Creative Ways to Cut Costs to Increase Cash Flow

February 07, 2012

You have more options for working capital besides a bank line of credit or invoice financing from a private lender. Small businesses tend have fewer costs, making it a challenge to find ways to cut costs. Here are some areas small businesses may not have considered.

Printing and supplies. Can you go paperless? Instead of printing invoices, convert them to PDF files and email them to clients. Do you produce a lot of documentation for clients? Would it be possible to switch to an electronic process? Perhaps, create online forms where the web site emails the submitted forms to an employee. This saves on paper and printing costs. If you still need printing supplies, buy them in bulk as one company saved 10 percent this way.

Gas. Although gas prices aren't as high as they were at one point, it's a good area for cost savings especially for companies where employees use transportation for work. A company discovered that its employees would get lost, wasting a lot of gas in the process. So, it installed GPS systems. Even with the investment in GPS systems, the company saved 10 percent on its transportation costs.

Employees most likely already have cell phones, and many have GPS built-in. Thus, you may not need to pay anything to have GPS capabilities. For example, load Google Maps on an iPhone and it will find your location and help you get there. Because of the GPS system, one company learned its drivers were making stops that weren't related to business.

Office space. You can save on gas and office space by offering telecommuting as an option. A company with five employees switched to telecommuting saving over $10,000 a month in rent. Although it means sacrificing in-person connections, the benefits justified the change.

Inventory. Although you're not in retail, this jeweler's creative thinking may inspire you to come up with some ideas. To minimize the cost of inventory and potential lost from a robbery, he replaced the jewelry on display with replicas. Because of the cheaper inventory, he has more jewelry on display than before with the real thing.

However, some customers do shop at the last minute, and he's ready for that. The owner keeps a few real gold and platinum items in the store.

Hire a consultant. Most small businesses may not see much reward in hiring a consultant to find ways to cut costs to increase cash flow. It's an option as they can find creative ways to save costs. In fact, it was a consultant that helped the company save big on printing costs.

The nice thing about all of these options is they don't affect employees.

What are some ways small businesses can save money without affecting morale?