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Some say the recession may officially be over but is anybody really feeling like it is??  And even if it is, does that mean small businesses can loosen their financial belts?  Fortunately, there are many ways businesses can still save money going into the New Year without having to cut back on quality or performance.

Here are a few ideas:

1.     Consider sharing costs with another local business. If you’re planning to schedule training in 2014, teaming up with other local businesses could help reduce the cost of the trainer and the space. It’s also worth thinking about renting out unused office space or equipment to local businesses that need it. You can advertise in your local paper, or online sites like Craigslist.

 2.     When you do have to buy, join a warehouse store so that you can buy in bulk. Many warehouse stores like Costco offer business memberships that come with extra perks like early admission, low interest credit lines, and credit card processing services.

 3.     Take a look at your contracts. It’s easy to re-sign contracts every year without renegotiating them but a lot of businesses end up throwing money away on services or coverage that they’re no longer using. Review your insurance policies and make sure that if you’ve sold any insured equipment or property that it’s removed from the policy. Also be sure to take advantage of any discounts that you may be eligible for, such as good driver or non-smoking discounts.

 4.     Limit business travel. Try to avoid traveling when unnecessary and combine trips when possible. Video conferencing is often a cost-effective alternative to travel. If you do travel, take advantage of frequent flyer programs and online-only discounts offered by airlines and hotels.

 5.     Take advantage of early-bird discounts or negotiate pre-pay discounts. When you know that an annual expense is coming up buy well in advance to make sure that you get a good deal.

 6.     Conserve energy by turning off lights, computers, air conditioners, and other electronics when you leave the office. Conserving energy not only keeps costs down but it can also extend the life of your equipment. Invest in some energy-saving light bulbs like LED or compact fluorescent.

 7.     Talk to your bank about negotiating lower banking fees. The banking climate right now is extremely competitive so you have a lot of options where financial institutions are concerned. If your current bank isn’t flexible about charges, consider moving your money to another institution, or a credit union, that may have better rates. Certified checks, traveler’s checks, and safety deposit boxes are just a few of the services that you can often get for free or at a reduced rate with a little negotiation.

Of course, one of the best ways for small businesses to save money is by creating a financial forecast to help you stay on top of profit margins, control costs and adapt to changes in the marketplace. Bookkeeping isn’t always at the top of everyone’s list of favorite things to do but there are plenty of resources to can help you set a budget, track your finances, and make sure that your business succeeds.

Virtual BeanCounters serves business owners and entrepreneurs with remote web and cloud-based finance applications. Let our professional accountants run your daily, weekly, or monthly bookkeeping and accounting, so you can run your business! Contact us by phone at (913) 649-1040 or click here to visit our Contact page.