New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for weight loss and running marathons. As a small-business owner, you can use your willpower to make sure your company has a healthy bottom line in 2017. Here are nine New Year’s resolutions for your business that will help you cut costs all year.
1. Trade and Barter
Depending on the type of business you operate, you may be able to trade certain products or services for things you need. Instead of hiring an expensive accountant, offer to barter your services for theirs. Creatively consider how to swap products and services, and check out resources like the National Association of Trade Exchanges, which helps businesses that want to trade find one another.
2. Review Phone and Internet Services
Even if you’re happy with your current provider, you should compare packages and services at least once per year to ensure you have the best available option. Look for new customer coupons, loyalty deals, and discounts for bundling services. In addition to saving on costs, bundling also cuts down on paperwork and saves you from writing out a separate check each month.
3. Shop Around
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get through all of next year without buying something. So when it’s time to purchase new equipment or services, the least you can do is make sure you get the best deal by shopping around. Get three bids or more for every major purchase before making a decision. This ensures that you’re not settling for the first offer you get, and gives you the leverage to negotiate a better price and terms.
4. Move to the Cloud
Gone are the days of large rooms for servers and files. Your small business can save money and space by moving crucial services like invoicing and customer-relationship management to the Cloud. Small businesses that use the Cloud see 25% more growth, and, in some instances, have even doubled their profits. One of the best things about Cloud services is that you typically pay only for what you use, so it’s easy to expand or limit services based on your current needs.
5. Become an Expert
You don’t need to spend thousands to enhance your company’s profile. Get free publicity and build new relationships by sharing your expertise in a public forum. You can write an article for the local paper, set up your own blog, teach a community education course, or seek out guest appearances on local television shows. You’ll get your brand in front of new audiences and establish goodwill in the community—all without straining your budget.
6. Partner Up on Advertising
Advertising isn’t something you should cut out of your annual budget, but you can find ways to spend less on it. Sharing ad costs with other businesses is a great way to stretch your marketing budget. Join forces with neighboring companies to buy more print, online, or broadcast advertising than you could afford on your own. Splitting costs can help you afford more frequent advertising, and cross promotions can double the audience you reach.
7. Go Remote
Running a small business doesn’t mean you have to pay for an office space. If possible, allow employees to work remotely. Remote workers tend to have higher productivity, better creativity, and stronger job satisfaction. This will help you save on maintaining office equipment, leasing costs, and furnishing an office space. If you already have office space, consider remote-work arrangements for new employees. You can also consider transitioning existing employees to remote work and then subleasing office spaces you no longer need.
8. Offer an Internship
As your business grows over the next year, you’ll probably end up needing some extra help. Instead of hiring another full-time employee, contact local colleges or universities to see if you can set up an internship for students who need real-world experience. This gets you some discounted (or free) labor, builds your presence in the community, and can help you find the best prospective employees without going through the costly process of hiring and training someone who doesn’t work out.
9. Be Conscious of Credit
Most small businesses rely on business credit cards to help pay vendors, buy equipment, and stay ahead of problems with cash flow. If possible, try to pay off your balance every month, but if that’s not a possibility, make sure your card has the lowest interest rate and best terms. Shop around for cards with no annual fees, generous grace periods, and offers to transfer balances that can minimize or eliminate interest for a certain period of time.
Don’t let 2017 make its appearance without implementing at least one of the cost-saving ideas on this list. Which business New Year’s resolutions are you excited to put into action next year?