You’ve no doubt heard about the economic turmoil all around us. Maybe the recession is hitting your business particularly hard. While there’s nothing we can do to fix the economy, here are some ideas you can implement today that will help you cut costs and save big bucks.
6. Make Friends with a Competitor
You’ve been in business long enough to know that you can’t please everyone. And why would you want to? There are some customers out there who just wouldn’t be a good fit to work with your company. But guess what… some other business is a great fit. And that’s okay. Because most of your customers wouldn’t be a good fit with their company.
Now that we’ve clarified that, working with the competition becomes a great opportunity. If you’re too expensive for some clients, refer them to someone less expensive. If you don’t offer exactly the service someone is looking for, tell them who does. You’ll quickly realize that you’re spending less time dealing with frustrated clients, and more time with the profitable ones. And what’s more, your competitors will start sending customers to you. It’s all about building good karma. Cost = FREE
5. Accept Payment Online
Do you offer online payment to your clients? If not, you probably should be. These days, people expect to be able to pay with their credit card. And they don’t trust letting that card out of their site. Offering online payment options through a reputable provider makes your business that much easier to work with. And the best part is, it’s not that difficult. Just 15 minutes to set up an account with PayPal or Google Checkout and you’ll be ready to accept payments from Visa, MasterCard, AmericanExpress, and Discover.
Your customers can feel safe that you won’t ever have access to their card, and you can rest easy knowing that nobody can break into your office and steal valuable information. Cost = FREE
4. Stop Mailing Invoices
How much time does your receptionist spend printing/folding/stuffing/addressing/mailing invoices each month? How much money do you spend on postage? paper? envelopes? Is tracking down late payments sucking up time that you could be using to make money? Enough is enough!
There are a mountain of companies that can automate your invoicing process including: Zoho Invoice (my personal preference), Invoice Journal (my 2nd favorite), FreshBooks, and Blinksale. These products take all the complication out of billing your clients.
For example with Zoho:
- Just click on “Create a New Invoice”
- Choose a client and the service performed
- Verify the correct amount
- Click “Save and Send”.
An invoice will be emailed to your client along with a link to make a secure payment via PayPal. If they forget to pay, a reminder will automatically be sent to them later. Zoho shows you at a glance how much you’ve invoiced, how much you’ve collected, and how much is still outstanding. Cost = FREE to send a few invoices; up to $35/month to send a lot of invoices.
Jump to the next page for 3 more suggestions…
3. Hit the Pavement
Nothing brings in business like a little pavement pounding. Go out, get some fresh air, put a smile on your face and hand out some flyers. Just finished a job? Don’t leave the area until you’ve introduced yourselves to the neighbors. Even if nothing comes of your efforts (not likely) you will have gotten some good exercise. Cost = FREE
2. Boost Sales with Email Marketing
Research consistently shows that email marketing is the least expensive way to generate new business? Not sure where to start? It’s simple. Do you have the email addresses of all your current clients? (If you’re sending online invoices, you should.) Put together a little message to them with an update on any current promotions. Tell them that they can get some sort of reward for referring their friends. Whatever you do, stay in contact with them. Next time they need some work done, they’ll know who to contact.
You’ll be tempted to just send the message using Outlook or some other program on your computers. Be aware that there are strict federal laws regarding email marketing. Your best bet is to spend a few bucks a month and get an account with a reputable email provider. (Call or email us if you’d like some free advice.) Cost = $9-30
1. Stop Advertising to the Wrong People
Are you still advertising in the phonebook? How much is that costing you each month? How much business is it bringing in? Is it really worth it? Think about this, if you’re a landscaping company that offers snow removal in the Winter does your phonebook ad mention snow removal services? If it doesn’t, how will people know to call you in the Winter months? If it does, isn’t that a waste of space in the Summer?
Now, consider online advertising:
- You only pay when people find your business.
- You can change your ad any time for free (landscaping ad in the Summer, snow removal ad in the Winter).
- You set a daily or monthly budget cap and can stop advertising any time if money gets really tight.
(If you’d like some advice about how to get started, give us a call or send us an email. We’ll be happy to explain how it all works and how you can get started for free.) Cost = You decide
Hopefully I’ve given you a lot to think about. We’re in a tough economy right now and you can’t afford to waste money. Implementing just one or two of the ideas above could save you thousands of dollars each year. Have some suggestions of your own? Add them in the comments below. If you’ve got questions or are interested in learning how we can help you cut costs, give us a call (801.335.4941). We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.