Many customers turn to small businesses to get the same or greater value than what larger competitors offer, but at a lower price. There’s no reason why you as a small business owner shouldn’t take the same approach with your routine purchases.
Paying a little more out of habit or because you’ve always bought that particular product may make life more convenient, but those added expenses can quickly accumulate and erode your profit margin. You owe it to your customers and yourself to continually look for ways to cut costs without compromising quality. You can be certain that your competitors are doing it.
Some cost-saving steps are relatively easy to implement. Others may require a little ongoing research, but can easily become second-nature. Here are some suggestions to get started:
Capitalize on commodities. Most of the leading office supply chains offer a wide range of store brand products at reduced prices. That also applies to services. FedEx and Office Depot, for example, provide assistance with printing, shipping, design, and other support to its small business customers who, in turn, earn discounts and rewards points.
Pare down paper. Most routine documents can be saved electronically for transfer, emailing, or storage. Hardcopies are still necessary, of course, but examining your processes may reveal opportunities to eliminate the number of original printings and copies. And the single-sided documents you do generate can be repurposed for note-taking before going into recycling.
Speaking of recycling… Consider purchasing used furnishings and equipment rather than the latest and greatest products. An Internet search will likely reveal several companies that specialize in refurbished furniture and technology that will suit your long-term needs. Also look for companies that offer recycled printer cartridges, which perform just as well as those in mint condition.
Be a joiner. Many professional organizations partner with business service providers to give their members discounted prices on goods and services. This is a particularly helpful benefit for frequent travelers.
Be a smart shopper, even with regular suppliers. Don’t keep paying for things you no longer need. Annual reviews of your vendor and consultant relationships may reveal opportunities to lower costs and restructure purchasing arrangements.
For more money saving ideas for your small business, contact SCORE “Mentors to America’s Small Business.” SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 11,000 volunteers who provide free, confidential business mentoring and training workshops to small business owners. To find the SCORE chapter nearest you or to chat with a mentor online, visit www.score.org. Locally contact www.hutch.score.org.
Dave Inskeep is a retired bank commercial lender and can be reached at email@example.com. He also urges you to contact him or the Quest Center about the 3rd Annual SCORE Womens’ Leadership Conference to be held on April 18th at the Kansas Cosmosphere. It is filling up, so be sure to get signed up.