If you have a small business, here are some creative tips to find cash in places you may not have looked before.
Advertising and marketing
• Team up with other businesses to buy ads, share mailing lists and cross-promote.
• Advertise on local cable television, which has much lower rates.
• Share your expertise by teaching a class or writing an article for a local paper or Web site.
• It’s cheaper to encourage repeat customers than look for new ones. Focus on your loyal clients.
• Take an old-fashioned approach. Pick up the phone or write a thank you.
• Slip an ad into anything you can – invoices, checks, point-of-purchase packaging.
• The Postal Service will fine-tune your mailing list for free, making you eligible for bar-code postage discounts.
• Ask employees to pitch in to help keep the office clean instead of hiring a daily janitorial service.
• Sublet unneeded space or share office space with another businesses.
• Take a close look at printing costs and get multiple bids. Go as paperless as possible. Consider one- or two-color pieces, or ask for paper left over from other jobs.
• Ask your power company for a free energy audit.
• Be smart with technology. Bundle services like phone, Internet, fax and web hosting. Use Cloud-based services to host data. Use shareware instead of purchasing software.
• Raise your group health insurance deductible.
• Consider an employee-leasing service or contract workers. This may free you from providing insurance and other benefits.
• Staff up with low-cost or free college students or interns when possible.
• Use independent manufacturers’ sales reps that are paid on a commission-only basis.
• Allow employees to telecommute when possible.
• If things are dire, before you lay off people, look at reducing perks, benefits or hours.
• Gather your courage and ask for discounts on insurance, credit card fees, cell phone bills, rent – and especially professional services like legal and accounting.
• Barter for goods or services.
• Join an association that offers discounts.
• Team up with other business to share resources and place bigger orders that qualify for discounts.
Take a close, ruthless look at your expenditures. You’re likely to find countless other ways to trim the fat.