7 Ways to Rein in Costs Now

Scrutinizing your budget can control your costs.

April 1, 2009

Get control of your costs by using these tips.

1. Scrutinize your budget. Pore over your budget line by line and ask yourself, "What can I creatively do to lower this cost?" Be sure to include big-ticket expenses in your review, such as your lease or your employee insurance plan. Then set a time frame to execute each idea.

2. Make friends at the bank. Chum up with your local bank manager. Ask for a review of your accounts to determine if changes would result in higher earnings or the elimination of fees.

3. Look for partnerships. Forge relationships with other businesses to determine if there are possibilities for co-branding and referrals. One idea: Partner with a local hardware store. You give clients coupons for 5 percent off at the store; the store gives its customers a coupon for a free CMA from you. Or you can cosponsor events—say, "Simple Fixes That Improve the Value of Your Home."

4. Think free. Facebook, LinkedIn, ActiveRain, and other social networking sites are great for recruiting and for generating business. Rather than cramming recruiting ads into your company’s display ads, send invitations for events like an "Online Career Information Session." Also, use a free Internet press release distribution site such as www.przoom.com.

5. Downsize to save dough. Do you really need all that office space? Investigate whether some of your space can be subleased and find out if there’s a ready market for the space that could be created.

6. Staff judiciously. Every time a staffer leaves your company, think seriously about whether you need to replace that person. While few business owners feel good about adding to the ranks of the nation’s unemployed, ask yourself whether you can combine or cut positions or reduce the hours of current office staff.

7. Lock your drawers. It’s sad but true that office theft drains money from many brokerages. Lock up office supplies, stamps, coffee, and other items that might otherwise "walk out the door."

Sources: Belinda Fuchs, president, Own Your Money LLC, Boston; Michael Harris Jr., president, Ardynn Media, Harrisburg, Pa.; Carol Johnson, president, The Recruiting Network Inc. and Recruiting Pipeline, Schaumburg, Ill.