11 Ways to Cut Costs Without Layoffs

With President Obama predicting that unemployment will rise to 10% this year, companies are getting creative about ways to save themselves and, hence, jobs. British Airways ( BAIRY) recently asked its 40,000 employees to work for free. FedEx ( FDX) CEO Fred Smith slashed his own salary by 20% last winter.

In taking cost-cutting steps before laying off even more staff and slicing the business to the bone, you'll be in a position to emerge from the recession stronger than ever. Patrick Engineering, for example, is now in the fortunate position of being able to hire "industry leaders" because it shaved costs on an annualized basis to equal about 10% of its revenue, says Jeffrey Cousens, vice president of organizational development. "Also, because we didn't have to cut staff significantly, we won't have to spend money on training a large group of new employees as the country comes out of the economic downturn."

The paper trail can be costly: Despite our reliance on computers, too many of us still crave that invoice or order request on paper. Well, that comes at a hefty price, as shoe designer Eileen Shields discovered. When she went over her expenses line by line, she realized that the factory she used sent paper invoices via FedEx. By having the documents emailed to her instead, she saved herself $1,000 in FedEx fees alone.

Office etiquette is changing: Once, not too long ago, when you hired someone, you provided him with telephone, a computer, and all the accoutrements of office life. But is that really necessary? No, realized Janine Popick of direct marketing firm VerticalResponse. "We have 80 employees and 30 of them never use their phones," she says. "They would take calls on their cell phones." She not only saved $120 per handset, she also cut down on her phone bill.

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