For small-business owners, every square foot of office space and every piece of equipment is part of how money is made. But it’s also how business dollars get spent.
Overhead is a daily reality for small businesses. In fact, when it comes to utilities and human resources — it’s an hourly reality. And any way to trim that overhead is key to driving success.
One strategy, when it comes to controlling overhead, is to tackle the “phantom charge”. These are the incremental, often small, expenses — and also the missed savings — that add up every year.
What follow are five such “phantoms”, ones that you can tackle right away with some advice from the experts at LivingPlug.
1. Stop Phantom Electrical Costs: Your printers, copiers, and other devices and appliances still draw energy, even when they’re not in use. For example, a desktop computer in sleep mode costs nearly $22 per year. Printers run at least $6 annually. Multiplied by the number of devices in your shop, storefront, or offices, this can really add up. The good news is that you can control it by simply unplugging, powering down, or implementing “smart” outlet devices that limit that passive draw.
2. Utilize Automatic Cloud Storage: The data that small businesses generate demands attention. Safe, secure, and frequent backups are key to ensuring your future — but staying on top of the tasks associated with that kind of rigorous backup takes time. And time is money. So, automate your backup to the cloud with a service that automatically grabs all user-generated content and stores it.
3. Benefit from Mileage Tax Deduction: Don’t let the money you stand to save by deducting business-related travel from your taxes pass you by. A device like CarCheckup helps business owners track mileage. Simply plug it into the onboard diagnostic port.
4. Stop Wasting Billable Staff Hours: Small businesses are often plagued by wasted time on phone calls to vendors and providers. Systems that feature endless wait times and phone trees eat up the hours you’re paying for as an owner. Implement an app such as FastCustomer. This helps eliminate that time-suck by navigating those phone trees and ringing your employee back when customer service is actually on the line.
5. Replace Store-Bought with In-House Treats: It is widely known that free food and drinks make for happy employees. But, forgo soda purchases at the grocery store and make your own lower-cost, high-quality in-house treats with a gadget like the SodaStream. The results are not only tasty and typically better for you, but your office will save about about $720 per year for a staff of four (and another feel-good benefit is that your office will also produce less waste).
Time and money, and missed savings. From the way we power our printers to the care we take when tracking business expenses, make this the year you eliminate the phantom charge — in all its incarnations.