Profits don’t come just from direct sales. There are all kinds of smart ways that business owners can capitalise on what they already have to make savings that will improve the bottom line. If you’re not engaged in at least one of these activities, you’re likely not saving as much money as you could be.
Advertising in the Real World
Rethinking the ways in which you reach potential customers can save you a packet, especially if you’re used to more traditional means of advertising. Here are a few ways you can save and still get the word out:
- Form the habit of including promotional materials alongside every invoice you send out. Even electronically sent bills can include footers or short advertising messages.
- Retailers, harness the power of your POS. Tuck flyers into bags alongside purchases, include small impulse buys next to the till, train staff to offer related purchases such as stamps or special offers.
- Contact your local radio station and ask if they’d like to interview you as a local entrepreneur. Have your spiel ready about how your business helps other businesses through your offerings, and include a discount to listeners as incentive.
Clever advertising can save money by maximizing what you already have: your stock and your specialised knowledge. Explore those possibilities before spending new money on other advertising methods.
Networking in the Cyber World
Here’s the golden rule: networking isn’t about selling. It’s the classic mistake businesses make with social media: forgetting the ‘social’ part in the effort to make a sale. Join newsgroups or user groups that attract your target market then join in the conversation. Don’t sell. Demonstrate your expertise by answering questions and offering useful information. Your sales come from the link back to your website that’s in your signature, and when you offer sound advice readers will click through to find out more.
Money Saving Tip: Frequenting forums and social media platforms where your target customers discuss their experiences can save you thousands in market research
Business premises can suck the profits from your business if you’re not careful. Here are some tips to make your money go further:
- Consider sharing an office. Do you really need to work in isolation? An alternative for home based businesses who want a more professional ‘front’ is to hire the services of an executive suite, making the most of their address and reception services
- Buy used office equipment and furniture. Scour the internet and local classifieds, second hand office suppliers and even charity shops for what you need. Refurbished electronics such as printers and copiers can be like new and a fraction of the cost.
- If you do lots of printing, buy recycled ink cartridges.
- Experiment with free software to replace expensive branded products
- A great way to save money when designing your home office is to buy furniture that looks expensive but actually isn’t. Mirrored furniture looks great but it is also a fraction of the price compared to proper wooden furniture.
‘Shiny new thing’ syndrome gets expensive, and is often unnecessary. Big savings can be made by buying what you need, rather than the latest gismo that you’d like.
Outsourcing is the buzz word of the moment, with lots of companies realising the advantages of bringing in virtual staff to help with both mundane and specialised business tasks. If you have an internet connection, you really do have all the world from which to hire the help you need, whether it’s for simple data entry or someone to design and write your website. The way to greater profits is to work more on growing the business rather than on maintaining and servicing it.
Money Saving Tip: Look at job bid sites such as Elance and People Per Hour to find freelance workers. Many freelancers keep costs down through having lower office overheads.
Recycling Your Scrap
Many businesses don’t realise the money they’re wasting by not doing more recycling. Plastics and packaging are a particularly lucrative sector of the recycling industry that all kinds of businesses can take advantage of, from those in the cosmetics industry right through to food and drink. In this area the mistake business owners make is in paying to have their recyclable materials collected when there are specialist companies who will pay to take it away. If you dispose of more than 5 tonnes of plastics or other waste each year, you’re likely leaving money on the table by not selling it to a professional recycler.
Nothing happens if you don’t take action. If you’ve identified an area that you could streamline or change for the better, pencil it in on your schedule today and take the first step towards saving and making more money.
Drew writes for Associated Plastic Recyclers. Go to their website to find out more about the types of waste plastics your business can recycle.