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Saturday September 23rd 2017

Seven Places to Cut Business Expenses

Small Business

As we slowly climb out of the economic recession, it’s a good idea to continue the money-saving habits you developed during the crisis and apply the same principles to your business. A small business has fewer resources than a larger company and must find cost efficient ways to run things smoothly and keep them running in the future. Economic downturns run in cycles, so tightening you belt now will help you prepare for the next slump. In times like these, it’s not the best, most innovative or even the smartest business that succeeds. The one that succeeds is the one left standing when a bad economy starts putting others out of business. Think Bubba-Gump Shrimp.

Rent

Let’s begin with your overall expenses, or the overhead of your company. You could think about sub-letting your office space to help pay the rent. A virtual business can be run right out of your home, eliminating the cost of office space.

Employees

Speaking of employees, have you thought about saving on the cost of employee benefits by hiring freelance contractors instead?  Just be very careful if you head down this road. Unemployment Insurance laws in many states have a very broad definition of “employee.”

If you tell your workers what hours to work, where to do the work or prevent them from disclosing information about the assignment to others working under them, you could be putting your freelancers into the state’s definition of “employee.” Fines on such a misstep have put some companies out of business.

Labor and Benefits

If you are not comfortable taking on freelance help, then it may be time to consider ways to cut employee costs without damaging the lives of your employees too much. Maybe a four-day workweek would help. This could save you an entire day of energy expenses and a day of wages. It will require more productivity from your workers, so find affordable ways to compensate for the reduction. Consider a weekly hour-long outdoor excursion or perhaps a once a month day trip that employees can help plan. They will be more productive and less resentful of the pay cut.

Be sure to re-examine your employee benefits package every year and research potentially cheaper insurance policies. It is time to increase the employee contribution to the plan? Is there a cheaper plan with an employee deductible? There are many insurance options available to help you save. Explore them.

Energy

Most business owners are busy running the enterprise and fail to notice wasted energy. But when you begin looking at those mundane operations, you may notice potential improvements like sharing the printers between employees, installing movement sensors to make sure the lights are off when you are not using them, switching to recycled printer cartridges, or using laptop computers in the workplace. Just switching to laptops saves 90% of your computer energy consumption.

Technology

It takes months to get used to new technoologies, which is why many business owners are reluctant to make changes. But just think of the savings you could realize by switching to VoIP. Such services often include fax sending and other useful tools that can save your business a bundle on telecommunications. Many services now offer a server-based PBX systems that work just like the tradition phone services from a user’s perspective. Your front desk clerk may not even notice the difference!

And what about using Internet technology to replace in person meetings? Simply by holding meetings online via video conference or audio conference saves tens of thousands per year in travel costs for many small businesses.

Advertising

Saving money on business-related costs can be found most anywhere…even in your advertising budget. Spreading the word about your company and its products is a costly investment that can be easily reduced. In fact, you are reading this post on the medium that can do more for your business on a small budget than any other advertising medium: the Internet! You can also begin using low cost online printing services and distributing your advertising materials locally at small businesses. A little leg work goes a long way.

Other Resources

In order to make your business ends meet, you need to think outside the box. Sometimes, it might serve you best to consider all avenues where you can cut costs and stretch your budget. If you want to raise capital, it can’t hurt to ask employees for ideas through a company contest. Maybe they can offer money-saving ideas. Being closer to the action, your employees will be more creative at finding solutions. The solutions are there, you just need to find them.


Saving Money on Disability Insurance

Maybe you or someone you know is disabled and looking for a way to save money on disability insurance. If this is you, then there are many things to consider when looking at the different types of insurance. There are the plans that are right for you and your disability, as well as what your level and function is – (meaning which type of insurance is best suited for you – for example), and whether or not it’s going to be long or short term. Are you still going to be able to work in your career or not?

Because purchasing disability coverage/insurance is most often a more important element then getting life insurance is, you need to know the facts involved so that you can make the right decision. There are numerous insurance policies out there and knowing which ones to choose from can help clear up some of these questions for you. We’d now like to explain four of the more prevalent types of disability insurance to you.

The first one is long-term disability coverage. This is the type of insurance set up to protect you against the loss of your salary, whether it is weekly or bimonthly. The long-term disability plan usually kicks in after you’ve missed work because of a short-term disability absence or about a six-month period. The coverage plan explained here is open to you, although it is at a reduced percentage of what your normal income is, and generally is in the 80 to 90% bracket.

Our second type of disability coverage is known as short-term disability insurance. This type of insurance will protect you against your loss of salary for the 3 to 6 months period of time. Your employer will carry this plan if they have that type of insurance and it will be classified in a group policy. The coverage that you get here is designed for a short-term stoppage of income flow that will otherwise be considered a severe financial hardship for you or your family. Checking with your employer’s insurance policy will be the key for determining the percentage of income, or lost wages, that you will be able to receive.

Coming up in our third position of disability insurance is the group long-term disability coverage. The money that you will be able to save here is geared at the group dynamic. One of the sticking points that you may encounter here is; if a member in your group ceases employment with the company, then termination of coverage will occur.

Rounding out our prevalent types of disability insurance is the granddaddy of them all — the Social Security disability payment plan. This type of insurance plan is set up for individuals experiencing a life changing disability and who are otherwise not able to continue working at all. Of course, this will not come out of your insurance plan with your employer, rather from the federal level of Social Security. To be eligible for this plan will mean that you’re unable to work for least a full year. In lieu of the fact that this type of insurance doesn’t consider your lost income as a factor, it will set you up for regularly scheduled disability payments.

In order to make one of the most important decisions about disability insurance coverage, you need to be aware of the many factors involved in purchasing the right plan. Because an insurance plan is comprised of both; the nature of the plan being purchased, and the actual cost of the insurance, you need to make sure and highlight your needs with the insurance advisor. Looking at the amount of income that you will be paying out, in collaboration with your current monthly expenses, is another surefire way to determine if this plan is economical enough for you.

A critical factor for you to evaluate is the schedule in which your premium payments are made. Should I make the payment in monthly, quarterly (every three months), or if my monetary schedule allows, even annually making large insurance plan payments? The choice of course up to you, yet it is a good idea consider all of your needs accordingly. For standard term insurance policyholders, the premium payments that you will make are already on a set schedule. Keeping this in mind, payments will increase as you get older and even if your disability is one that is progressively getting worse.

What is going to be the length of the disability? Variations in plans are available to you; whether or not you need coverage for the remainder of your life, or for just a few years until you get back up on your feet again. A majority of the time, insurance policy terms will be set up for your anticipated retirement age. If this is the case for you, it is a good idea for you to include in your thoughts: a plan for your kid’s college expenses, any vacation plans you might have in store for your retirement years, and/or paying off the mortgage entirely on your house.