Turn off the Lights and Print Less: 25 Ideas for Cutting Your Overhead

The old saying is true:  you do have to spend money to make money.

But overhead—the cost of running your business—doesn’t have to be through the roof. There are tons of ways to cut down on spending and increase your cash flow. None of these solutions will make or break your bottom line, but little costs can easily add up to something big. Here are 25 possible changes you can make that’ll help cut your overhead costs and allow your business to thrive.

  1. Go digital as much as possible. Costs of paper and printing ink can add up easily.
  2. Turn the lights off when a room isn’t being used.
  3. Allow people to telecommute, so they aren’t taking up valuable office space unnecessarily.
  4. Cut travel costs by staying in simpler hotels and skipping the first-class plane tickets.
  5. Monitor supplies such as stamps and staples to make sure nothing is going to waste.
  6. Buy used-but-quality furniture off Craigslist instead of ordering brand new.
  7. Rent just too high? Consider a move! It’s a huge way to cut monthly expenses.
  8. Go green by cutting your heating bill with better insulation. This one-time cost could save you money in the long-run, and help the environment as well.
  9. Clean up your books by clearing out assets you no longer have to reduce your insurance bill. If you sold the company car, for example, make sure you’re not paying taxes on it.
  10. Negotiate! Sometimes, all you have to do is ask for bulk discounts or deals on hotel rates. Companies like Staples offer great deals to offices buying in bulk.
  11. Look at your company’s associations and see which fees are too high to justify. Are you really getting the most use out of your local chamber of commerce, or are you just paying the fee and not reaping the benefits? (Of course, this might be a heads up to start using the benefits, if you decide to keep your membership.)
  12. Hire college students or interns who can be paid at lower rates for administrative tasks, like mail deliveries.
  13. Hire an accountant, if you don’t already have one. This is another cost that could save you in the long run, as accountants are trained to notice tax breaks and other money savers you may not be aware of.
  14. Eliminate business cards. In the age of LinkedIn, are the small communication pieces really necessary?
  15. Hire smart. Bring on new employees who have multiple skill-sets and try to consolidate multiple open positions into one, if possible.
  16. Create DVDs for training instead of having seasoned employees spend valuable time out of their day teaching new employees.
  17. Use a time attendance system to understand which projects take the most time–for instance, an employee may be spending a ton of time on a project that you had viewed as a low priority. Whether it’s a system like Freckle or a more casual email update at the end of the day, knowing which tasks take up the most time can help you plan and budget accordingly, saving money on personnel or temps.
  18. Replace incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights to save on bills.
  19. Make sure you’re only paying for the amount of software licenses you need. For instance, maybe only the marketing department needs Adobe Creative Suite—not the entire office.
  20. Pay any bills online to save postage costs.
  21. Donate to charity. You can use a tax break while doing a good thing for the community.
  22. Stick to budgets carefully to avoid excessive “budget creep”.
  23. Use direct deposit to pay your employees instead of printing paper checks.
  24. Encourage coffee mugs and silverware brought from home instead of office-supplied disposable cups and plasticware.
  25. Ask for ideas—your employees may know places to cut waste that you’ve never even considered!