5 helpful ways to save money and grow your business

Couple buying items at store

Businesses of all types and sizes are always trying to cut costs, increase efficiency and grow revenue, but it’s become even more important now. As the coronavirus has ravaged the country, devastating the economy and upending Americans’ daily lives, companies have needed to find additional ways to save money. Amid the ensuing financial ruin and uncertainty, many of them are becoming more resourceful, streamlined and modernized.

Indeed, COVID-19 has accelerated, and in some cases exacerbated, existing business trends, while introducing new changes to traditional operations and expenses. Even when our lives return to a degree of normal, some of those changes will remain. More people are expected to avoid crowded public places and many employees will continue to work from home; customers will still use their smart devices to a greater extent, connecting with businesses and each other remotely and over the internet.

Stores need to take a more mobile-first, ecommerce-oriented and cost-effective approach, including businesses considered high-risk. Whether you’re making long-term plans or responding to immediate circumstances, here are five tips to improve your bottom line.

1. Telecommute

Working from home is no longer the sole domain of hip startups, but a professional reality for many businesses. Luckily, with ecommerce functionality and technology that enables mobile operations, online collaboration and video meetings, it’s now easier than ever to work remotely. While it may involve some implementation costs, a virtual move could mean significant savings in the long run.

For business owners, working remotely can have many benefits: less or no travel time, a smaller or non-existent physical workplace, access to a wider employee pool outside your actual location. This can result in increased efficiency, productivity and better worker fit, plus cost savings on a property lease, upkeep and utilities. Replacing staff is expensive, and studies suggest flexible work options can lead to more satisfied employees and less turnover.

Of course, telecommuting is not for everyone; many businesses still need a brick-and-mortar location for retail, manufacturing or other reasons. Alternative solutions include coworking spaces, short-term office rentals and scaled-down storefronts, which can reduce rent and overhead costs, as well as make your business more digitally dexterous. 

2. Tech tools

Most merchants know that investing in new, better tools can help save money and move their business forward, but they sometimes resist it because of upfront costs or technological unfamiliarity.

In some cases, you can directly grow revenue by expanding your customer base and simplifying the sales process, such as with online payment services, mobile credit card processing and pay-by-phone solutions – not to mention having a slick, responsive website and active, engaging social media presence. Furthermore, utilizing digital marketing instead of traditional advertising methods allows you to specifically find and target potential customers, generate leads, track consumer data and easily see your return on investment.

You can also use technology to mitigate losses. With more online business and remote work have come an increase in damaging data breaches, fraud and ransomware attacks. Spending on cybersecurity that reduces your vulnerability is essential in today’s world. Additionally, automated accounting software can help you better manage your books and avoid costly mistakes. Digital tools make your business smarter, stronger, safer and more resourceful.

3. Low-cost alternatives

Don’t simply be content with the way you’ve always done things. Look for opportunities to upgrade processes and people, reassess your toolkit and be more creative. Negotiate with vendors to get cheaper prices, ask service providers for better contract terms, show you’ll play hardball; do your research, be open to early adoption and examine supply chain alternatives.

Free tools like Google Docs and Basecamp help businesses organize, collaborate and reduce paper documents. Buy secondhand or refurbished equipment, replace an analog phone system with a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) network, review your subscriptions for renewal terms and evaluate different insurance policies, even explore supplemental revenue streams.

Also, you can save some green by going green. A paperless business benefits both the planet and your pocketbook, switching to LED bulbs is efficient and “reduce, reuse, recycle” is still the best way to decrease waste and increase environmental and economic sustainability.

4. Outsource

Outsourcing doesn’t have to mean a politically fraught concept about sending jobs overseas; oftentimes it’s just being more cost-effective and knowing how best to utilize talent and time.

Even for a small enterprise, it doesn’t always make sense for one or two people to do everything. If you’re a business owner, your time is your most valuable – and, potentially, expensive – asset. Play to your strengths, delegate and recognize when you need outside expertise or just another set of hands.

Outsource the specialized tasks. When possible, hire a freelancer, contractor or part-time employee, especially for short-term, seasonal or temporary work, whether that’s designing your website or stocking your shelves. But remember: the cheapest option is not always the best one, especially if it means you have to do the job over again or it’s actually detrimental to your business. Pay for quality work.

5. Know your numbers

It may be the fifth tip, but the most significant way to save money is by knowing your numbers. It may seem basic, but you must understand the financial information and aspects involved in running your business. Certainly, this means creating and sticking to a budget, but it also involves tracking and comprehending all the little things that show up – or don’t show up – on your monthly statement.

Partnering with a trustworthy, transparent provider can give you accurate and objective insight into your operations. Many small businesses, in particular, walk a monetary tightrope, living and dying on their cash flow with razor-thin margins, so any money-saving decision pays off.

FLEX Payment Solutions works with all legal businesses, including those labeled as high-risk, to deliver credit card processing and other vital payment solutions with 100% compliance and excellent customer service. With our fee calculator feature, we offer clients the opportunity to upload their merchant account statement and see instantly how we can save them money and help their business grow. Contact FLEX today to learn more.

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