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5 Tips to Reduce your Operating Budget

1. Buy used equipment and print less
Not everything in the office needs to be shiny and new--buying lightly used equipment is the way to go to reduce costs. With the constant improvements in technology, newer versions are consistently being produced. You can get a hefty discount on software and hardware (even only a few months old) that were recently swapped out for a newer version. Go green and save money: print less The prices of ink cartridges never fail to shock me. Add paper, folders, and filing cabinets and you have one big expense, and a lot of dead trees. Luckily, we now live in a digital age where these expenses mostly, if not all, can become extinct. With cloud storage services like Dropbox, and note taking apps like Evernote, you can save a whole lot of money, not to mention saving yourself from paper cuts.

2. Negotiate with suppliers/vendors and request multiple bids
Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate!  Whether you are a new customer or an old loyal one, if you open a conversation and negotiate with your suppliers or vendors, most of them will likely respond by lowering prices. Tip: quoting a competitor's lower price is almost always a sure way to have your supplier or vendor match that lower price. Most suppliers would rather lower their prices than lose a customer all together. In addition to negotiating, if you are on the hunt for a new supplier or vendor, do your research and never except the first bid.  Just as you would with a doctor, get a second and even third opinion and have them all send in bids.

3. Travel less (and get more done)
With programs like Skype, join.me, and webex, traveling is not nearly as necessary as it used to be. Conducting an online meeting with these online resources is easy, and extremely cost efficient. Why pay for travel when you can have everyone meet in the same place AND stay in the same place?

4. Outsource
Not everything can, or should be done in-house. Hiring freelancers and contractors for one-off jobs saves time and money.  By hiring freelancers or contractors, you don’t pay a full-time salary or offer benefits. They simply come in, get the job done and are on their way afterwards, unless of course you want to hire them- which would then save you money on recruiting agencies. It’s a win-win situation.

5. Pay invoices early, or as late as possible
If you have the funds, paying supplier invoices within the first few days of receiving them  is likely to earn you a discount, as well as build a strong relationship with your supplier. If the supplier does not offer a discount for paying invoices early, and if you have the money available to pay a bill on time, set up the process so bills are paid as late as possible without incurring a fee in order to maximize the cash your business has available at any one time.

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