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15 Smart ways to keep costs down in your business

A successful business has low costs and high incomes, so here are 20 tips on tips on how you can cut down the costs of your business.

1. Buy large packages of stuff you use often.

2. Exchange things with other companies. If they have something you want - maybe you have something they want. You may not technically be able to do this according to the IRS, but many do it anyway.

3. Borrow or rent items you only need for a limited time.

4. Buy used stuff - there has never been a better opportunity to find what you are looking for on the used goods markets.

5. Exchange customer lists with businesses that complement yours - it will save marketing money.

6. Negotiate everything - if you're buying a printer or a new computer - try to get better prices and better terms. And don't be embarrassed for haggling. The seller always has the option to say no, right?

7. Create new routines to get paid by customers that are late with their invoices. Your staff must be made aware and anxious that you should get your money on time.

8. Make it easy for customers to pay. Offer a wider selection of payment options. Call your bank and ask what options they can offer and use them all.

9. If your customers are complaining about your prices - review your own expenses before you lower your prices.

10. If you're buying new software - check if there are student licenses. Buy them instead of the other ones that are much more expensive.

11. Negotiate with your vendors. Offer to purchase larger quantities for bigger discounts, but make sure they are delivered in smaller portions and billed after each installment. Another option is to try to buy more often, but in smaller quantities to keep an eye on the cash flow. The time it takes to keep better track of your stock can be worth the effort if it'll make you feel a little safer that you always have money available.

12. Check bankruptcy clearances. Some companies go bankrupt and their equipment can help you, not only to save money, but to make more money.

13. Is the lease on your locale about to expire - look for a location that is cheaper and perhaps situated a bit more off the main tracks than your fancy city office.

14. Is it time to upgrade your equipment - buy last year's version of what you're using now. It's still new, but always sold out cheaper when a new version hits the market. It's extremely rare that the higher price of the latest gizmo is worth paying.

15. Go through the expenses you have now - it's easy – check your files with all invoices, dating one year back. When I did this tedious job last summer, I threw all the folders in the car, drove to a beautiful meadow and sat on a blanket with a big bag of candy and a few cold beverages. The result was shocking and if I didn't own the company, I would have had to give myself a written warning. There are so many things that just slip through your fingers, stuff you just pay for without even thinking about it. I could cancel lots of old web accounts, a subscription for Internet marketing and lots of other expenses that I had been paying for, but not using anymore because the business had changed.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

230 000 prescribes to his free newsletter "The 5 minute marketer"
Every week some 230,000 prescribers gets his free newsletter about 5 minute marketing.

"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.