In the state of the modern economy, saving a little money here and there can make the difference between success and failure for a small business. Various different costs, including overheads and the basic supplies needed to make the operation tick, can easily start to eat into profits and cripple a business irreparably. As you may be discovering, the need for more office supplies can often come at the worst possible times! If the cost of your office supplies are causing a major strain on your finances, here are a few ways to save big bucks on that all-important equipment.
Be a Loyal Customer, or Jump Ship!
Sometimes, the only reason that your office equipment is causing a big strain on your business’s finances is because you’re buying from the wrong vendors. With all the other things you’re going to have to worry about as a business owner, finding the cheapest suppliers can easily sink to the bottom of your very long to-do list. However, making sure that you’re buying everything you need in the office from the cheapest possible vendor doesn’t take long, and can be a great way for you to free up some capital which you can then invest in other areas. On the other hand, adhering to your current vendor with absolute loyalty can also be a great way to save money. If your supplier runs some kind of rewards program, find out if you’d qualify and how much you’d stand to save. If you need anything replaced, it may be worth checking out some companies like Polycom VVX Phones, which offer trade-in programs.
If you want to save some money on your shipping costs, and make your business much more green in the process, then you can always re-use various materials to create your own packaging. Some of the easiest ways to reuse and re-purpose materials include re-using non-labelled boxes, or using shredded, non-confidential documents as packing material rather than buying it. Simply holding onto styrofoam peanuts and similar materials when you get them in a delivery can also be a great way to save a lot of money in the long run. Think of any kind of materials that are always moving through your office, and any ways you can use them with greater efficiency.
Consider Gently Used
I’m sure that when you were first setting up your office you didn’t picture it as being full of “gently used” items, or anything that wasn’t fresh out of the office supply store. However, the market at large is bursting with all kinds of equipment and supplies which are perfect save for one little bit of damage, and much cheaper than their new equivalents. Do a quick search, and it won’t take you long to find a few gently used items which you can repaint, clean, or simply use as they are. Sites like Gumtree, Freecycle and Craigslist can be handy for this. As you can imagine, a lot of the office furniture that’s going for free will have a pretty big flaw or two in it. However, it won’t take you that long to find some that are completely fine, and which the owner just wants to get rid of as soon as possible. Buying gently used won’t get you the office of your dreams, but the savings are usually well worth it!
Do Your Homework
Like a lot of things in business, one of the best ways to find a great deal on office supplies is asking around other business owners about who they buy from, and the kinds of offers they’re able to get. This is especially true if you’re in your first year of business, and feel totally lost when it comes to cost-effective sourcing and how quickly you deplete your office supplies. Call up non-competitors in the same geographic area, and see if they’re willing to tell you how much of a given supply they use up in an average month, who they buy various supplies from, and the kinds of deals they’re able to get. For the best information, you’ll want to find businesses that are as similar as possible to yours, without being a direct competitor. Most of these will be more than happy to share what they’ve learned with you, and point you towards the most cost-effective vendors.
There are all kinds of outgoing costs that you’re going to need to accommodate for when you’re planning to start a business, and some are easier to streamline than others. However, if you’re still buying your recurring office supplies in a clumsy, non-cost-effective way, then you’re just taking on an unnecessary burden! Buying in bulk is one of the easiest and most obvious ways for a business owner to save heaps on the cost of their office supplies, yet far too many new entrepreneurs manage to neglect it! When it comes to things you can feasibly buy in bulk, and you’ll need for day-to-day operations indefinitely (pens, paper, paper clips, staples etc.) buying in bulk is a real no-brainer. Office supply stores will usually offer various seasonal deals, especially around the start of school terms. These stores can also be a very cost-effective option for refilling your company’s ink cartridges. Going back to my first point, you need to be a little careful about buying in bulk, and hold off until you’ve got a clear idea of how much of a given supply you use in the space of a month. Sure, you may get some great savings in terms of the cost per item, but there’s a chance of you taking a long time to use up everything that you’ve purchased. This means you could be cordoning off cash for, say, a year, that could have been useful in other areas!
Your office supplies may feel like a huge burden right now, but these simple tactics can give you some great wiggling room. Sure, they may sound too small to make any significant difference, but in the long run you’ll have saved a significant amount of money!
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