Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Recession Busting Ideas For Your Business

Many people are justifiably concerned about the state of the world's economies. I decided to post some ideas on how to save on necessary expenditures within your business (or personal lives) that I have utilized (and continue to do so).

I have always operated my small business with the mindset of "is this expenditure justified"?

I do not believe that "one size fits all" and that conducting your business or personal life in an exact manner as someone else does theirs will result in the same of similar conclusions. However, by trying to maintain a frugal approach to doing business, we have never gone into debt for the business and this has helped the business through various low periods, including the one we are currently experiencing.

Here is a short list of things I routinely do (or have done) in my business that have helped conserve revenue include:

1. Shopping for office supplies at dollar stores.

2. Reviewing the sales flyers from office supply stores for sales on items that may not be available at dollar stores - I found an incredible deal on an new laser printer last winter after Christmas that was less expensive than buying a new toner cartridge for the old printer.

3. Consolidating trips - try to schedule as many of your local trips to the bank, office supply store (dollar store) or other business related travels into one or two days a week.

4. Get rid of your dedicated fax line (if you can) - I saved about $4-500 a year by getting rid of the dedicated land line for receiving fax messages - I found a service that provides a "dedicated" 10-digit fax phone number for our business (without extensions) that costs only $34 the first year and $24 each "year" thereafter.

When someone sends a fax to our number, it is translated into a PDF document and emailed directly to our email inbox. I can then open it, read it and print it out (if necessary) - most of the time it does not require printing so it is simply stored on the PC hard drive.

This also has saved us on paper costs since we used to receive daily spam fax messages which were a total waste of paper (and time).

5. Using credit cards that provide a rebate on all purchases.

6. Taking advantage of online shopping for business services or products - I saved $70 this past Winter when shopping for tax prep software - I found an Amazon vendor who had it for half the price, then Amazon had a special deal on opening a credit card with them which gave us $30 against our first purchase and we ended up getting the $75 software for $5 and it included free shipping.

7. This one is something we actually did about 5 years ago - our business was based primarily on direct mail from 1988 through 1998 - we used to spend thousands of dollars a year on paper, printing, envelopes and postage. As our Internet marketing expanded we also saw a steady decrease in the ROI from direct mail.

Approximately 5 years ago, we ceased using any direct mail as email and our web site had tripled our revenue from what direct mail had ever achieved. Electronic marketing is saving a lot of trees. ** One suggestion I would have for a business that is still utilizing direct mail is if they do not mail enough to warrant a bulk mail permit, I would be buying the "forever" stamps to inventory for future mailings and especially prior to the next increase that is sure to come.

8. Diversification - we have always been flexible and constantly searching for products and services that complement what we already offer. Some services that once produced thousands in income a month now produce hundreds, some services that produced thousands are no longer offered, this is simply the ebb and flo of the marketplace. But because we have been constantly researched and discovered new service or product vendors, we have been able to maintain our level of sales and so far this year our revenue is slightly ahead of last.

Remember, Benjamin Franklin's saying, a Penny saved is a Penny earned and whether it is pennies or dollars, this proverb still holds true today in business or personal finance.

Hope this list of suggestions, based on my own experience, will help others weather the current economic storm.

Your comments and or ideas are welcomed.

Ron Coble


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