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By Dawn Kraus

Many small businesses are feeling the pinch of this current economic climate. Below are some simple steps that may help keep your small business afloat. These tips relate to your office, how you handle staffing issues, outsourcing, and using your money more efficiently. Review these ideas and see which ones will work for your business.

Office
1. Rent is one overhead expense that you may be able to decrease. Look into renting industrial space rather than commercial office space. The reduction of your monthly rent can give you the breathing room you need to stay in business.

2. Big expenditures can wait. Review the necessity of any large equipment expenditures. Can they wait a few months? Is it possible to lease the equipment rather than buy? If possible, hold off on the large expenses until you are more financially secure.

3. Review your shipping options. Are you spending a lot on shipping your products out? Some companies have found that working with Federal Express saves them money in shipping, reduces the time spent on handling and labeling packages, and, by paying with a credit card, such as American Express, they can receive points as well as a detailed statement each month to help with the billing process.

4. When buying supplies, buy in bulk. However, donít leave all the supplies readily available. Lock the additional supplies away until needed so they arenít needlessly wasted.

5. Most offices donít need an inter-office phone system. Everyone has their own cell phone and most intercommunication is done through the computer systems. An inter-office phone system will most likely be unused and that money could be better spent elsewhere.

6. If at all possible, donít have a company car. Between gas, insurance, and car payments, the value of having a company car available is not worth the investment.

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Dawn Kraus has been working with small businesses and not-for-profit organizations since she graduated Johnson and Wales University in 1994.
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