fewer than 25 people and have wages of $50,000 or less, you can qualify for a payroll tax credit of up to 35% of the cost of health insurance for your staff. For a complete list of deductions and credits, consult the IRS website.
- Go Paperless
Receiving, sorting through, opening, and filing paper bills requires time that you could devote to money-making activities. Opt for online bill delivery to streamline the process. Also, by encouraging your customers to receive bills electronically, you'll save on the costs of paper and postage.
About the author: Andrew Schrage is the co-owner of the financial resource, Money Crashers Personal Finance, which covers topics including money management, small business, taxes, investing, and more.