Published on March 29th, 2012 | by Savannah Stewart1
Cut the Fat! 8 Ways to Eliminate Unnecessary Overhead for Your Business
For any small business it’s important to spend money where it counts and eliminate unnecessary expenses. Besides looking at what cost drivers you can keep down, it’s also important to remember the age-old saying, time is money. Often, finding ways to save time in your day to day operations is the quickest way to eliminating overhead. Looking at both unnecessary expenses and time-wasting endeavors, we’ve compiled a list of eight ways to save money and focus on growing your business.
1. Communicate Efficiently – We often waste time throughout the day on unnecessary meetings, long email chains or instant messenger conversations. 55% of communication is visual so determine the best mode of communication for a particular scenario in order to save time. Sometimes it’s more appropriate to call or have a face-to-face conversation. Instant messaging is perfect for sharing links and asking quick questions, but when it comes to in-depth discussions or complicated explanations, sometimes it’s best to pick up the phone or just walk over.
2. Meet When Necessary – Meetings are another mode of communication that tends to take more time/resources than necessary. Eliminate meetings that aren’t vital and only include individuals whose input is essential. If you’re finding yourself unable to get your work done throughout the day because of meetings consider instead a quick team huddle, an informational email with an attached report or a lunch or coffee walk (you gotta eat right?).
3. Go Green – Not only is it good for the environment but it can also save you supply and waste pick-up costs. Replace paper and plastic plates, cups and utensils with reusable ones. Save money on paper and printing by going paperless. Ditch the paper by sending email, signing contracts electronically, storing documents online, and taking notes on a white board or on your computer.
4. Reward Employees – Yes, we’re telling you to spend more money on your employees. Happy employees stick around and work harder. Companies that have high turnover spend more money searching for, hiring, and training replacements. Give incentives for sticking around. These can be financial, of course, but something as simple as providing Monday bagels, lunch once a week or stocking the fridge with juice and soda can also improve morale around the office and boost loyalty. Investing in professional development is another way to keep employees and grow them as an asset. Take a look at our post, 7 Tips for Recognizing Your Peeps, for more ideas.
5. Negotiate – Sometimes saving money for your business is as simple as asking for a discount or asking to negotiate your rates. Talk to vendors and suppliers to let them know you’re interested in being a long-term client. More often than not they’ll adjust in the interest of developing a lasting relationship.
6. Hire Smart – Hire employees with multiple skills and strengths. Sometimes one mind is greater than two (and it’ll cost your business less too). A few well-rounded employees can eliminate the need to hire many one-dimensional individuals who are only qualified to do specific tasks.
7. Look Around – Evaluate your needs. Do you need a larger or smaller office space? Do you need office space at all? Would it be more efficient to work from home? Evaluate your workspace and determine whether or not it fits your needs. Don’t pay for more or even less than you need. Depending on the size and type of business you run, finding the right space to get the job done can make a huge impact on productivity.
8. Don’t Do It Yourself – Did I mention time is money? You wouldn’t spend hours, days, or months trying to re-roof your house or remodel your bathroom if you didn’t have the skills to do so. It probably wouldn’t turn out well and you most likely wouldn’t see the results you imagined. The same concept applies to your business. Don’t spend hours trying to do your taxes or attempting to re-design your website. Sometimes it pays to hire an expert to do the job quicker and better than you can.
Every business has overhead they can’t do without. Hopefully these tips will help eliminate or decrease extra spending and leave you with higher profit margins so you can put more money towards revenue generating activities.
Want more tips? Ask around. Colleagues, employees and friends often have great ideas on ways to cut costs. And, let us know what you learn!
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