Whether you are open for business or your doors are still closed, saving money is always on your mind. We haven’t hit a new normal yet, we are still in the throes of the “now normal”, where things change daily and will for a while. Learning to pivot is critical. Here are some ideas to help keep on track, cut costs, and increase your bottom line:
1. Talk to your landlord
Until business picks up, rent will continue to be an issue. If you haven’t yet, talk with your landlord to determine if a rent reduction is possible.
Linda Flaherty, owner of two Once Upon a Time upscale children’s boutiques in Alabama, contacted both of her landlords. One waived the rent for a month, a savings of $1000. The other deferred half the rent for one month, the difference to be paid by the end of the year; it’s not perfect but it gave her some breathing room. Here’s the thing: Nothing will happen unless you ask.
2. Go the DIY route whenever possible
Before she was able to reopen her stores, Linda furloughed all employees and ran the business herself. This equaled a $4500 per week savings for six weeks.
Mike Simon owns The Little Traveler, a store within a sprawling mansion of sorts in Geneva, Illinois that takes you “around the world in 38 rooms.” The store is now closed but when it’s operational, shoppers arrive by the busload to spend the day exploring its treasures and enjoying lunch in the Atrium Café. It takes a lot of hands to run a store of this size but lately Mike has been on his own.
“I have used this time to keep our name out in front of the customer via social media and videos without paying for ads. We quickly built an online store and have had good initial results from it. With almost all of our people on furlough, I’m doing the picking, packing and shipping, so I’m learning a lot about how things like product positioning and timing of Facebook posts and email blasts influences sales. It’s fun to experiment like this but I have never worked harder in my life.”
3. Put your merchandise out there
Get product out of the stockroom and onto the sales floor – that’s cash sitting on those dusty shelves. Merchandise, unlike fine wine, does not get better over time. If it’s in season and saleable list it on your website or include it in your Facebook Live sales events. If it’s old and has lost its appeal, mark it down, and if it’s too far past its sell point donate it and take the tax write off. Think about what that old product is costing you each month. Move it out.
4. Be proactive with your orders and supplier relations
Push back ship dates wherever you can, cancel shipments for items that will be past their sell date once you reopen, and ask vendors if it’s possible to return any unsold goods. Again, be proactive – your vendors are your partners and will try to help when they can.
If you don’t already, add “Start Ship”, “Complete By”, and “Cancel If Not Shipped By” dates on every order you write. Some vendors will give you a percentage off late goods if you decide to keep them.
5. Shop your associations
Many trade associations offer special member discounts on everything from cleaning and office supplies to email marketing to gas and everything in between. Visit the “members only” section to see what you’ve been missing.
6. Lower your credit card interest
Sort through the piles of pre-approved credit card offers you receive and look for one that offers a lower interest rate than what you are currently paying. Call your current company, tell them you’ve received a lower rate offer, and ask for a rate reduction. If they are eager to keep your business, they will likely say yes. Then smile and ask them to waive the annual fee.
7. Optimize your credit card processing
Cash used to be king but during a pandemic no one wants to handle it. Now it’s all about credit cards, debit cards and contactless payment. Credit card processing fees can add up quickly so it makes sense to shop around for a processor that best fits your needs.
Instead of a myriad of confusing fees, Payment Depotcharges a monthly membership fee and gives you access to direct wholesale rates for all your card transactions, putting more money in your pocket. SwipeSimple, Payment Depot’s contactless payment app allows you to accept payments on almost any iOS or Android mobile device without any physical contact. It’s perfect for keeping shoppers and employees safe.
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10 Easy Ways to Save on Business Expenses During the COVID-19 Pandemic, written by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender, originally appeared on the Payment Depot blog. Payment Depot brings transparency to the world of credit card processing and works with merchants in finding the best deal. Connect with Payment Depot to talk about how you can lower your payment processing costs.