We say five ideas, but in this article, you’re about to get a lot more bang for your buck. Small business owners are treading water as soon as the financial economy takes a hit. The fast-paced nature of startup culture translates across the board. This means, in a plummeting economy, entrepreneurs and SMBs are hit hard and quicker than most.
If you’re looking for actionable ways to save money and have your business survive the storm, read on.
1. Only drive cost-effective marketing strategies
Marketing is often first on the chopping block when it comes to tough financial times. But, the truth is, marketing is going to be the very thing that helps you survive the storm, and thrive when the sun comes out again. Here’s what you can do.
Leverage social media platforms for organic reach
LinkedIn, TikTok, YouTube, social media still reigns supreme for reaching new audiences. In fact, social media usage is at an all-time high averaging 151 minutes per user per day. Double down on your social strategies, get serious with your posting and engagement campaigns, and start pushing for larger organic reach goals.
Collaborate with other businesses for co-marketing initiatives
You’re not going through this dry spell alone. Other businesses, with similar audiences to yours, are also suffering and looking to make some lemonade out of the mountain of lemons they’ve been dealt. Reach out to those businesses you want to align with and try to organize a co-marketing initiative between you both: this could be social media conversations, newsletter features, webinars, or even go as far as integrations or product partnerships.
Use content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) techniques
Tried, tested, and continues to ring true. Over half of all website traffic comes from organic search and 60% of marketers say SEO and blog content is their highest-quality lead source. Make the most of the free time and finally put into action that SEO strategy you’ve been sitting on. Better yet, give it a refresh and start creating content that converts.
Calculate ROI on big-ticket items
Figure out if your big-ticket marketing spends are actually driving the revenue you need for their cost and uplift. Perhaps, they’re not as rewarding as you initially thought? Work out the average customer lifetime value (CLV) for customers from that source, and align that alongside your customer acquisition cost (CAC). Maybe it’s time to restrategize?
Set aside a portion of your profits
Cost-cutting 101, but 101 for a reason. Set aside a small portion of every sale your business makes. This can be as small as 1%. You won’t notice “losing” such a small quantity, but this will soon add up for that rainy day that’s pending.
2. Implement energy-efficient practices
There’s a lot businesses can do to save on energy costs, and it goes far beyond swapping your offices for a co-working space.
Upgrade to energy-efficient equipment and appliances
Save on energy-orientated business expenses by investing in energy-efficient tech. A lot of technology these days comes with an energy usage grade, the higher the grade the more energy efficient that machine is—saving you money in the long run.
Implement a company-wide energy-saving policy
Energy savings need to go beyond your office manager flicking off light switches when everyone is at lunch. Take the time to put together energy-saving guides to distribute company-wide. Better yet, make a competition of it and challenge teams to see who can save the most.
Consider using renewable energy sources
Yes, this requires an investment upfront. However, renewable energy sources can save your business a lot in the long run. What’s more, there are many government subsidies available for businesses who are actively using renewable energy sources.
3. Streamline operations with technology
Next up, let’s take a look at your technology and assess where you can give that credit card a break.
Automate repetitive tasks using AI tools
We’re all well aware how far AI has come in 2023. For some, it’s a scary space, others are thriving; no matter your angle there’s a lot of time to be saved by using it. Find the right AI model for those cumbersome processes, train it up, and start benefiting from the bots.
Use project management tools to enhance productivity
Now, they say a good work person never blames their tools, but low productivity can often be a result of poor project management, and that doesn’t always mean it’s on the project manager’s head. Low productivity can be the result of a failing or non-existent tool. Take a look at some project management tools to enhance productivity. There are plenty of free-for-life plans that your team can make the most of.
Use tech to enhance your productivity
Lastly, the implementation of tools will help you drastically help you save on paper and print costs—which add up fast. In fact, an SMB (with 1-4 in-office employees) has an average office supply cost of $154 per employee, per month, which could tally up to $7,392 per year.
Software tools like TravelPerk for travel management, Airtable for project management, and Miro for product management can help you cut back on paper, office meeting room supplies, printing, and more of the little things that make a big difference.
4. Outsource non-core tasks
This is a fantastic way to keep your business ticking over, and even growing, without needing to invest the time or costs in sourcing and onboarding new in-house hires.
Utilize freelancers or outsourcing agencies for specialized work
We hate to break it to you but recruiting interns is not going to get you through a recession. If you’re serious about surviving, and even thriving, in a struggling economy then you’ll need to invest in talent to get you through. However, talent doesn’t need to be in-house with the growing gig economy. Consider independent contractors and agencies to keep things going.
Run an internal skills assessment
Internal skills assessments are something that many businesses fail to do. It’s easy to overlook the skill sets of long-serving employees. Perhaps they’ve got a side hustle in another niche, or sitting on another language, or studying something completely different to their profession?
Run a skills assessment to see what hidden talents you have under your roof, and determine if there’s room to expand on responsibilities, or move people around to areas with higher priorities.
5. Collaborate with local businesses
The COVID-19 pandemic brought a huge awareness around supporting local businesses. Now, take a look at how you can collaborate with them. Much like you’ll run an internal skills assessment, run a local business assessment and understand who your neighbors are.
Share resources, such as office space or equipment
Co-working, co-living, co-riding, the world of co is ever-expanding, and now’s the perfect time to capitalize on it. Understand what you can share with local businesses. Perhaps it’s an office space? Perhaps it’s costly video equipment or a projector?
Give your credit card a break and stop wasting time hunting for lower prices. Consider bartering with office supplies: exchanging desks you’re not using for a printer they’re not using, for example.
Exchange referrals and leads
There’s a huge opportunity in partnering with same-field, different service companies. For example, if you have a content writing agency, can you partner with a graphic design agency? If you have an inbound marketing tool, can you integrate with a CRM? Look for ways you can exchange referrals, leads, and partner further with these businesses to support each other.
Optimize your waste management
Lastly, proactive waste management is low-cost, low-effort, and can make a great impact on your bottom line, depending on where you are in the world. There are plenty of businesses out there that will pay for your waste: things like paper, card, plastic, and more. Plus, countries like Australia, Spain, Germany, Brazil, and more all have initiatives to pay you (in some way) for recycling correctly.
Lastly, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Before you throw out whatever you’re not using anymore, consider if you can exchange it or even sell it to another local business.
Closing out: remember to regularly review and track expenses
We’ll close out with a firm reminder that money-saving strategies are ongoing, and the biggest impact your business can have starts with your finance teams. Use financial management software to monitor cash flow, track your expenses, subscriptions, and ensure all invoicing is correct and paid.
It’s also a good idea to set and review budgets to identify areas for cost reduction. If you’ve been doing your bookkeeping well, this should be a low-lift task with high rewards.
A big thing to consider is moving your money. Has your finance team got complacent with paying high bank fees, and questionable rates on transfers? Maybe now’s the time to find a better bank?
Lastly, a potentially huge win is to amend your tax filings. The IRS allows businesses to review and amend the last three years’ worth of tax filings. There could be huge savings at hand from overpaying your taxes.
That’s everything on money-saving tips, hopefully you found this article helpful, and are ready to hit the ground running with some cost-saving strategies to keep your small business happy and healthy.