Money can run tight when you’re still getting your business off the ground and growing your customer base. Prior to my career at Cox Communications, I ran a family business and learned a lot about finances and how to make the most of funds. Additionally, our Cox Business teams work directly with small businesses to provide communications solutions and customized services at lower prices. Follow these tips to save money in a variety of ways as a business owner.
1. Get organized. Closely monitor your company’s expenditures each quarter and look for ways to cut back when possible. Things like limiting business travel when it’s not necessary and cutting back on lunch meetings are a great start.
2. Leverage customers. Instead of dumping money into advertising, utilize happy customers who can attract referrals to your company. Consider offering a small incentive to the customer for each referral they generate, such as a free item or discount.
3. Hire contract workers. For smaller projects that do not need a full time employee to complete, hire freelance or temporary contract workers for assistance.
4. Buy in bulk. Save money on office equipment by buying in bulk quantities or opting for second-hand items. Not everything has to be new and shiny when you are starting out! Look for auctions or utilize social apps like OfferUp to score some quality, gently used finds.
5. Research local and state incentives. The city of Tucson’s Small Business Enterprise Program provides preference to Tucson businesses that submit bids for construction, goods, services and materials.
6. Make in-kind exchanges. Sometimes you can offer to trade your products or services with other companies instead of cash payment. Be sure to keep track of all in-kind exchanges to report to the IRS if you go this route.
7. Deduct mileage. If you travel or drive to meetings frequently, be sure to track your mileage and take a deduction during tax season. It’s easy to forget, but if you use your car for business purposes often, you may be missing out on some money back in your pocket.
8. Provide internships. Many college students are looking for ways to grow their skill sets and get real-world experience to apply in the classroom. Offer an internship for a student to learn about your business and help with projects in exchange for school credit.
9. Sublet unused space. If you have open offices in your building, you may consider subletting to entrepreneurs or freelance workers who would like to rent space.
10. Save energy. Utilities can be a major expense if you don’t take steps to be energy conscious. Some things you can do to save on utility costs are: invest in a programmable or smart thermostat, put up light blocking blinds and use power strips that make it easier to power down devices at the end of the day.
Lisa Lovallo is the Southern Arizona market vice president for Cox Communications. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.