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Vol. 1 issue #1 Feb 26, 2002 

 

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Practical Money-Saving Tips For Small Businesses
2002 Diane Hughes

 

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One of the primary concerns all small businesses have is
saving money. When it's time to trim the fat, most look
for one giant expense to decrease or eliminate in order
to stay within budget. More often than not, it doesn't
work that way. 

Most budgeting experts will tell you that re-evaluating
your overall expenses and cutting each by just a bit will
actually gain you more ground than doing without something
major that you really need. Here are a few ideas of areas
to look at and costs to reduce that can have a major
impact on your overall profits.

1) Internet Access - Every online business owner must have
   access to the Web. But consider this. The market is so
   flooded with ISPs that you have a lot of room to dicker.
   Start by searching the Internet under keywords like
   "cheap internet access" or "discount isp" to bring up
   lists of possibilities. Then, do one of two things.

(a) Try some of these independent ISPs. Smaller companies
    can have high quality service and support just like
    the "big boys". One business owner I know recently
    switched from Prodigy ($21.95/mth) to a smaller ISP
    that only charges $12.50/mth with no contracts. She
    actually liked the new provider better and it costs
    her about half as much. [Savings of $113.40 per year.]

(b) Renegotiate with your existing ISP. Most larger ISPs
    know you have a choice of a thousand other companies.
    Because of this, they are normally more than willing
    to renegotiate your costs. Be honest. Tell them you
    are a small business owner and you need to cut expenses.
    Explain that you've been pleased with their service but
    will be forced to go with someone else if some sort of
    arrangement isn't worked out. Another friend of mine
    did this and received 6 months free! Most will offer
    2-3 months free and/or a discount with an annual
    agreement. NOTE: When you approach your ISP, be fully
    prepared to switch to someone else if your offer is
    rejected. [Savings of $105.80 per year with 3 months
    free and reduced, annual rate.]

2) Switch From A Merchant Account To A Payment Service -
   If you have a low volume of credit card transactions,
   it might benefit you to switch from a merchant account
   to some sort of payment service like Pay Pal or
   ClickBank. Statement fees, monthly fees, discount
   percentages and the like can all add up to big money.

While payment services normally have reduced fees, they
do have higher "per transaction" costs so you'll have to
do some math to find out if this is a good idea for your
business. Just take an "average" invoice amount from a
sale and multiply it times 12 to get a base total to
work with. Now, add in your 12 months worth of fees for
statement, monthly access, discount percentage, per
transaction cost, etc. This is your "example" total.
Do the same with several payment services using their
costs to see which one, over time, would be less
expensive for you. 

If you were paying a $15 statement fee, $20 monthly fee,
3% + $.35 per transaction and $25 monthly gateway fee,
your annual expenses would be $742.20 for an average
transaction of $50.00. Your annual fees for a payment
service with 3.5%, $1.00 per transaction and a one-time
$50.00 set up charge would only be $83.00 per year.
[Savings of $659.20 per year.]

3) Re-evaluate Your Long Distance Costs - Competition is
   the small business owner's friend! With hundreds of
   long distance companies out there, you can drastically
   reduce your charges instantly. Again - use the 'Net to
   search for inexpensive long distance service. A business
   owner I know changed from a MCI "program" to one of
   those 10-10 companies and reduced her per minute charge
   from $ .07 to $ .05. Depending on the volume of calls
   you make, some programs offer rates as low as $ .03 per
   minute. [Estimated savings of $20-$30 per year for
   1,000 minutes.]

From just these three little things, we've saved an
estimated $802.60 per year. That's enough to make anyone's
spreadsheet sing! Go through your list of costs and you
will most likely find other expenses that can easily be
reduced with a bit of research and a phone call or two.

-----------------------------------------------------------
Diane Hughes is an accomplished internet entrepreneur and
editor of the popular ProBizTips Newsletter. Subscribe to
her newsletter for more tips, tricks, and secrets of the
trade -- plus get HUNDREDS of eBooks, software and tools
just for subscribing! http://viralmarketzone.com/diane
-----------------------------------------------------------


 

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