Enlightened Leadership Blog | How to Save Money Now | November 2023
Do you ever look at rising costs and feel frustrated? Feeling frustrated isn’t much of an action plan. Business leaders must take critical steps to be resilient while facing economic pressures, managing increased costs, and maintaining loyal customers.
As 2024 gets closer, every action step you take today can help you in the new year. Start by examining your year to date and monthly profit and loss statements. Ensure all your expense reporting is up to date. You can’t improve what you don’t know.
So, what can you do to help your bottom line?
Here are five tips to start saving money right now:
- Scrutinize your recurring expenses. This is one of my favorite quick wins because I always find something. Look at your monthly credit card and bank account expenses to view your monthly recurring costs. For example, I was paying about $125 per month for a subscription that I tried, but for my business, it wasn’t worth it. So, I canceled it and saved $1,500 per year. It took about ten minutes of my time. A few months later, I uncovered something else and saved $60 per month. May seem small, but it’s money that could be yours instead of wasted. Remember, each little thing adds up, all of which flows to your bottom line.
- Watch credit card fees. Credit card fees are popping up more and more. For business expenses, this can become challenging because it’s easier to use your business credit card and track the associated expenses than use cash and lose track. Just because a vendor, consultant, or store tries to charge you a credit card fee does not mean you have to agree to it or that you must continue purchasing from them.
For example, a consultant was going to charge me a credit card fee on top of a sizeable professional fee. I questioned it. Then, it was waived. Another example is a small business I visit regularly charges a three percent credit card fee for any purchase. So, I pay cash for the services. However, the products I can buy elsewhere, I don’t purchase there. From a high-quality customer perspective, what’s the long-term value in charging customers an extra three percent expense for products that can be purchased elsewhere for less?
- Rebalance marketing spend. As a small business, regardless of your industry or growth stage, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on digital ads, print ads, direct mail, content marketing, social media management, branding/rebranding, sponsorships, and more. More marketing spend doesn’t ensure your business will thrive. You don’t need to get dizzy or go broke. Look at where and how you are reaching your ideal target audience and adjust accordingly. The right marketing spend can help your business thrive.
- Evaluate the value of any retainer agreements. If you have retainer agreements with vendors or subcontractors, review them. Are you receiving the quality of services that you desire? Are the projects you retained the consultant for moving forward on schedule with good results?
Here’s a simple example. You pay $1,500 per month for specified services from a consultant. Some months you have one or two video conferences, and the consultant completes project work as agreed to in advance. The ten total estimated hours to complete the work and be on the video calls work out to an approximate hourly rate of $150. Okay. However, other months you don’t even talk to the consultant. Instead, you receive an email, and you are asked to provide information to them. So, that month is costing you $1,500 to receive nothing in return. If you question it, the response you may receive is they were working on your project even though you didn’t hear from them. Meanwhile, the project is no farther along than it was the month prior. Is that worth $1,500 to you? No. So, look at any existing retainer agreements.
- Reduce discretionary business expenses. Take a real look at what you are spending money on and that doesn’t lift your spirits or your bottom line. For example, food, booze, and coffee are three common ones that can get out of hand. The client’s dinner you host with cocktails could be lunch; the lunch could be a coffee; the coffee could be a walk. You get the idea. Or the event that cost you a several thousand dollars and didn’t yield one new paying customer. It was a fun time, but was that “party” worth the cost of a vacation?
Try these tips today to save some money going into the new year. I’d love to hear from you about your findings. Share with me at JenniferMusser@JLMAConsulting.com.
By Jennifer Musser
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