Question: What's ONE thing I can do to save my business money right now that nobody ever talks about?
Forget Information Products
"This is an area not many people talk about because a lot of businesses make their money by selling these items. The problem is that too many entrepreneurs buy into eBooks, courses, group coaching programs, etc., but they don't spend any time implementing. Stop spending your money on information and instead, save it, or spend it on talent that will help catapult your business forward."
Shared Gym Memberships
"I'm a huge believer that splurging on gym memberships saves on employee productivity big time. But don't buy individual memberships; instead, negotiate with a nearby gym to buy just a few memberships you can share with people on the team (as long as only one person per membership goes at once). They''ll typically be cool with that, and you'll potentially save a ton."
Audit Your Subscriptions
"Look through your credit card statements for automatic rebills, and make sure all the services you're paying for are actually being used. In the past we've uncovered a mobile phone account that no one had used for six months, a website optimization service that was overbilling us, and a CRM that we had switched away from months prior. For services that you do use, contact and ask for discounts."
Fit It in the Right Box!
"Many product companies I have talked to always tell me some added costs come from having to buy a shipping box on-top of their retail box. A little tip we learned was make it fit inside a USPS flat rate box or UPS box. These materials are free from both suppliers, and if you manage your relationship with the driver, they even drop them off to you, saving your company a ton on packaging costs."
Look at Legal Expenses
"Businesses often have legal needs that can cause large, unexpected legal bills. Ask your attorney for flat project rates to allow you to better budget your legal expenses. If an attorney will not provide a flat rate, they might be willing to agree to a cap on the project, which also can help you prevent surprise legal bills."
Ask for Tax Guidance
"The earlier in the year that you can sit down with your CPA and look for opportunities to better manage what you're going to owe the IRS, the more likely that your CPA will be able to help you find some strategies to minimize your tax bill. From retirement accounts to going green, there are a lot of tax strategies out there and it's worth going over all of them with a tax professional."
Negotiate Absolutely Everything
"Prices for B2B products and services are almost always negotiable. Aggregated savings over time can amount to a real enduring competitive advantage if competitive negotiation becomes part your company culture. Make it a policy never to sign off on anything until you and your team have hustled out every last penny."
Try Out Outsourcing
"Outsourcing oversees things such as web design, SEO, and in some cases, content writing can greatly reduce your overhead. Firms such as Supreme Outsourcing http://www.supremeoutsourcing.com, Guru and oDesk help you find work from around the globe. If you reduce cost in these areas, you can then hire more full-time people in your own country so there is nothing unpatriotic about it."
Utilize Interns Wisely
"There are millions of college students and recent grads willing to work for little or no money in return for experience. Never underestimate the value of the experience you can offer. Compared to working at a large, boring corporation, many students will opt for the fun, small business. Once you have an intern (or four), you'll start realizing how much of what you do can be delegated."
Outsource Key Infrastructure
"Many small businesses see the value of outsourcing for specific tasks (such as web design or content). But outsourcing key infrastructure positions is an even more effective way to save money. Starting out, it’s almost inevitable that you'll face an internal skills gap. Outsourcing key functions such as finance, legal, and HR can help you keep your internal resources focused on your business."
Refuse Some Business
""Are you mad?" Nope. Simply stated: you need the focus. Stop looking for that quick fix and start connecting to your ideal client! You need to think long and hard about who that is. They are the ones that can extract the most value by using your service or product and will come back to you time and time again. All others are a waste of effort, as you bend over backwards for them just that once."
Review and Analyze
"Review invoices and statements from the past three months. As you go through them, ask yourself the following questions: Do we really need this? Are we paying too much? Can we get a better deal? How can I avoid these costs in the future? By analyzing every dollar, you’ll find areas where you are wasting money by overpaying or using services you don’t need."
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.