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Small Businesses Need To Be Aggressive On Costs

Businesses need to save when it comes to buying supplies and paying for various services. Many businesses focus only on big-ticket costs such as salaries and overhead, but the savings garnered from smaller items of cost can also add to a business’s profitability.

Stationery and Supplies:

Buy lesser-known brands of paper, pens, and other supplies. Exceptions to this rule would include law firms and certain other professional firms in which the quality of stationery is key to business image. Instruct staff to spend the time and look for "special deals" on expensive items such as print cartridges. Purchase supplies in bulk for additional discounts whenever possible.

Equipment Servicing:

Some service contracts may not be necessary. Examine whether or not equipment service contracts are necessary. Depending on the age and dependability of the machine in question, it may make more sense to pay out-of-pocket for repairs.

Telephone Lines:

Periodically ask telephone carriers whether you are eligible for a better rate on telephone services. Also, it’s a good idea to examine whether the business is paying for too high of a level of telephone service, or whether it could save money under a different service plan. Also, enforce company rules on personal long-distance calls.

Shipping and Mailing:

Employees may be routinely using a higher-cost service than is necessary. Check to make sure employees are using the most efficient service—e.g., using overnight service when U.S. mail or e-mail might be used. Provide employees with guidelines, and check to make sure the guidelines are being followed. Also, ask the carrier every so often whether the business is entitled to a discount or a better rate.

Internet Service Providers:

Check to make sure that the Internet Service Provider (ISP) is the most efficient one for the business’s current usage. Further, find out whether a discount is available for paying fees yearly. Even in a smaller organization, it is usually more efficient to make one staff member responsible for purchasing services and supplies and asking for bids, if such centralization is feasible.

For further information, contact Diane M. Pearson, CFP™ at (412) 635-9210 or

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