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15 Practical Ways To Reduce Business Costs

15 Practical Ways To Reduce Business Costs

As a business owner you can’t stop for searching new ways to reduce business costs and gain more profits. Otherwise, your business will never thrive. By implementing these 15 simple strategies within a year, you’d be able to save thousands of dollars in net profit!

1. Take advantage of the freelance workforce

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    A recent study predicts 40% of the U.S.’s workforce will go freelance by 2020. Why not start taking advantage of a temporary team from day one and avoid paying huge overheads and adding up costs like sick leaves, training, vacations, insurance, and so on? Having a flexible team working on a per-project/task basis will significantly reduce your business operating costs, improve overall key performance indicators, and will allow you to focus on more important tasks while minor things are getting solved by your dedicated virtual assistant. Nowadays, you can basically outsource anything, from handling emails and managing your FB business page to complete website design and full-cycle development projects. Besides, hiring a specialist abroad may cost you less than hiring someone with the same skill set back at home.

    Most popular freelance marketplaces:

    All types of projects

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    Micro jobs and small, simple tasks

    Design

    Coding and web development

    2. Start an internship program

    Sometimes, having a remote worker is not an option as you need help onsite—say, sorting out that huge pile of papers on your desk. Get in touch with a local college and offer to establish mutually beneficial relationships—you get a free workforce; they get a cool company to send students to. Win-win. Alternatively, you can post an advert online at sites like Urban Interns and check out all the rising stars eager to work with you for a shining resume credential and real hands-on experience. Moreover, there are high chances of discovering true talents to hire afterwards as part-time or full-time assistants who already know how to things get done at your company.

    3. Use energy-efficient appliances

    Utility bills eating up a huge chunk of your income? First of all, opt for compact fluorescent light bulbs. They cost more than the usual bulbs, however they function longer, thus saving you a pretty penny in the long run. Secondly, consider switching to energy-efficient appliances, particularly those with the Energy Star label. Again, they do cost more, but you can cut down the expenses with numerous government-sponsored rebates, along with making your biz eligible for green energy tax credits. If you need professional advice on making your company more energy efficient, just ring up your power company and request a free energy audit. An inspector should come to analyze your workplace and suggest further ways to reduce energy consumption.

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    4. Keep a virtual office

    If most of your team works remote and you don’t have an ongoing need to gather at one place, why should you bother to pay huge rent for the office space? Business meetings can be held at any venue, co-working space, or conference hall. However, you still like to keep things looking professional and earn your credits, right? And occasionally you do need to fax something or print a bunch of promotional materials. If that is it, most virtual offices provide you with temporary printing solutions at a flat rate; VoIP phones with a personal voice message box; corporate mailing address; a dedicated receptionist handling your calls and a bunch of other cool perks that tend to cost a tiny fortune when implemented at a regular office.

    5. Barter

    So you run a small writing business. Have you ever though of offering your professional editing services to have a marketing campaign developed for you in return? Bartering is no longer difficult with a number of B2B barter sites like U-Exchange and TradeBank gaining huge popularity among small and middle sized business owners. Set up an account and start exchanging services you need! Besides, it’s an excellent way to grow your business connections and score potential customers or partners.

    6. Go paperless

    Do you really think you need those copies printed for everyone? Now look at your monthly printing costs and think again. Still opting for paper bills and invoices? That’s stone age with so many online payment and invoices systems available at reduced costs. Retain your clients with email marketing and ditch mailing coupons and advertorials by snail mail to cut down the costs even more!

    7. Re-examine your phone plan and ditch your land line

    Are you sure you have the best cellphone plan currently available on the market? How long has it been since you last checked the prices? If you signed up for your plan more than two years ago, it’s definitely not the best option available on the market today. If you need to make international phone calls frequently, use Skype or Line, an app that has lower prices. Moreover, swapping your land line for VoIP or a virtual phone line will save you a big bucks at the end of the day.

    8. Don’t be shy to ask for a discount

    Take the nerve and ask the retailers directly whether they can give you a discount as a small business owner. Surprisingly, most will say yes if you are shopping for big ticket items. Alternatively, sneak around for coupons and special deals, sign up to retailers’ newsletters to be the first to know when certain items come on sale, plus get a few money-saving apps installed on your phone to receive instant alerts.

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    9. Invest in self-education

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      If you feel reluctant about paying yet another one-time consultants to solve the problem for you, spend less on self-education. Or pay nothing and gain lacking knowledge at one of these 25 killer educational websites. There’s no better investment than education and in the long-run, spending time and effort on learning something new will pay off later on!

      10. Buy used equipment and furniture

      Shopping in thrift shops and bargain sales is no longer shameful. It’s trendy. Loads of businesses prefer to equip their offices with shabby vintage stuff costing pennies instead of luxury designer goods (that often look pretty much the same). Businesses claim to save up to 60% costs merely buying used office equipment like computers, faxes and printers. Scroll through Craigslist, check out your local paper classified and online auctions like eBay to get everything you need at least two times cheaper.

      11. Cut back on paid software

      Nowadays there’s an open-source free alternative to nearly any product at the tech market. Unless a specific software is absolutely crucial for keeping your business running smooth, get rid of it! Microsoft Office can be replaced with Open Office or Google Drive; Basecamp has a free, similar-looking alternative Trello and you can create beautiful online and PDF designs with free photo-editing tools like Canva or Picmonkey instead of using Photoshop. Which leads as to the next point…

      12. Conduct timely technology and services audits

      How many paid apps and subscriptions do you currently have? And how many are you actually using? Bet these two numbers differ quite a bit. If you have not used a certain technology or service for the last 90 days, it’s time to cancel your subscription and stop paying for things you obviously do not need. Make it a rule to review all the paid products you have every two months. Moreover, before getting yet another piece of paid software, visit Download.com and try hundreds of software products for free through trial downloads, limited versions, and freeware to make sure that it’s indeed a product you need.

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      13. Eliminate finance charges

      A lot of businesses lose thousands dollars annually on ridiculous things like high membership fees on business credit cards, late loan payments and credit-card processing fees. By simply staying on top of bills and paying them exactly when they are due, you will save your business a great amount of money each year. Yes, keeping up with the bills can be complicated, so try to automate as many financial processes as possible by implementing online payment systems and setting up special alerts when bills are due. Also, pay a visit to your bank and ask what better credit card options they can offer you as a business owner.

      14. Opt for online advertising

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        Does your business have a Facebook page and Twitter and Pinterest accounts? Do you have a website properly optimized for mobile search? In 2015 if your business is not online, it practically does not exist! Compared to traditional marketing and advertising, promoting your biz online allows you to get faster results with less money spent. Start small by adding a blog to your website, offer expert advice, reach out to new media and bloggers with thrilling stories you can share, invest some time and money in social media marketing, and optimize your website properly to get a huge amount of targeted traffic and new customers.

        15. Use the power of co-opetition

        Team up with fellow business owners to collaborate and share expenses when buying new supplies in bulk. Moreover, you can group even further and jointly promote a sidewalk sale, share mailing lists and distribution channels with businesses offering complementary goods or services that may interest your customers. Also, you can exchange advertising spaces on your websites, share each other’s coupons and special deals (for a small fee or percentage from each sale made) and occasionally appear at each other’s business blogs to boost your rankings and attract a new audience to your websites.

        Featured photo credit: ShellyS via flickr.com

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        Published on November 8, 2018

        How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

        How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

        After a few months of hard work and dozens of phone calls later, you finally land a job opportunity.

        But then, you’re asked about your salary requirements and your mind goes blank. So, you offer a lower salary believing this will increase your odds at getting hired.

        Unfortunately, this is the wrong approach.

        Your salary requirements can make or break your odds at getting hired. But only if you’re not prepared.

        Ask for a salary too high with no room for negotiation and your potential employer will not be able to afford you. Aim too low and employers will perceive as you offering low value. The trick is to aim as high as possible while keeping both parties feel happy.

        Of course, you can’t command a high price without bringing value.

        The good news is that learning how to be a high-value employee is possible. You have to work on the right tasks to grow in the right areas. Here are a few tactics to negotiate your salary requirements with confidence.

        1. Hack time to accomplish more than most

        Do you want to get paid well for your hard work? Of course you do. I hate to break it to you, but so do most people.

        With so much competition, this won’t be an easy task to achieve. That’s why you need to become a pro at time management.

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        Do you know how much free time you have? Not the free time during your lunch break or after you’ve finished working at your day job. Rather, the free time when you’re looking at your phone or watching your favorite TV show.

        Data from 2017 shows that Americans spend roughly 3 hours watching TV. This is time poorly spent if you’re not happy with your current lifestyle. Instead, focus on working on your goals whenever you have free time.

        For example, if your commute to/from work is 1 hour, listen to an educational Podcast. If your lunch break is 30 minutes, read for 10 to 15 minutes. And if you have a busy life with only 30–60 minutes to spare after work, use this time to work on your personal goals.

        Create a morning routine that will set you up for success every day. Start waking up 1 to 2 hours earlier to have more time to work on your most important tasks. Use tools like ATracker to break down which activities you’re spending the most time in.

        It won’t be easy to analyze your entire day, so set boundaries. For example, if you have 4 hours of free time each day, spend at least 2 of these hours working on important tasks.

        2. Set your own boundaries

        Having a successful career isn’t always about the money. According to Gallup, about 70% of employees aren’t satisfied with their current jobs.[1]

        Earning more money isn’t a bad thing, but choosing a higher salary over the traits that are the most important to you is. For example, if you enjoy spending time with your family, reject job offers requiring a lot of travel.

        Here are some important traits to consider:

        • Work and life balance – The last thing you’d want is a job that forces you to work 60+ hours each week. Unless this is the type of environment you’d want. Understand how your potential employer emphasizes work/life balance.
        • Self-development opportunities – Having the option to grow within your company is important. Once you learn how to do your tasks well, you’ll start becoming less engaged. Choose a company that encourages employee growth.
        • Company culture – The stereotypical cubicle job where one feels miserable doesn’t have to be your fate. Not all companies are equal in culture. Take, for example, Google, who invests heavily in keeping their employees happy.[2]

        These are some of the most important traits to look for in a company, but there are others. Make it your mission to rank which traits are important to you. This way you’ll stop applying to the wrong companies and stay focused on what matters to you more.

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        3. Continuously invest in yourself

        Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. Cliche I know, but true nonetheless.

        You’ll grow as a person and gain confidence with the value you’ll be able to bring to others. Investing in yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, you can read books to expand your knowledge in different fields.

        Don’t get stuck into the habit of reading without a purpose. Instead, choose books that will help you expand in a field you’re looking to grow. At the same time, don’t limit yourself to reading books in one subject–create a healthy balance.

        Podcasts are also a great medium to learn new subjects from experts in different fields. The best part is they’re free and you can consume them on your commute to/from work.

        Paid education makes sense if you have little to no debt. If you decide to go back to school, be sure to apply for scholarships and grants to have the least amount of debt. Regardless of which route you take to make it a habit to grow every day.

        It won’t be easy, but this will work to your advantage. Most people won’t spend most of their free time investing in themselves. This will allow you to grow faster than most, and stand out from your competition.

        4. Document the value you bring

        Resumes are a common way companies filter employees through the hiring process. Here’s the big secret: It’s not the only way you can showcase your skills.

        To request for a higher salary than most, you have to do what most are unwilling to do. Since you’re already investing in yourself, make it a habit to showcase your skills online.

        A great way to do this is to create your own website. Pick your first and last name as your domain name. If this domain is already taken, get creative and choose one that makes sense.

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        Here are some ideas:

        • joesmith.com
        • joeasmith.com
        • joesmithprojects.com

        Nowadays, building a website is easy. Once you have your website setup, begin producing content. For example, if you a developer you can post the applications you’re building.

        During your interviews, you’ll have an online reference to showcase your accomplishments. You can use your accomplishments to justify your salary requirements. Since most people don’t do this, you’ll have a higher chance of employers accepting your offer

        5. Hide your salary requirements

        Avoid giving you salary requirements early in the interview process.

        But if you get asked early, deflect this question in a non-defensive manner. Explain to the employer that you’d like to understand your role better first. They’ll most likely agree with you; but if they don’t, give them a range.

        The truth is great employers are more concerned about your skills and the value you bring to the company. They understand that a great employee is an investment, able to earn them more than their salary.

        Remember that a job interview isn’t only for the employer, it’s also for you. If the employer is more interested in your salary requirements, this may not be a good sign. Use this question to gauge if the company you’re interviewing is worth working for.

        6. Do just enough research

        Research average salary compensation in your industry, then wing it.

        Use tools like Glassdoor to research the average salary compensation for your industry. Then leverage LinkedIn’s company data that’s provided with its Pro membership. You can view a company’s employee growth and the total number of job openings.

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        Use this information to make informed decisions when deciding on your salary requirements. But don’t limit yourself to the average salary range. Companies will usually pay you more for the value you have.

        Big companies will often pay more than smaller ones.[3] Whatever your desired salary amount is, always ask for a higher amount. Employers will often reject your initial offer. In fact, offer a salary range that’ll give you and your employer enough room to negotiate.

        7. Get compensated by your value

        Asking for the salary you deserve is an art. On one end, you have to constantly invest in yourself to offer massive value. But this isn’t enough. You also have to become a great negotiator.

        Imagine requesting a high salary and because you bring a lot of value, employers are willing to pay you this. Wouldn’t this be amazing?

        Most settle for average because they’re not confident with what they have to offer. Most don’t invest in themselves because they’re not dedicated enough. But not you.

        You know you deserve to get paid well, and you’re willing to put in the work. Yet, you won’t sacrifice your most important values over a higher salary.

        The bottom line

        You’ve got what it takes to succeed in your career. Invest in yourself, learn how to negotiate, and do research. The next time you’re asked about your salary requirements, you won’t fumble.

        You’ll showcase your skills with confidence and get the salary you deserve. What’s holding you back now?

        Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

        Reference

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