You’ve started a business or you have been in business for some time. You want to cut or manage your expenses wherever possible as long as quality doesn’t suffer and your bottom line benefits. But how can you manage this?
One way to manage/reduce office expenses is to consider using online office supply discounters whose offerings cover basic office furniture as well as the usual copier paper, pens and paper clips. You can easily save anywhere from 30-80% depending on the mix of products you choose.
A second route to cutting those office expenses is to use online discount telecom service providers for your phone calls – local, national and international – as well as for your fax needs.
A third area where you could cut those office expenses such as furnishings, computers and office machines is to check out government auctions or any local office furniture and electronic equipment discounters available in your area.
If you have ever been hired to work for a company or when you visit someone’s office, you tend to take the availability of paper clips, copier paper, toner and ball point pens as a given. Of course, desks, chairs, telephones, computers, and fax machines are only to be expected. For the business owner, this availability is a huge expense which needs to be managed so that profits are maximized. With a little foresight and planning, these expenses can be managed. It will, of course, require doing some local price comparison shopping first. But, it’ll pay off in the long run.
We’ll look at the characteristics of a good office supply discounter first:
Ideally, the discounter’s offerings should include, but not be limited to, chairs, desks, credenzas, paper goods, pens, toner, and mailing/shipping supplies, etc. One-stop shopping is a huge time saver and can lead to deeper discounts.
The supplier should have warehouses strategically located around the country.
A good mix of name-brand as well as generic products should be available.
Offerings should include environmentally friendly items and items with recycled components.
Orders should be shipped within 24 hours, after payment verified.
Minimum order size should be modest. Free shipping should apply around the $75 order size.
A 100% money back guarantee and free pick up for defective items with your choice of replacement or refund is the ideal.
You should be able to return unwanted items within 30 days as long as they are 100% intact. Only modest fees should be applied to your refund.
Customer service hours through phone, fax and email should be posted on the website.
Online customer service should be available 24/7.
You should be able to shop online and pay with your credit card.
Now, let’s examine the features a good, online discount telecom service provider should offer in its comprehensive plan for businesses:
The telecom service provider should use broadband and fiber-optics to assure economical calls of excellent quality, world-wide.
Multiple access options, using your current communication equipment, should be available to you.
A pay-as-you-go plan where you’re not locked into a commitment is the ideal.
You want a scalable business telecom plan where you can manage and budget all of your service options in one account that allows for several hundred sub-accounts, if needed.
Service should be available via landline or wireless, with or without the internet.
The initial start-up deposit for your account should be modest – under $50.00; monthly maintenance should be well under $10.00. Individual calls on landline phones should be in the 2.5 cents/minute range.
Live 24/7 customer service is a “must”. Email support is a “plus”.
You should have access to mobile dialer apps for your smart phone.
Acceptable forms of payment for your service should include credit cards and PayPal.
The last avenue I mentioned for cutting business expenses for such items as furnishings and office equipment is to purchase used furniture and equipment through government auctions or discounters who deal with office furniture and electronics in your area. It’s possible to get computers, office equipment and furnishings well below retail prices. (FYI: Because some of the items available at government auctions are actually surplus, you could end up with brand new items!) Be sure to do your price comparison shopping before attending the auction.
In today’s tough economic climate, you really can’t afford not to keep your expenses in line to the fullest extent possible. Whether you are a new business owner or you have some longevity in your business, you are to be congratulated. Business is the real source of jobs and prosperity. I hope my cost cutting suggestions benefit you.