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Penny-Pinching Pays

Category MoneySaver

Playing Scrooge is not just for Christmas any more. 

Even though penny-pinching is harder to do today without any pennies, the concept remains valid and
is especially applicable to the expenses incurred by small businesses. Here are a few ideas to improve the
bottom line.

Employees require salaries and benefits as well as insurance, office space and equipment. Contracting out office tasks transfers these costs to a highly competitive third party and frees up your own premises for revenue-producing uses.

Negotiate with Suppliers
Contact your suppliers and see whether you can get a better deal. Far too often suppliers mechanically
increase prices without recognizing the value of a long-term, reliable client. Why should rewards and discounts go to new clients while long-standing customers like yourself see costs go up? Call and make your pitch.

Use the Cloud
Using the Internet to send invoices and make and receive payments saves the cost of cheques, envelopes,
letterhead and postage as well as the related labour. Further, cloud-based solutions for almost every manufacturing or accounting need are available for a reasonable “lease” rate. Such an approach reduces the cost of buying and installing software and assures you your cloud services will always have the latest updates.

Consider In-House Printers
Many businesses still need to print data to hard copy. Consider purchasing a laser or inkjet colour printer. Once templates for invoices, letterhead, or business cards have been installed, they can be printed as needed, thus eliminating large inventories of preprinted forms. The templates can be adjusted for format changes or for staff and address changes.

Meet with Telecommuting
For most business communication, a face-to-face meeting is not necessary. Virtual meetings will work
if the number of participants is small, the meeting is kept short, and the agenda well planned. Establishing timelines, requesting daily updates and having access to work-in-process by the use of shared cloud facilities will ensure projects stay on time and on budget.

How often are the premises cleaned? Perhaps reducing the frequency of cleaning or having staff empty their own waste baskets at the end of the day are options that will reduce costs without impacting the tidiness of the office.

Go Paperless
Going paperless can be difficult for older employees used to paper trails. Paperless offices must establish
a filing system suitable to everyone; this includes scanning every piece of paper that comes into the
system and allocating it to the appropriate folder. Going paperless also means reviewing existing client
files and purging data no longer required for taxation, legal or business purposes. This is the time to adopt standard records management practices for preserving, storing (onsite and offsite) and destroying documents. Scanning documents saves the cost of renting physical storage space, using employee time to file paper, and ultimately shredding and disposing of that paper.

Review the Cost of Your Premises
Signing a long-term lease may lock your business into a lease cost that will not be acceptable in the future. Look ahead and determine how your business will evolve over the next five years. If your strategic plan includes increasing or decreasing your space, consider signing shorter-term leases that allow an exit with, for example, three months’ notice. If you own your building but no longer need all the space, consider subletting. You might also think of selling or leasing the entire property and moving to
a smaller space. Such a move would provide proceeds from the sale of the building or lease income while
reducing your own rental costs.

Think about Your Future
Taking an hour or so with your CPA to look at your current business model and associated costs will help
you think about changes that will positively impact the bottom line and ensure that your business keeps
on going.

From: Business Matters, December 2016 || Volume 30, Issue 6