Here are some tips from our readers on how to save money in business.
How to Save Money Tip: When setting up your business system – sales, purchases, servicing whatever it may be – the system needs to efficiently touch each process once and effectively (accidentally) create the accounting records and business records without needing to conduct a different process to comply with accounting and tax requirements. Have a system that works for the business by touching each piece of paper ONCE. Use electronic interactions with banks, suppliers, customers so that manhandling of documents isn’t required.
– Matthew Addison
How to Save Money Tip: Use a capped mobile plan to make calls to other mobile phones and interstate.
How to Save Money Tip: If you say you are going to meet someone at a certain time, be there. If you can’t make it on time, ring them to reschedule and stay honest. (Time is money to everyone, both management and entry level staff.) Merry Christmas!
– Meg Calder
How to Save Money Tip: Local air travel. Always book the cheapest flight and always book personally to do the trade-off for time, convenience and cost. Only you can make the convenience/cost decision. The cheapest fare is usually not very flexible. Don’t worry, just tear up any ticket you cannot use if you have a last minute change. On average you will be well ahead.
– Robert Bowen
How to Save Money Tip: Stop procrastinating on removing poor quality staff! ‘Free up their future’ and save a heap of money.
How to Save Money Tip: I am too busy developing the business to constantly scrutinise every cost that is spent within the organisation, so I delegated this responsibility. The best scrutiny of costs is the employees who see any abuse or wastage of valuable resources – especially money. Assistants, clerks and accounts payable can be resentful of obvious abuse of company funds by their managers when they are denied the little things that help do their jobs. This is why our company has a policy of allowing any employee to present a business case regarding any wastage of resources, including alternative solutions and the cost saving resulting from the change. The staff don’t exactly do this out of spite, they do this for an incentive bonus of 10-20% of the cost saving they have actually generated from their business case. Some cost savings have been long term solutions saving the company thousands to small savings, which help make the company function more efficiently. At first this was a little shaky as managers thought they weren’t valued or trusted; in the long run this has lead to more integrity and productivity from all employees regarding costs. I’m just glad that the sole responsibility doesn’t rest on me.
How to Save Money Tip: Buy unprinted paper stock for letterhead etc in bulk. Plan ahead when printing by getting together with another business that either uses the same stock type as your stationery or choose one that suits you both, then you can get the cost efficiency of buying in the thousands and take half each for your print needs.
How to Save Money Tip: I have decided to switch my merchant banking facilities to another bank as of January. We will be saving around $4000 a year in merchant fees. Pays to shop around.
– Perminder Thind
How to Save Money Tip: Ask your employees whether they know of a better value way to do something. In my experience as an employee, I often had better ideas than my boss. Ideas that were not just cheaper, but more beneficial for the business. Give your employees hints and tips on marketing every now and then. That’d inspire them to think on their own.
How to Save Money Tip: Two of our biggest expenses are hardware and software – every office needs it! You can save a bundle on both by exploring free software and second-hand hardware. You’d be surprised at the quality and variety of no-cost or low-cost alternatives out there.
How to Save Money Tip: Remember your start-up phase. I’m just starting in business and I have to do creative juggling with funds and find alternative ways around spending all the time, as my start up budget is so small. I believe entrepreneurs could save loads of cash by remembering their own start up phase and recalling how creative they were in saving money, but yet were still able to achieve great things.
How to Save Money Tip: A great way to save money is to bring development of training packages back “in house”. By harnessing expertise from “switched on” individuals such as OH&S committee members, and by utilising inexpensive software. Developing training packages “in house”, updates can be easily implemented. Also, individuals learn vital new skills, which can assist in their own career progression. A win-win for all!
– Ian Green
How to Save Money Tip: Have a look at what you are paying the bank for merchant fees on credit card receipts. We were paying 2% for many years. When I approached the bank with an offer we received from another source they matched it. We now pay 0.9% and save over $20,000 a year.
How to Save Money Tip: I have found people say they are always having cashflow problems. I have always been up-front with my customers by setting my terms of trade from the start (payment up front or a 50% upfront and balance on completion). This allows identification of potential problems re client funds before you start doing business. It saves time and stress for both parties later on. Also with today’s invoicing programs SMEs can give their customers many methods of paying such as by bPay, credit card, direct deposit etc. One example I had was a motel that decided they did not want to pay until 30 days after agreement had be made. I then asked if I could book a room and pay in 30 days. They said no, payment upfront. I got my money. Simple clear terms can make it smooth for everyone.
– Jim Outridge
How to Save Money Tip: Instead of paying someone to create a website for you, try to do it yourself first. There are many DIY websites out there, get one with a free trial so you can get the hang of it before committing and if you don’t like it, it doesn’t matter as you haven’t spent a cent.
How to Save Money Tip: Avoid time wasting on emails and promotions that do not contribute to your ability to service your customers’ needs.
How to Save Money Tip: Set up remote access for all your employees and provide them with a laptop purchase plan. Your staff purchase a laptop and pay through a salary scheme in conjunction with the retailer. A great incentive for wireless and/or broadband laptop anywhere – either over a latte, at home or after hours. Employees are happy and more productive with laptop flexibility.
– Janine Crutch
How to Save Money Tip: Do not delegate cheque signing and electronic payments. Fraud is prevalent and loses can be significant not to mention unpleasant to deal with especially if it is someone you trusted who perpetrated the fraud.
– Kim Bradshaw
How to Save Money Tip: Use the sale of one product to sell another. Every first sale is an exercise in, and proof of, trust development. Once trust has been established, follow-on sales are far less expensive. Get two sales over the line and you have a client, not a customer. Spend time creating attractive special offers to buyers and have your dispatch team pack the offer tailored to what the new customer bought. Remember when you got a new gizmo in the mail? It’s the moment you want to consolidate and hold on to the joy of acquisition. It’s also the time people are most apt to repurchase, so make your offer time limited, make it attractive and make them feel special as only you can with a new customer!
– Ian Blair Hamilton
How to Save Money Tip: Promotional pens and stationery. Don’t buy unbranded stationery, promotional pens can act as free advertisements and when bought in bulk are often less than the standard office supplies.
– Steph Rawnsley