The cost of doing business is rising in many ways, especially for small business owners. Large corporations or franchises have the ability to spread out the cost to comply with regulations throughout many businesses across the country. If you are a small business those costs are all taken on by the business. Survival in the current small business climate depends immensely upon how well the leadership can lower the cost of doing business. Here are six ways many small businesses can use to lower what it costs them to operate their business.
Buy your electronics at a discount or refurbished
Electronics can amount to a large portion of your overhead as a small business. Depending upon the scope of your business you may need to purchase several PC’s, phones, laptops, printers, smartphones, or other electronic gadgets to make your business operate more efficiently. There are many sites today that offer refurbished computers at a large discount. NewEgg, Amazon and eBay are just a few that offer discounted new products and refurbished electronics. When using these sites, it is smart to check the reputations of the sellers before making any purchases. These three sites make it easy to determine if you are buying from a reputable seller fairly easy.
Hire inexperienced people who show promise
This can be a risk, but with adequate vetting you can find recent graduates or someone looking to switch industries who can turn out to be a very good hire. Hiring for talent instead of industry experience can be a way to get a candidate to start at a lower salary and if done correct can help you find people who are especially eager and motivated to shine within your business. A way many small businesses goes about finding these types of candidates is to put in the job posting a comment like, “Recent graduates welcome to apply.” You can also remove the years of experience requirement or mention all degrees welcome to apply. This can be a way for you to hire a recent graduate who may be able to help you relate to a younger demographic or update your business to the latest technological advances within your industry. It can also open up candidate’s mid-career who have developed transferrable skills.
Make sure your business is classified properly.
This aspect of your business is especially important for purposes of trying to reign in the cost of workers’ compensation. Many industries have several different work comp class codes because the industries have several different types of businesses. Each different type of business has a different levels of risk depending upon the daily operations. Landscaping is an example of an industry that includes several classification codes. A company that simply mows existing lawns are in a class code with a lower risk and as a result pay far less for coverage. Another landscaping business might climb into trees with chainsaws to cut limbs and branches out of trees. These two examples are at opposite ends of the risk spectrum and as a result the amount each pays in premium for workers’ compensation coverage is dramatically different. For this reason, it is extremely important for a business owner to spend additional time speaking with an independent insurance agent about everything you and your employees do on a daily basis.
In recent years, banks have been under tremendous pressure to find new streams of revenue. After the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 many pieces of legislation were passed that raised the costs for banks to follow regulations. This has caused banks to raise their fees and begin to charge fees for many things that in the past were free. One thing to remember as small business owner is that your bank is a business partner. They are a business too and they have to create a profit, but also they want your business just like you want the business of your customers. Switching financial institutions frequently is not always a great idea, but shopping around your business is never a bad idea. If you can cut significant costs by switching to another bank, then it may be just what you need to do to save your company money. Even knowing the costs of other banks in your market can help you negotiate better terms with your current bank.
Invest in a safety and return to work program.
Yes, it may seem odd to recommend an investment as a way to save money for your small business, but a safety program can save your business in many ways. Especially if the program is implemented in an effective way. The amount of time does not have to be large to have a large impact on the safety of your workforce. Regular, well-planned and document meetings can contribute to a more safe and healthy workforce without raising the cost to your operations. Just a small investment in a safety program can help prevent lost productivity, create a healthier and happier workforce and lower your businesses workers compensation insurance cost. A return-to-work program is essential to the effectiveness of your safety program. No matter how well you implement a safety program, injuries will inevitably happen. The quicker an injured employee can get back to work, the more likely they are to return to regular full-time employment.
Never forget about Customer Satisfaction
Most business owners like to focus on customer service, but many successful business owner focus more on customer satisfaction. There are many scenarios where you can provide excellent customer service and your customer is not satisfied. In some scenarios this might be a time when you need to determine if it is in your businesses best interest to keep this customer. In other scenarios, there might be situations where you are providing excellent customer service which a customer does not want. They simply want their problem solved fast so they can get back to their job. Helping your employees determine quickly and effectively what is important to each customer and serving that customer as efficiently as possible is what customer satisfaction is all about.
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