A new year has begun, and with it are the hopes of perfecting your website, increasing your Google page rank, and taking up new hobbies. Maybe that's just us, but this year why not set an attainable goal that makes your company just a little better, a little at a time. Start from the ground up and get everything ready by tossing out the waste, so to speak. If you own your own business, large or small, there are numerous ways you can cut back on expense. We live in the 21st century, so why not take advantage of it and try out some cost saving tips?
The first thing to do is cut memberships that aren't doing your company any good. Memberships that promise to promote your business and help you gain new clientele for only a few hundred dollars a year. These memberships can work for specific business ventures but they are not geared, nor can they be, toward every business type. If you're getting positive results from these organizations stick with it, but if not then why not try spending that money on a service like MailChimp to promote your company or even better try picking up on direct mail again, it's on a decline, making those waters blue again. Don't worry if you're not coding savvy, companies like MailChimp provide pre-made templates and help you put together your own newsletters through a handy user interface all allowing you to plug in your artwork and copy. This will run you the same amount as those yearly memberships and may provide better results.
Gym memberships, while providing an image of health are often only used on a very limited basis. I'm embarrassed to say how much money my company has spent on gym memberships the last few years compared to how many times we have actually shown our faces at the gym. To top it off, we have fancy executive locker rooms, so when we show up we can take a shower sitting down while watching Netflix at the same time. I can tell you that if you don't have time to go to the gym, you don't have time to take a shower sitting down. I'm sure my face turned a little green when our company accountant told us we couldn't write off any of our gym memberships. To top it off we're locked into the contract for another year. In the future, when we need exercise we will be taking a hike or a bike ride, free of charge. If you live near NWA, then you know the bike routes are great and the hiking trails are even better.
I'm sure many of you have already eliminated the office, or are working on it at this point, but if you haven't it's time to do so. Large companies like Hewlett-Packard have paved the way, even before the pandemic, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars by shutting down many of their offices and having employees work from home. For meetings with clients, simply suggest meeting at the main office or set up a Zoom meeting. Any communication that needs to take place between work associates can be resolved with a telephone call or a Zoom conference. Technology makes it easy to stay in touch without sitting in side-by-side cubicles.
One of the downsides to a home office is separating your work life from home life. Instead of waking up and showering, you will roll out of bed and hop on the computer to check emails. Before you know it, it's 5:00 and you still have morning breath, uncombed hair and are wearing P J's that haven't been washed for 3 days, but it's almost time to put them on again, so you decide to go ahead keep them on for the remainder of the day. As much as you try and avoid it, it will inevitably happen at some point. That being said, there are also some major advantages to having a home office. For starters, you get the tax write off instead of the company. You can also catch a little extra shut-eye in the morning because you're not commuting to work in 8:00 a.m. traffic but be sure to clock in on time. Perhaps the biggest advantage is losing the high cost of an office space and utilities. Without having this cost to pass on to your clients, their bills will shrink and you will become their number one fan.
The biggest benefits of living in the 21st century is being a part of the digital age, where we no longer need to pay for marketing. With resources like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube, those expensive magazine ads, yellow page ads and commercials are no longer 100% necessary. If you aren't convinced, then simply look at recent presidential campaigns. With followers numbering the hundreds of thousands on Twitter and Facebook candidates often have an opportunity to speak directly to the people. It's time to wake up and smell the free marketing. Let's face it, you probably won't get 45 million views for a commercial with your iPhone in your backyard, however, even two hundred views is likely more exposure then you will get out of most local magazine ads. I'm not against supporting local community magazines, and if your company has a 200,000 dollars a year in marketing, you should be designing billboards and placing full page ads, but in the interest of saving money, take advantage of free marketing while it's still free.
There are plenty of ways to cut back on business expense in and out of the office from changing to energy efficient bulbs to getting a smart thermostat and it's great to live in a century where you can work from home and market your business without breaking the bank. Even if your company is wildly successful and you can afford to sit down in a shower and watch Netflix, it's better to cut back where you can.