You may think your business is already streamlined and lean and mean, but I’m willing to bet there are a few places you can trim some fat or put some cash back in your bottom line. Here are five suggestions to jump-start your cost-cutting:

1. Hire Your Kids. If you own your own business, you can hire your family members – including young children – at a “normal” wage. And not only is their pay tax-deductible for you, you can also count their wages against many costs associated with their care and upbringing. Sound too good to be true? Make sure to check it out first – tax laws change frequently, but it’s worth looking into.

2. Get Your Full Tax Write-Offs. Speaking of taxes, are you writing off everything that’s associated with your home-based business? Are you remembering to include office space, cleaning, utilities, phone lines, computers, office supplies, training, and education, just to name a few? Depending on your industry, your write-offs can even include things like your car, dining out, travel, books, and more. Check with your accountant or tax preparer for more information.

3. Be Conservative on Technology Investments. With new techno-gadgets coming out daily, we can feel like we need the latest iPhone, iPad, computer, laptop, speakers, microphone, and carrying bag to drag all of it around in. But do you really? In most cases,we give up on our technology before IT gives up on us. Before investing in the latest whizbang computer or gizmo, take a look at your current set-up. Do you need a cell phone that records HD video? I didn’t think so. Sure, it’s tax-deductible, but not at 100 percent; there’s still an out-of-pocket investment, and that’s what we want to limit.

Before going shopping for a new piece of technical equipment, make a list of what you MUST have. Then find the price point where you can get what you need but not overbuy.

Lastly, while an extended warranty on your gadgets may sound like a good idea, remember; they wouldn’t be pushing it so hard if it weren’t making them money. And how does it make them money? Because no one ever collects. The truth is, if a manufacturer doesn’t stand behind their product, believe in their product, without charging you for a warranty, you may want to look into buying a different product. Plus, don’t underestimate your abilities. If something goes wrong, do the research and you’ll be amazed what you can fix yourself.

4. Go for Non-Print Advertising. When was the last time you picked up the phone book and let your fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages to look for a business or phone number? Wait, do you even have a phone book right now? It’s much more likely that you turn to your computer for information

For most businesses, print advertising is a thing of the past. The hundreds you spend on Yellow Pages and print ads in the newspaper can be pocketed instead of thrown away. Instead, turn your dollars – and your efforts – towards online and offline networking. For the price of one print ad, you can sponsor a local Little League team, host a Chamber of Commerce mixer, or give away some awesome prizes to an online contest in your niche. Now THAT’S advertising!

5. Barter for Business. Swapping isn’t just for flea markets! Trade your internet marketing know-how for your CPA’s tax-prep services, or offer your top-notch editing services in exchange for printing at the local copy shop.

Trimming cash purchases is the reason so many business people are swapping their services. Also, swapping products and services is a great way to network, create business relationships, and save money, too. Many local business organizations and Chambers of Commerce have directories of members open to swapping. Check your own community’s business organizations and I bet you will find a swapping network to join.

The great thing about saving money for your business is that it all goes right to your bottom line – and that means higher profits for your company, and hopefully more money back to you.


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