Ideas to reduce your overhead, increase cash flow, maximize tax returns and get the most out of your small business budgets
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) completed a survey of small business owners, which reveals that almost 40 percent said that “economic uncertainty” was their number one concern in their business. While there are few things you can do outside of your business to make a big economic impact, you can manage your own expenses in a way where you can gain the most for what you spend. These suggestions can help you get a better return on your expense dollars.
Using the Cloud
You can move most of your office computing into the cloud. Whether you work by yourself or have an office full of staff, using the cloud reduces your overhead.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a way to reduce your own hardware burden by moving it into a cloud. Even small businesses would dedicate a room for the servers, network routers, and disk drives used by the company. You would need special power, heating, and cooling for the room. You would also need people available to help support all of that technology.
The only equipment you’ll need to use the cloud for your technology infrastructure are the devices that people use to do their jobs: desktops, laptops and tablets. As far as projects that require paper print outs, you may want to look into a portable printer, and there are many online printing service options that you can choose from, such as Printing for Less. Software as a Service (SaaS) places all of the applications you rely on in the cloud as well. The cloud vendor is responsible for all the hardware you’ll use in the cloud. You won’t have the capital expense of the hardware and maintenance contracts and you won’t need as many people to support your systems.
To maintain your cash flow, you’ll want to hold onto your cash for as long as possible. However, unplanned expenses come up and you’re left with the decision of using your cash or getting a business loan. Another option is to investigate small business credit cards.
These credit cards are focused on the needs of the small business. You can use them as a short-term loan so you don’t have to dip into your cash reserves. Cards such as the AMEX plum card give you many options as to how to pay back the balance. Benefits are built in to reduce your rate by paying off the balance within a certain window. You can even get money back by paying early.
These business credit cards give you more flexibility than traditional bank and finance company loans. You get to keep more of your cash, and decide how you want to pay off the balances.
Social Media and PR
A way to consolidate key business functions and get more consistent results is to hire someone to focus on your social media, public relations and marketing, as BizJournals.com explains.
When you move into the world of social media, you need someone who can manage all of your posts, respond to customer questions, watch the traffic through your different sites, and analyze where you are making the biggest impact. This person also becomes a reputation manager, watching how the public responds to your business.
Having this person also manage your marketing and advertising allows you to use fewer people to get a consistent message out through all of your channels. They can keep track of how you are presented to the public, freeing up other resources in your company for other tasks.
Another team member to have on a retainer is a tax specialist. They can help you find all of the ways that you can save through deductions. The money spent on a few hours from a tax specialist could save you a lot of money on your taxes.
Bankrate lists these twelve items as the most important small business tax deductions to consider:
- Travel, meals, entertainment and gifts
- Insurance premiums
- Retirement contribution
- Social Security
- Telephone charges
- Child labor
- Home office
- Office supplies
- Other equipment
- Software and subscriptions
Each one of the above items may contain hidden savings for you that a tax specialist will uncover.
Guest Post: This guest post was contributed by Grant Graves. Grant is an environmental consultant for businesses that want a smaller carbon footprint.
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