11 cost cutting hacks for small businesses

Cutting costs is second nature to most small business owners. After all any unnecessary expenses eat right into your profits. I like to think I've become pretty good at cost cutting over the years, so here's a few of my top money-saving hacks. Hope they help.


1. Free business cards

This is a real favorite of mine, Every time I need new business cards I have a search online for companies that are doing deals for a free batch where you just have to pay for postage. Even if you can't find ones which are 100% free, there are always discounts which mean you can order a few hundred cards for a few dollars.

Keep your design simple and it's easier to replicate using different providers, meaning you can shop around each time you need a top-up.

2. Hire interns

If you're facing a particularly busy period or need some help covering vacations, rather than paying for a pricey temp why not hire an intern?

I'm not suggesting you take advantage of free labor - but in today's competitive environment, giving people practical workplace experience can be a real boost. Giving interns real jobs to do ensures they have something to put on their resume and you get some work done for free. Win, win.

3. Buy in bulk

Sometimes you've got to spend to save. Buying things you know you'll need - like printer paper or coffee - in bulk does mean that your finances will take an initial hit, but can save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.

4. Be energy efficient

I've probably been driving my staff mad since I went on an eco-drive a few months ago, but it's amazing what little changes like turning computers off at night and turning the AC down a few notches have made to my utility bills.

5. Suspend buying

I've done this on several occasions when times have been tough and it's a great way to cut expenses for a month or two. Basically I just say 'no' to any non-essential spending.

Before I part with my dollars there has to be proof that we really 'need' whatever it is. Obviously I do end having to splash some cash during the month but it definitely helps cut back.

6. Download free forms online

If you usually buy forms from the office supplies store - stop now. There are loads of free templates available online which you can download and print out with a few easy clicks. I like Tidy Forms or Formville.

7. Use free shipping materials

If you have to send a lot of packages make sure you order free flat rate boxes from USPS. You can also order free ready-to-use packaging from FedEx, as long as you use them for your shipping.

8. Work with other businesses

You won't be the only other small business looking to save a few dollars, so why not see how you and other local business can help each other out?

Maybe you can offer a discount to local store owners in return for putting your flyers up in their window, or refer clients to one another where possible. I'm part of a local group of small business owners and we all offer each other a discount on products and services as well as helping each other out where possible.

This can also work really well with marketing: my gym recently ran a special yoga class and then offered free protein snacks from a new local cafe. The gym benefitted from a class that was fully attended, and the cafe got lots of new customers as a result of the tasty treats they handed out for free after the class.

9. Embrace virtual tradeshows

Traveling across the country to show off your products at tradeshows can be expensive, but attending a virtual tradeshow - with no travel costs involved - is much cheaper. As an added bonus, people from all over the world can attend so you are actually getting your products out there in front of a much bigger audience.

10. Use free shuttles to cut travel costs

If, like me, you do have to travel regularly for work then there are lots of ways to save, without meaning you have to hide in the hold! One of the biggest savings I made came when I stopped getting a cab to the airport and starting using the free shuttle service. It adds a little more time to the journey, but over a year saves be a significant sum.

11. Refill your own printer cartridges

If you need to print a lot it can work out cheaper to fill your own ink cartridges rather than paying a company to do it. Not sure how to do it? I found this guide pretty handy.

As an added bonus, you'll find that you have to refill your cartridges must less frequently if you set your printer to draft mode which uses much less ink.

I'm always on the lookout for more cost saving hacks, if you've got any tips let me know in the comments.


The sites I mention or link to in this post are just examples that I thought you'd find useful - I don't endorse them or their services. I have no affiliation with them and make no representation about their services.