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One of my pet peeves is having to full retail price just because my business needs software, equipment or other stuff to keep it running smoothly.
As a small business owner you should apply this same kind of thinking to your brand.
Yes, you should buy quality items versus purchasing cheap things, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a good deal. There’s a difference between buying value, and only focusing on instant savings.
As a solo business owner you have to be prepared to take a little time to get the best deal possible. It could mean the difference between your business being successful or not.
Below are the tactics I use to help my business save money on practically anything.
1. Research online and save
I do a lot of comparison shopping online to rack up extra savings. This past week I wanted to print off a few business guides that I purchased as digital workbooks, and I checked with several different online print services to find the best deals.
Another way to save on important business-related expenses is to periodically check Groupon or the DealsPlus blog for the latest deals and freebies.
2. Negotiate for what you need
To me, everything is up for negotiation. So whether you’re purchasing a new laptop or paying rent on an office space, you should be leveraging negotiating to save money.
Sometimes you can negotiate for things that enhance your work experience, free up your time or offer a better lifestyle. Our time can be just as important (if not more) than money.
3. Barter services and products
If you can’t afford a product or service that you need to help your business grow, consider bartering for it instead. Bartering is when you trade goods or services for other goods/services, without exchanging money. And as long as you and the other person agree on the terms, basically anything goes.
This can come in especially handy if you need a new website design, photos for your portfolio or any other work your brand needs to set it apart. If you have something to offer that the other person wants or needs, make sure to leverage that skill.
You can even barter for personal things like, doing someone’s online marketing in exchange for laundry service, or handling the bookkeeping to get a discount on rent (both of which I’ve done). If you own a freelance business you can use bartering as currency instead of actual money.
4. Go green and repurpose
I’m not overly obsessed with going green, but I like to do my part when it comes to reusing and repurposing items, and this definitely applies to buying supplies for a business. There’s no reason to waste perfectly useful stuff.
You can reuse boxes as make-shift shelves, or old calendars as framed art for your workspace. Almost anything can be repurposed, so don’t be too quick to reuse an item.
Additionally, you can save money by lowering your business’ energy bill. According to Kiplinger.com, purchasing an energy saving power strip, like the Belkin Conserve Smart AV, can save about $76 per year on energy costs. I purchased the Belkin power strip for my apartment, and love it!
All you do is plug your computer or TV cord into the green master outlet, then plug in other gadgets, like DVD player, gaming consoles and surround systems to the other 5 connected outlets. When you turn the main component off, it will automatically cut power to the other electronics connected with the master outlet.
5. Be a bargain hunter
I love thrift stores and consignment shops. They are especially great for finding goodies for my home office. I even had a small side business making over $1,000 a month “flipping” thrift store and yard sale finds on eBay.
No matter what you’re looking for, you can find some amazing deals on clothes, home decor and even art, at no where near retail price. If you need furniture for your workspace, a filing cabinet, an office chair, or some new organization bins for paperwork, you’ll likely find barely used or even brand new items at a fraction of the cost.
Additionally, see if you can get what you need for free before buying new or even used. With sites like Craigslist, eBay Classifieds and FreeCycle there’s pretty much no end to what people are willing to give away.
Also, check with your family and friends to see if they have any items they are getting rid of. When bootstrapping your business, any amount of money you can save while in the beginning stages will help it succeed faster.
6. Perform a business budget audit
If you aren’t careful your spending will increase over time. It may only seem like a few dollars here and there, but when you add it up it can equal a lot of overspending.
In order to combat this, you need to perform regular budget audits. I suggest scheduling them at least on a quarterly basis.
Since I’m a sole-proprietor my business and personal are one in the same. Even though I have separate checking and savings accounts, all the income is still used to pay the bills — no matter what category they fall into. If I save $100 on my personal bills, that means I have more money to put into my business. And vice-versa.
Go through your budget with a fine-tooth comb and see where you can cut back. Everything from car insurance, to your cell phone bill, to your internet account should be audited. It’s easy to compare hotel prices before booking a business conference, but sometimes we forget about the small stuff in our businesses.
The little things add up just as much (or more) than the big purchases, so don’t disregard them.
7. Don’t impulse buy
This principal applies to business purchases as well as personal ones. Impulse buys are dangerous, and can put your business at risk if you don’t properly budget for the equipment ahead of time.
Even if it’s considered an “investment” like purchasing much-needed software or buying a new scanner/printer, you want to be smart with where you spend your hard-earned money.
A smart way to curb impulse spending is by impulse saving instead. Reward yourself for not giving into impulse buys by transferring your small savings every time you don’t purchase something (like a new business book or cup of coffee).
Since I started using Digit, I’ve been able to save an extra $535 in 3 months, to put towards investing some real money into my business.
How to save money on anything
As solo business owners we have to be smart with where we spend our money. Like I mentioned previously, any additional income or savings you can generate means your brand will be in business in that much longer.
Take action today and use these simple ideas to put more money in your pocket, so you’ll have more to invest into your business.
Got another idea to help business owners save money? Share your thoughts!