One of the most exciting feelings for me is walking out of the house wearing a new pair of shoes. While the world (mostly friends and family) sees the final result, there has often been an embarrassing amount of thought has gone into my new purchase. Should I buy the designer style or the off-brand? How long will this product be in fashion? Do I really need a new pair of shoes? Do I have another pair that can do the job? When making investment decisions, whether on a indulgent accessory or in a business, I analyze which characteristic of the purchase is going to make the investment pay for itself: appearance or functionality. With these two concepts in mind, we’ve come up with a few ideas to help your company meet its bottom-line.
- Ask for help: Bring down your marketing costs. We know you’ve had a number of satisfied customers and business people with whom you’ve worked who like you. Save on some marketing costs by spending time looking for your next clients. Ask your contacts and customers who they know who might be interested in your services. You can reach out to them. On the flip-side, ask your satisfied clients to give you a good review and mention you to their network.
- Buy used: There are a number of retailers who sell used and refurbished products, from computers to cameras to cash registers. This is an issue of functionality. If the product does the job, buy it used!
- Hire strategically: If there are periods during which you experience an upsurge in business, hire temporary employees to fill the need. Additionally, search for low-cost employees who are looking to gain experience, such as college students, to help you.
- Finance frugally: When starting out, a lot of business expenses are made on credit. Before committing to a certain bank, make sure you shop around. If you are not planning on paying your monthly bill in full, make sure you have a low interest fee. Negotiate.
- Deposit punctually: While interest on your credit works against you, interest on your bank deposits works for you. Make sure to deposit cash, checks, etc. as soon as possible in order to accrue the most interest on your bank account.
- Form alliances: You are likely not the only small business in your neighborhood. Forge partnerships with similar businesses in order to gain bargaining power with your suppliers.
- Go green: Whenever possible, cut out the use of paper in your business. The little things add up: money spent on pens, paper, highlighters, and staples is exorbitant.
- Time management: Do your suppliers, landlords, etc. give discounts for paying early? If not, pay your bills as late as possible. You want your money in your control earning you interest for as long as possible.
- Value yourself: While Econ 101 tells us that all competitors must price the same, life is not so simple. When pricing, make sure your products or services are not priced too low. People may mistake your competitive pricing for lack of experience or quality. Your prices should reflect your value.10. Go digital: Lease the office space that you need, rather than over purchasing. Technology allows much work to be done at home, which can save utility and leasing costs for the burgeoning business.
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