Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy, but it is not easy to run one and succeed. Indeed, it is much easier to start strong and find yourself struggling down the road – and not too far down.
When revenue does not come in as expected, it is easy to find one taking out loans and borrowing in other forms just to keeps the business going. Being a small business, you might even take on personal debt to keep your business running. Before you know it, you might even be facing the possibility of having to file for bankruptcy – either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it does not matter. While there are marked differences, between the two types, bankruptcy is bankruptcy, and you certainly don’t want to reach that point.
That being said, a small business still has enough chances to succeed in these tough times. As a small business owner, you do bear the brunt of the responsibility, and you have to take a look at ways you can cut on expenses, continue operations, and increase your bottom-line.
Spend less on traditional advertising, and look for low cost alternatives.
Advertising is an inherent part of running a thriving business – no matter what size. The thing is, advertising can be very expensive, and traditional means of advertising can prove to be a huge money leak for a small business. As such, you will want to look for lower cost alternatives such as public relations, inbound marketing, and even using SEO and content marketing techniques as opposed to buying AdWords, ad spaces in newspapers, and TV commercial spots.
There may be tasks that can be handled by your employees, who are paid anyway, so you don’t want to outsource that. Some tasks, however, may not need a full time employee. For these types of tasks, it is better to find an independent contractor. Keep your full-time staff to a minimum, and you’ll save a huge chunk on salary, as well as benefits.
Examples of tasks you can outsource: copy-writing, data entry, and even accounting.
A small business owner should focus on the cash, right- Sure. But cash isn’t the end all be all. You can actually help your bottom-line by cutting back on expenses when you barter your services with another business. You won’t be getting cash for your service or product in this case, but you will not be spending cash for a service or product your receive as well.
For example, if you run a spa, and you need to revamp your web site, you can offer to barter services with a web designer/copywriter. The chances of this working are better if you approach an independent contractor or a small business as well.
Go open source
In this day and age, every business needs some hardware and software. Instead of paying a premium for proprietary software like Microsoft Word and/or Microsoft Excel, why don’t you look at open source software instead. Here is a good list of open source alternatives to Microsoft Office.
Learn to negotiate better with vendors
A good businessperson is a good negotiator, but there is always room for improvement. If you want to cut back on expenses, one excellent way is to negotiate more and better with your vendors – from office supplies to phone/Internet. If you think about it, your vendors are also running a business, and they would rather keep you as a steady customer than lose you because of their unwillingness to reach a compromise.
These are only a few things you can do to save on expenses, and increase your bottom-line in the long run. As long as you are willing to make some changes and consider things that may not be your first recourse, you increase your chances of making it even in these tough times.