Time is money, and new business owners don’t have much time or money. Even extremely lucrative businesses don’t want to waste cash that could get spent elsewhere. Every dollar you spend as a business owner should serve a purpose, so it makes sense to save where you can and spend where you need.
Of course, you need to spend money to make money, but you only make money if you’re spending in the right places. And figuring out some good savings tips will help you stock up on the cash you need to expand while lining your emergency fund.
Here are 4 ways you can save your business time and money so you can spend it where it counts.
1. Audit Yourself
Depending on how small your business is, you may not have a bookkeeper or financial department hired. Lots of small business owners run their own accounting. While that may seem overwhelming, it actually gives you a chance to really dive deep into your company’s finances.
Here’s a metaphor to help you see how a successful audit works. Say you’re trying to live more sustainably and reduce the amount of trash your household creates. What’s the best way to reduce your trash? Go through the wastebasket and see what takes up the most space in your garbage can.
Are you seeing a lot of string cheese wrappers? Buy cheese in bulk and separate it into Tupperware containers for work. Seeing a lot of food scraps? Start a compost bin so they aren’t going to waste.
See what we’re getting at?
When you take a look at your expenses, you’re seeing what you can eliminate altogether and what you can do to make your dollar go further on what you do spend.
Are you spending money on software that you could get for free elsewhere? Stop the subscription and move your data over.
Is your cell phone bill really starting to add up? See if you can find a new deal at a new carrier or join someone else’s plan as an additional line.
Do you spend a lot on Adobe products but really only use a few programs? See what else your company could do with the other unused apps.
Sometimes it’s about eliminating expenses, and sometimes it’s about making the money you do spend work for you.
Once you make those changes, see how much you saved each month and repeat the cycle. Even though the thought might make you cringe, if you spend time diving deep into your finances, you’ll find ways to reach your savings goal and optimize spending.
2. Use a Business Credit Card That Works for You
As we’ve said, you need to spend money to make money. There’s no way to completely eliminate all expenses. So why don’t you make your payment methods do some extra legwork?
Look into different credit card options to see where you can get rewards that work for you.
Do you have to go on a lot of business trips? Get a travel card that rewards you with points you can redeem for miles.
Do you spend a lot on inventory? Make sure you have a credit card that gives you as much cash back as possible.
Do you have student loans to pay? Put them on the credit card (but pay off that credit card immediately! Don’t just move around your debt). This way you get those reward points on your card. You have to pay the loans, you might as well get a little cash back for it.
When you use a credit card responsibly, you get to increase your credit score in the long term. As you build your credit, you’ll give your business a better chance at securing loans if you need them to expand your business in the future.
And while we’re talking about how to make your money work for you, do you research on finding a savings account that works for your needs as well. Online banking, for both savings and checking accounts, gives you more options than simply looking at what’s local.
3. Make Your Place of Work-Energy Efficient
Whether you have a designated office space in your house or a fully staffed warehouse, making energy-efficient choices can help you start saving in the short and long term. Here are some energy-efficient solutions, from easy to more complicated.
Change your/your employees’ actions. Say you don’t have any room in the budget for improvements. You can already become more energy efficient by simply changing the way you use what you have. Simple actions like having people turn off lights when they leave the room or entering a cold storage less frequently will lower your electricity bill.
You can also make adjustments to the layout. If you have a bunch of servers, put them in one designated area that’s closed off. That way you aren’t spending a bunch on AC for the whole floor but cooling one small area.
Change light bulbs to LED. It’s easy to reduce your energy bill by installing energy-efficient light bulbs. You save money because you use less energy and have to replace them less often as they last longer.
Change the way you heat and cool the place. Once again, you can change the way you currently use your equipment or upgrade what you have. Use fans or open a window before you turn on AC. If you have to turn on AC, put it on a lower setting and use fans to circulate that cold air.
When shopping for a new system, check out heat pump options instead of using propane. A new AC should have a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating and a heat pump should have a good Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. Oftentimes, it doesn’t cost more to get a heat pump than it does to get an AC system, and a heat pump both cools and heats.
Change the way you upgrade. No matter what you’re upgrading, you can make upgrades at any scale. Only have a home office? Next time you upgrade your computer, get one with an 80-plus gold power supply or a lower power consumption processor. If you have cold storage in a warehouse, improve the insulation.
4. Save Time and Money By Hiring the Help You Need
No amount of money can buy you more time. But you can save time and put more hours back into your day by outsourcing tasks to others.
What more could you do if you got some of those tasks off your plate? If you run a design agency, could you get more creative work done? Removing tasks like bookkeeping and social media management could give you more time to do the heavy lifting on your clients’ design work.
Freeing up more hours to work on deliverables and the creative work in your agency could help you take on more clients and increase your income. Even though it costs more to hire, you’re saving time in the short term and increasing your money in the long term.
While it might feel tempting to try saving money by paying low wages, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Your employee or freelancer’s wage rate is one of those places where you shouldn’t act cheaply.
If you treat your workers well and give them a comfortable wage, they’re going to give you work that merits that pay. And if they don’t, you’ll have plenty of other applicants wanting to work for someone that pays well. There’s no better way to improve your business and decrease turnover than paying people fairly. That saves time and money in the long term and is just good business.
Author, Artist, Photographer.
Sarah Margaret is an artist who expresses her love for feminism, equality, and justice through a variety of mediums: photography, filmmaking, poetry, illustration, song, acting, and of course, writing.
She owns Still Poetry Photography, a company that showcases her passion for capturing poetic moments in time. Instead of poetry in motion, she captures visual poetry in fractions of a second, making cherished keepsakes of unforgettable moments.
She is the artist behind the Still Poetry Etsy shop, which houses her illustrations and bespoke, handmade items. She is the author of intricacies are just cracks in the wall, a narrative poetry anthology that follows a young woman discovering herself as she emerges from an abusive relationship.