Use a Business Budget Checklist to Capture Fleeing Cash

By Justine Grey on 2 January 2012 (Updated 18 January 2012) 0 comments
Photo: EduLeite

Oh, money. We love it. We hate it. And when it runs low, we panic and scramble to find ways to get more of it.

Since your business can’t run effectively on a money roller coaster, it’s a good idea to plump up your operating budget. Overspending on business goods and services can cut into your bottom line in a hurry. However, a few simple changes can help you pad your bank balances with more greenbacks. Consider this easy checklist to help cut costs and halt overspending.

Advertising

Take a look at all the advertising opportunities you’re currently paying for. This might be a box ad on a blog or website or a listing in a business directory. Immediately stop any paid advertising that’s not bringing a favorable return. Or simply don’t renew the ad when your contract with the advertiser runs out. Instead, look for free advertising and marketing advertising to help save some cash.

Business Supplies

Shiny things are so pretty, aren’t they? Often, pretty things come with a high price tag. If you’re compelled to purchase those fancy office supplies with bright colors and pretty prints, resist! You don’t need argyle print file boxes to run your business; save your cash by purchasing standard, economical office supplies. Have ink cartridges refilled instead of buying new. Buy economical supplies in bulk to help save money if you can.

Services

Business services are a broad area with huge potential for saving you money. Did you settle on any one or more service simply because checking around was too much work? If you didn’t take the time to compare services before choosing one, you’re probably paying too much for it. Cut back on services you don’t use and shop around for a comparable service with cheaper fees. A service with the highest price tag doesn’t mean it’s better—it was just better at snagging you into overspending! Services you may be able to save on includes:

  • Internet and web hosting;
  • Phone services;
  • Printing services;
  • Newsletter hosting.

You can find many reduced-price services that offer a great product. For example, consider using Skype for conference or telephone calls with clients to help cut your phone bill. Kall8.com offers fax services and business phone line hosting for a very reasonable fee. Skip high printing fees by tackling business card printing yourself or price-comparing printing companies. You can also create business forms, like order forms, in Microsoft Word and email them to customers to help save on printing and postage fees. With a little creative brainstorming, you can effectively stop overspending on services without sacrificing quality.

Equipment

If you’re looking to make new equipment purchases, like office furniture or electronics, be sure to be patient and shop around. Instead of overpaying on brand new office equipment, consider finding gently used items for a fraction of the cost. Watch your local newspaper for business liquidations or auctions to see if you can snag furniture, filing and storage units, and other business essentials for less than buying new. Also, don’t discount purchasing off-brand products. You may be able to find new electronics at a reasonable cost vs. paying a much higher price for a comparable, name-brand product.

Resist the urge to upgrade your electronics each time a newer model comes out. It may be tempting to show off the latest electronic gadget; however if it really doesn’t add value to your business, you’ve just overspent big time.

Fees

You could be overpaying for business fees without even realizing it. Common business fees include:

  • Bank and financial fees;
  • Business credit card fees;
  • Organization fees;
  • Subscription fees.

These fees usually happen automatically, so you’re less likely to give them a lot of thought. Consider meeting with your bank to see if there are options for lower fees on financial services, like your bank accounts, credit cards or line of credit. If not, shop around for a financial institution that offers better rates and fees.

Organization and subscription fees usually happen yearly. Before you pay out again, consider if you even actively use these subscriptions, such as trade magazine or business periodical subscriptions. If you pay fees to belong to the Chamber of Commerce or small business groups, are you an active participant? Or did you join and forget about it?

It is not always easy to take an honest look at our business spending practices. But, to avoid a death spiral of financial fall-out, being honest and proactive can keep your business afloat and thriving, even in hard times.

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