Ask any small business owner where they’d love to cut their business costs, and we bet they’d say: “everywhere”. It’s no secret that expenses can spiral out of control for small businesses if you’re not careful.

However, if you play your cards right and cut down all those little business costs over time, you’ll find that things run a lot smoother and that your monthly outgoings report won’t read like a horror story.

For any small business to make major changes, just know that these things will take a bit of time and a lot of your patience, but if the end result is having fewer expenses each month, then why wouldn’t you bite the bullet and get things done. So, how many of these have you followed already?

Considering outsourcing

Sometimes, a project might arise which requires the need for another set of hands on deck. You might immediately feel the need to hire another employee to assist with the workload, but first contemplate whether it might be cheaper in the long run to instead bring freelancers on-board. Afterwards, you can think about the future of the small business once the project is finished. It may well happen that the workload goes back to a steady pace and you’ll be happy that you don’t have to deal with a contracted employee with little work to do.

Don’t always buy new equipment

There might come a time when you either have to replace or buy new office equipment, but why buy new if you can get it cheaper when it’s second-hand? Prices for desks, lights, chairs, drawers, and other equipment can be drastically reduced if you know where to look and can be savvy enough about how to strike a deal. You could also wait until Black Friday weekend for even cheaper deals.

Think before printing something

Before hitting the print button, consider whether this document actually needs to be printed, or whether it can be sent in an email or stored electronically. Printing doesn’t come cheap when you add up the costs of the printer itself, paper, and ink cartridges. If, of course, printing a document is inevitable, at least consider somewhere that offers bulk buying and recycled products, thereby being greener and saving a lot of pretty pennies. Bonus tips: Print on both sides of the paper, use smaller fonts, and switch to black & white ink if colour isn’t strictly necessary.

Set up virtual meetings

Face-to-face meetings are generally preferred in the business world, but every SMB owner will have gone to a couple which definitely could have been avoided. However, instead of avoiding the meeting, just do it online via a video call with Skype or GoToMeeting. You save the price of buying lunch (if the meeting took place in a restaurant or café) and the costs of travelling to the location.

Renegotiate old contracts with suppliers or electricity companies

For those SMB owners working in retail especially, just because you’ve had the same deal for a few years with your suppliers, doesn’t mean you can’t adjust the rates a little bit. If you’ve always paid on time and order regularly, try to strike a cheaper deal and be a bit more aggressive with the prices. Remember, they need you as much as you need them. The same goes for electricity or gas companies. If you call up and tell them you’re thinking of switching companies, just wait to find them offer up a better agreement to keep you there.