The less it costs to run your business, the bigger your profit margins. Here are four creative ways you can wrangle in your overhead:
1. Close your office. Office space costs are often the largest single overhead cost for a business. To maintain an office you have to pay rent, pay utilities, pay for cleaning services, furnish the office and insure the contents of the office. Although it may not work for all businesses (retail in particular), you can save a lot of money by having your employees telecommute. Most employees will jump at the opportunity to work from home. Not only will it shorten their commute, they can also get a tax break on their home office space. Additionally, the ease of the Internet makes it virtually effortless (and free) to meet with coworkers via videoconferencing.
2. Cut energy costs. Executing a thorough energy savings plan can spell real overhead savings for small businesses. Some of the things in your plan should be replacing incandescent light bulbs with more efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, installing a programmable thermostat, turning off lights in unoccupied rooms, turning off and disconnecting equipment (including computers) when not in use and using natural light whenever possible. You’re going to have to get your employees to pitch in for this plan to really be effective. Make sure your employees understand that saving energy costs could mean preventing job cuts.
3. Hire cheap labor (legally). If you’ve got kids that can work at your business, hire them. You can pay them less than the rest of your employees and teach a lesson in responsibility as well. You can also get some tax breaks for hiring your kids to work for you.
4. Hire free labor (seriously). Start an internship program in your business. You can get college students to work for you in exchange for course credit. They can learn something and you can get your grunt work done for free (and your Starbucks (Stock Quote: SBUX) delivered).
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