With about 30.2 million small businesses currently in the United States, any entrepreneur will tell you that running a small business is no small task. Not only do you lose most of whatever free time you had previously, but you spend so much more than time in the process — you also spend money.
Small business management is an expensive endeavor, despite whatever election, virus, or other world event is happening. If you’re noticing that your numbers are climbing, don’t despair. There are plenty of ways that you can save money even as a small business owner. Don’t believe us? Read on for the best ways to save money in your small business.
Ensure Your Appliances Are Energy-Efficient
How long have you had the appliances in your workspace and were they brand new when you got them? Appliances are made differently than they used to be, especially if they have the Energy Star label on them. Think about it: Items that use more energy than necessary are slowly draining your bank account.
Think about updating your appliances to more modern ones, made with more energy-efficient materials. If you’re in an office building, you’re probably wondering which appliances we mean. Look to the staffroom and restrooms:
- A well-built refrigerator can last for more than a decade, but look at the condition that yours is in. Is it well-insulated, with stripping along the doors in good condition, or when you walk by it, do you feel a draft? How cold is it keeping your food? If it’s constantly running hard but not keeping things fresh, it could be time to replace your staffroom fridge.
- Although it’s costly, water heater replacement can save you buckets of money. If your water takes forever to heat, stays at a constant lukewarm temp, or refuses to work from time to time, it is likely time to replace it. A good-quality water heater should last you for around ten years. Is yours older than that? Be honest. If so, start shopping for a new one.
- Weird question, but what kind of hand drying techniques do you have in the bathrooms? Paper towels are costly and not at all Earth-friendly, so we recommend installing automatic hand dryers in the bathroom. We all know the terrible ones at the old gas stations and movie theatres that keep your hands damp, which is why we recommend super high-powered brands like XLERATOR XL and Dyson Air Blade. These are extremely effective in drying your hands, they don’t make a mess, and they are much cheaper and more energy-efficient than paper towels or cheaper off-brands.
Of course, those are only a few options. Look around your office space and make a checklist of what appliances you have. We’re not saying make an Amazon blowout purchase all at once, but consider replacing items as you need to. It’s money spent, but in the long run, it’s also money saved.
Consider Your Sanitation Services
Let’s talk trash. No, not what’s happening in the Kardashian family or the latest in politics, but actual trash. Regardless of the size or nature of your business, humans produce garbage. It happens! But how much are you actually spending monthly on waste management services?
If your business is large enough to require a weekly dump run, then it makes more financial sense to look into dumpster rentals. You can choose from a few different-sized dumpsters, picking whichever size fits your needs, and best of all you don’t have to make a costly trip to the waste exchange all the time. Create a schedule with your waste management company to have it emptied on your time, and if it fills up earlier or later than you originally thought, you can reschedule.
Yes, we are talking about ways to save money, but don’t disregard how important recycling services are. It’s a small added expense, but again, look at the long-term effects. Recycling is good for the planet. If everybody does even their small part, then landfills and garbage dumps can become less full with every passing year.
Replace Equipment Parts Rather Than Entire Machines
Electronics age so stupidly fast that it’s impossible to keep your PC, laptop, etc. modern for any amount of time. When you notice things running sluggishly, or your electronics are not working and they used to, you might be tempted to replace the whole machine. Instead of doing that, consider replacing parts instead of the entire thing. It doesn’t cost as much to upgrade parts as it does the entire device. Some common upgrades might include:
Printer parts. Everybody knows that printers are possibly the most contrary pieces of office equipment in existence. If yours is being a brat, look at how much inkjet printer parts replacement costs. These might include roller cleaning, servicing the inside mechanisms, and clearing out any paper residue and dust. (Inkjets are slowly going the way of the dodo, though, so bear in mind that it might be a smarter idea to replace your printer with a laser printer before too long.)
Computer and PC parts. A laggy computer is one of the most irritating things in the world. If virus scans, cleanups, and various other tricks aren’t working, look at upgrades like random access memory (RAM) and an additional or larger hard drive. A terabyte of data is the new normal for computers. If your hard drive is filling up too fast, think about swapping the hard drive for a larger one.
Mice and keyboards. Remember those terrible computer mice from the 90s, with the little plastic ball that rolled around on the inside? If you’re still seeing any of those around the office, please get rid of them. The same goes for keyboards that still have the Compaq logo in the corner. Look, we get it: They still work okay, so why replace them, right? The reason we make this point is because old-fashioned technology is cumbersome and outdated; wireless mice and keyboards require only one USB slot for both, have a travel distance, and can be easily moved around the desktop as needed. Not only that, but you will find yourself happier because the equipment just works better.
Update Your Phone System
Receptionists still exist in the modern world, and their jobs are every bit as important as they have always been. People need to have the assurance that there is a real live human on the other end of the line to assist them when things go wrong. However, technology has given the world another option in terms of answering calls: a voice server.
What is a voice server? Simply put, a voice server is an automated phone answering system, usually consisting of dial-in options or voice-activated options. Have you ever heard of auto-attendant services? That’s another term for voice servers. We’ve all dealt with auto-attendant services at one time or another in our lives; they’re the menu options like “For the pharmacy, press one. For the floral department, press two” and so on. Voice-activated services mean that you speak what you want, for example: “Speak to a representative” or “pay my remaining balance.”
While voice servers don’t necessarily replace live receptionists, they do streamline the process. For example, if a client needs to pay their bill and has no reason to speak to a representative, a phone server could use automated options to walk them through it without needing to hassle a live receptionist. Other examples could be confirming an appointment, personal details, etc.
Divvy Out Responsibilities
Unless you run a cleaning service, your employees were likely not hired for their cleaning capabilities. However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot include small tasks within job descriptions to have your staff do their part to keep the building clean. We’re not saying that you should force your employees to stay all night vacuuming and sanitizing, but sharing small responsibilities in the workplace is not too much to ask. Some small duties might include:
- Asking staff to empty their desk wastebaskets into the dumpster every day before leaving the workplace.
- Taking turns cleaning the staffroom, including emptying/cleaning out the fridge and microwave as well as wiping down counters and sweeping the floor. This one is pretty common in any workplace, so staff should be fine with it. Create a rotating schedule for each staffer, including a checklist of all expected duties and responsibilities.
- Ensuring that desk and workspaces are tidy and free of dust and clutter every evening. Sure, not everybody keeps an organized workspace, but if you make a rule that the desk and work area must be tidy before staff leave, it is more likely to stay looking nicer for longer.
Remember that the laws regarding expected job tasks can be sticky, which is why it is so important to include extra duties and tasks as needed in the job description. Nobody expects you to treat your staff like slaves, or to do more than the job description requires, but if you have the line written into your job postings, then staff are less likely to grumble about it. You might be paying them to do their specified job, but you can also pay them to do their part to keep the office from looking unkempt.
Prep Your Building for Every Season
With the craziness that has been the last 12 months, the world can agree on one thing: Expect the unexpected. Being prepared for anything and everything is more than just a good idea; it can literally save your life during an emergency. With that sentiment in mind, start preparing your office building for all the seasons of the year.
Insulation might make you instantly think of winter weather, and for good reason. A well-insulated building helps to keep your facility nice and warm during the winter, cutting costs of heating services. On the flip side, insulation is also a great remedy for the summer heat; it absorbs the hot air and leaves you with cooler, more refreshing temperatures inside the building.
Another great preparation technique is caulking. It is so simple and cheap, and it serves a similar purpose as insulation. Look at your windows, doors, and even foundation to check for cracks or holes. Patching them with a caulking gun and all-weather caulk seals any air leaking through, keeping the area warm in the winter and cool during the summer.
Your building’s roof is also one of the most important weatherproofing systems. A roof riddled with rot and cracks only has a matter of time before it needs a full replacement. Check out commercial roofing in your area to make sure that yours is in the best condition. Roofers do more than roof repair and patch jobs; roof cleaning services are also available if you want to get the moss and debris blasted off of yours.
Finding a contractor doesn’t have to be hard. Use reliable sites like Angie’s List and Google Reviews to find the right one for you. One tip is to read the three-star reviews; you will read the good and bad about the service provided. Since people love to complain online about their “terrible” experiences, take one-star reviews with a grain of salt.
Small business owners are living proof that dreams can turn into reality. Your business didn’t become a success overnight, and you spent a lot of time, energy, and of course money to transform it into what you always wanted. However, even though your company brings in revenue, you need to also spend money to make it. Take an impartial look at your facility and try to think of creative ways to do so. Whether that’s updating old machinery, replacing parts as needed, or making sure that your building can bear all seasons, cutting costs is not as difficult as you might think. Make the changes and look at your monthly costs — you will definitely start seeing a vast difference in the numbers.