I have been running a small business for over a decade and the main reason why I am still around is because my ability to make my business profitable. I was able to use many money saving business ideas over the last decade that I want to also share with you.
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Did you know that 20% of new business fail within the first year?
30% in the second year
and almost 40% after 3 years!
By the 5th year, almost 50% of business FAIL!
Why do small businesses fail? Because they aren’t making enough money. Its as simple as that. However, the solution may not be that simple.
So I want to help you by going over my
TOP 19 Money Saving Business Ideas
that you MUST try for your business to survive.
1. Buy Your Supplies in Bulk
Whether it is shipping supplies, packaging supplies or product material costs, buying a larger quantity will help save you in the long run.
Here are a few ways to help you get started with this:
- Make a list of all the supplies you purchase AND what website/ vendor your purchase it from
- Visit each of those websites and try to change the quantity to see if the cost per unit drops significantly
- If you want to purchase a much larger amount of supplies, I would recommend calling the vendor to ask for a bulk discount (more about this later)
- You can also shop around with your supply ID/ ITEM number to find if you can purchase that item in bulk for a cheaper price elsewhere.
2. Reduce Your Ad Spend
A huge expense for your business can be running Etsy and Amazon ads. If you aren’t super careful, you can spend way more money that your profit margin allows.
- Set up google calendar to remind you weekly to check ad campaigns (or as often as you like)
- Check what your current campaigns are spending now compared to the revenue they bring in. If they are above 20% then its time to take some action
- Break down what product listings are spending the most money and giving you the lowest return
- Then adjust bid amount or turn off that ad because it is just not worth the sale
3. Lower Payroll Costs
Is everyone on your team producing at their highest productivity potential? If not, its time to go over expectations. Its also important that everyone on the team is focused on working on current orders OR bringing in more money to the business PERIOD.
- Get a list of all your employees and their role
- Is everyone’s role absolutely necessary to keep the business running? Make sure everyone’s role is either involved in keeping the business running (such as filling orders) or bringing in more business.
- Is everyone working at their fullest potential? This may involve you setting productivity goals so there is no wasted payroll time. For a small business, payroll can be very costly and if someone can do the job in 4 hours, but another person can do it in 8 hours, then its time to retrain the person who takes 8 hours to finish the same job – this is costing you MONEY!
4. Get Rid of Product Packaging/Inserts That DO NOT Make a Difference
If you are spending money on branding and other things that are outside what the customer paid for, its time to reassess those costs.
- If you include any packaging inserts that go with the product, you may want to cut down on those IF they do not directly impact the customers experience or lead to more sales
- Or go with a lower cost solution such as vistaprint.com for the packaging inserts that you do need
- If you use stickers for your brand packaging, I would recommend printing your own. I recommend the following sticker labels and printer:
5. Use a Credit Card for ALL Business Purchases and Expenses
When you are making purchases for your business, its smart to earn rewards or cash back.
- Do research on the best credit card based on the benefits you want
- I use a cash back card like this one and use the 1.5% cash back option
- DO NOT pay in payments – this will add up your interest costs. So ALWAYS pay in full
6. Increase Your Prices to Make More Profit
This seems simple enough and is not exactly a money saving business idea but it can be hard for handmade sellers to do since they believe that raising prices may discourage buyers from purchasing.
Here are my recommendations:
- Do research on the market for your product type and see what is the average cost for a similar product AND the highest cost for a product like yours. I recommend using my favorite tool to quickly give you the average and high cost info of your market.
7. Reduce Your Waste and Reuse
Depending on the product you create, you may have a lot of waste, whether it is from the product you create of office supplies you are constantly using.
- Take your paper trash and put it through a shredder like this one to then use the waste as packaging cushion for an eco friendly option.
8. Shop Around For The BEST Price
As I mentioned before, buying in bulk can save you money on supplies or your cost of goods sold, but you also may want to consider sourcing other vendors who carry the exact same or similar product.
- Do a simple google search for the product item # or name to find several companies who offer it.
- Calculate the final total divided by the number of units you receive because its important to do the math for cost per unit (this includes adding in the cost of shipping and taxes)
- If you feel like the amount of units you are buying is very high, I would suggest calling these vendors and asking them for the best price they can offer. Once they give you that price, you can then say, XYZ company is giving it to me for xx cents per unit, to be transparent, I’m looking to beat that price, are you able to do that?”
- Continue that process until you have found the best price.
- Now not only do you have the best price available for your supplies, you also have a list of vendors who also sell it just incase your current vendor has supply issues.
- Don’t forget to find similar alternatives that may cost you less that do not provide a noticeable difference to the customer.
9. Use USPS.com Boxes and Packaging When it Makes Sense
Did you know that you can get some shipping supplies for free?
- Check out USPS.com in the FREE shipping supplies section
- Remember to use their supplies as they intended. So do not use the free priority mail boxes to ship first class mail.
10. Stop Buying Useless Office Supplies
I am not a stranger to purchasing supplies for the office that just make me happy, such as;
- Cute pens
- cute desk accessories
- productivity timer
- and more!
I think while some of these fun office supplies have their place and can provide a lot of value in terms of productivity, if you are operating on slim margins, your biggest priority is to main your business sustainable with higher profit margins
11. Reusable Office Supply Items
There are tons of office supplies that can have a longer life span and save you money in the long run. Here is an example:
- If you go through tons of post it notes like we do in this office, consider getting reusable ones so you don’t continue to waste money buy buying throughout the year
12. Cancel your Bookkeeping Software
Bookkeeping software can add up over the year and is a money saving business idea enemy, so if you aren’t busy in your online shop as much as you want to be, I would recommend doing your bookkeeping manually.
- I HIGHLY recommend this worksheet I personally use from Paper + Spark. When I tell you that she has the BEST tutorials on how to use the worksheet – I MEAN IT! You won’t regret it!
- Check out my post about how to do bookkeeping for small business – you will absolutely love it!
[RELATED POST: How to Do Bookkeeping for Small Businesses]
13. DO NOT PAY for a Service UNLESS You Can Track Sales That it Has Brought In
If you currently pay for outside services that help you with your business, its time to cancel them if they do not bring you income. Here are a few examples of costs you may be incurring
- Advertising Manager
- Social Media Manager
- Payroll services
Many of these can either be done yourself OR is not worth the money if they aren’t bringing in a consistent stream of sales.
14. Call Your Vendors and Ask for a Discount
I mentioned this earlier but its wroth mentioning again because this has saved me so much money….
- Call each one of your vendors
- With the current price you pay, at hand, be prepared to ask them if they are able to drop that price down if they want to keep your business
- If that doesn’t work, then negotiate the price based on possibly purchasing more.
15. Buy USED Assets
This money saving business idea is an absolute must because larger purchases can add up. I do this often for larger purchases but buying anything in new condition can be unnecessarily costly, so here are my recommendations
- Search Ebay.com for your larger asset purchases such as office equipment, furniture, etc..,
- Go to your local Facebook marketplaces to see if you can find equipment that you need
- Go to close out sales in your area
16. Track Everything
Tax season comes once a year but it is a very important time of year. If you do not properly record everything, you may be missing out on tons of tax write offs which translates to big $$$ savings.
- Get yourself a tax attorney that is specialized in small businesses
- If getting your own tax attorney is not in your budget, I would HIGHLY recommend learning as much as you can about small business taxes and the write offs that will work for your business type. I highly recommend this book on tax write offs, that has great Amazon reviews from other small business sellers.
- Make sure you have good bookkeeping practices – this will save you money in the long run!
[RELATED POST: How to Do Bookkeeping for Small Businesses]
17. Create a HIGH Margin, High Demand Product Line
Again, not exactly money saving business idea but as mentioned above increasing your prices can drastically help your profit margins. However, whether you take that advice or not, it still may be in your best interest to create a product line that falls within your niche and that has a higher profit margin that your base product line. If the demand is high enough, it can help drastically increase your overall profit margin percentage.
- I would first recommend searching for your product type in Etsy or Amazon search, by only using ONE keyword phrase.
- Then scan through the pages to look for the best sellers
- Identify what niche that product is in
- Do additional research within that niche to help you come up with design ideas for that niche
- Start creating that product line
This is easier said than done because everyone can have ideas but executing them properly is KEY! Make sure to read my post on creating successful product lines to help you with this further
18. Call Companies to Reduce Monthly Bills or SWITCH!
- Think about all the expenses you have monthly to keep your business running and get a list of them
- Call each of them to ask how you can lower your bill. Many times they do offer more cost effective plans to help save people money instead of them losing a customer
- If they do not offer any savings, you can easily find a better service provider that can usually save you money
- Consider reducing your phone bills, electricity, etc.., Because I run my business from my home, many of these bills start to add up for me.
19. Cancel Your Monthly/Annual Subscriptions
Look over your credit card statement for your business and review the monthly subscriptions that you absolutely NEED to have. DO NOT cancel the subscriptions that bring value to your business Some of your monthly subscriptions can include:
- Start first with finding all your subscriptions from your bank statement. Put a google calendar reminder for the ones you plan to keep so you know when they renew. Have it remind you at least 30 days in advance so you can then determine again, if you want to keep that subscription.
- SEO research tools. I use Marmalead and merchant words and ALWAYS use them so I personally wouldn’t cancel them.
- Website hosting
- Etsy monthly subscription – complete waste of money
There you have it! I hope this list of money saving business ideas will help your business becomes more profitable.