The 5 Biggest Expenses You Can Easily Cut in Your Business
By Mike Michalowicz
From American Express Open Forum
Every business has expenses. And, as much as we don’t like them, they are part of the nature of what we do. But there are some things that businesses spend money on that they don’t necessarily have to. You can absolutely put more money in your pocket by following some simple and effective routes to cutting your expenses.
Here are the 5 biggest expenses you can cut in your business and replace with simple, free shortcuts:
1. Advertising. Let me start with something that you probably think you can cut, but may not realize you can replace for free – advertising. Here’s the trick: Instead of paying to be on signage, billboards, or in the Yellow Pages, and instead of developing complex websites, check your competitors’ signage, billboards, Yellow Page ads, and websites. Some of them have probably gone out of business (and the phone numbers are disconnected). Yet their signs and ads still exist (and prospects who see them continue to call). Call your phone company and have those disconnected phone numbers redirected to your business. It is practically free to do and your phone will start to ring immediately.
2. Space. Rent is expensive and so are the utilities. Ironically, it is the spaces that you tend to use the least (like the conference room, bathroom, and kitchenette) that make up the most space and costs. The replacement is hotel lobbies. Many have lobby areas with lounges and work tables, well-kept restrooms, and even water fountains and snacks. Internet access and electrical outlets are pretty standard, too. Just bring a laptop and you are in business. Don’t like the hotel scene? You have Starbucks, as well. By the way, hotels are also great for holding meetings.
3. Transportation. Getting around a city by cabs and limos can add up in a hurry. If you are really living on a dime and can schedule your appointments at hotels (see Step Two), you can use the airport transport system. Almost every hotel has transportation to and from the local airport. Using your airport as your transport hub, you can go from the hotel you are at, back to the airport and then back out to any hotel they service. Rinse and repeat. Not the most convenient option in the world, but it is free.
4. Legalities. Legal services are a big one. Yet they are a necessary evil for a business. Here is a way to cut the expenses and still get top-notch legal advice – go to your local university and ask for a professor in the legal department. (Make sure they are an attorney beforehand, which most are.) Then offer to be a case study for the class, in exchange for legal advice and preparation of legal documents (e.g., employment agreements, etc.). The class can add you to their resume (a win for them), the professor brings in a real-world example – you (a win for him or her), and you get free legal advice and support (a win for you).
5. Research. Spending a boatload of time and expenses by conducting market research as a way to learn what your big company prospects are looking for and how they are wording their needs can be costly. The process historically is to learn as you go. Meet as many prospects as possible and modify your message to fit what you learn. But here is the free method (which takes minutes, not all those meetings): go onto the job boards and see what these companies are hiring for. Those positions are where they have a need, and the ads state the exact messaging (words) these companies use to explain their needs.
In today’s market and economy, most businesses can benefit from cutting some expenses. This is just a short list of the many possible ways you can still get what you need, while avoiding the big bill that comes with it. Get creative and start trying these routes and others, and you’ll be writing out fewer checks.