The Frugal Office: Small Business Practices That Will Stop You Bleeding Money

We can’t deny that running a business is expensive. After maintenance costs, salaries, and other expenditures, there’s very little money left over to spend on growing the business. If you run a small business that fills a niche, you can’t expect to make huge amounts of money, but you can make big savings by cutting costs in your office. Between having too many employees and buying too much toilet paper, you can save money that can be spent on the growth of your business.


Training Staff vs Hiring Degree-Educated Staff

Yes, it’s understandable that you want educated staff for your business, but have you considered how much it’s going to cost and if it’s even worth it? Let’s be real for a moment. You don’t need a degree to punch values into a computer, and you certainly don’t need a degree or qualifications to answer customer service phone calls. You don’t even need a degree to learn to use software.

If you’re hiring new staff, then give everyone a chance. Don’t scoff at the idea of someone who dropped out of college to pursue a career—that’s a sign that they’re dedicated and motivated to get on the career ladder early. Do you need to hire staff for a specific task? Consider training staff yourself or hiring someone to teach them how to do that task. The cost of a raise and hiring an instructor is easier to swallow than adding an extra member to your team.

Advertising an internship program is also a great way to get work done and nurture potential employees. You’ll get dozens of applications from potential hopefuls, and it doesn’t take long to see if they are a fit for your company or not. Just make sure you don’t make the mistake of giving them unclear terms. Decide beforehand what you will pay them (if anything) and what possibilities there are for joining your company.


Outsourcing Highly Specific Tasks

As mentioned before, you’re better off training staff if you need something specific done. However, if that something needs to be done as soon as possible, then you need to look into outsourcing. Whether it’s looking for a freelancer or hiring a professional company, build relationships with the other party and make sure to clearly discuss what it is you need and want from them. The better your relationship, the easier it will be to get similar work done in the future.

If you need to design a web page or an online storefront for your business, then outsource web design and get it done faster than recruiting someone or teaching an employee. Do you need to fix a couple of computers in the office? Forget about hiring an IT professional and outsource it. Look for services in your area that specialise in computer repair and ask for a quote.

You can save an incredible amount of money by delegating specific tasks to freelancers and other companies. Hiring more people doesn’t necessarily mean more work gets done, but it does mean you’re using up more money.


Invest in Long-Term Solutions

As the saying goes: you need to spend money to make money. Upgrading computer systems might seem expensive, but think of the savings you can make in the long run. If you’re still buying paper sheets by the box, then think about what you’re actually using that paper for. Is it to print statements, for archival purposes, or invoices? Maybe you need to upgrade your systems and rely on digital statements, cloud storage, and email invoices. Paper documents lead to slow and inefficient work. Your business can run much more smoothly if you upgrade to a computer-based system.

Similarly, your workers aren’t going to work efficiently on outdated machines. Upgrading hardware is a small but necessary expense in the long run. Your network might be inefficient and slow, the computers might lack processing power, and if they are prone to crashing and failures then your business is at a risk of grinding to a halt on a bad day.


Don’t Be Wasteful, Make the Most of Everything

Whatever you spend money on, make sure you’re getting the full value out of it and not wasting money. If you’re going to have several employees, then make sure they’re actually working and you’ve assigned them relevant tasks. If one of your workers is hardly doing anything, then consider if they’re actually a worthwhile investment or if they are a waste of your money. If you’re unable to fire them for a number of reasons, then let that be a lesson for the future and stop hiring needlessly. Train that employee and build up their skills so he’s not a burden to your business.

The same applies to office equipment. Are your employees throwing away perfectly usable equipment? Stop them and start controlling your expenses. Things such as keyboards and computer screens can be repaired for a fraction of what it costs to replace. Don’t use your wallet to pamper your employees with things like luxury snacks and professional-grade equipment if they don’t need it. Every saving counts.


Do Your Research and Always Look for Better Deals

Whether it’s buying office supplies or looking for a freelancer to hire, make sure you do research into pricing and make sure you’re not getting ripped off. Check online for typically accepted prices. You can even go as far to create a public advertisement on freelancing sites to draw interest. Take note of all the prices people are offering you, and decide for yourself what you’re willing to spend.

But keep up your professional appearance don’t drop down to haggling. You’re a business after all, not a car-boot salesman. Accept that some people offer better services for the price and that it might be worth the premium, but don’t take that as the normal price for a service. There are plenty of freelancers that are willing to accept less pay just to get a job to put onto their portfolio. Depending on your business, there are even some cases where freelancers will be willing to do work for free if it means a good reference in the future from you or work to add to their résumé.

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, Founder of Inspired Marketing, Inc., helps overachieving women entrepreneurs conquer limiting beliefs and create marketing plans that win. This includes one-on-one marketing plan development, digital product creation, web design and content marketing. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog,

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