Sometime it pays to leave no stone unturned when you are trying to find ways to preserve cash – especially with the stiff challenges facing so many small and mid-sized businesses in the current downturn.
Robert Chalfin, Wharton lecturer, offers the following tips you may not have considered:
• Renegotiate with advertisers. Magazines and newspapers in which you advertise might have lower circulation than when you signed on. That means lower rates for advertisers. It won’t hurt to ask.
• Call your vendors. Get competing bids and negotiate with your existing suppliers. “Consider what you can outsource and conversely bring in-house,” says Chalfin. “A lot of small businesses are now outsourcing payroll, bulk mailings, PR and HR.”
• Make it easier for customers to pay. When you bill, says Chalfin, “Include an envelope and a copy of the invoice for your customers to return with their payments. Accept credit cards. Offer to set up automatic debits with the customer’s credit card or bank account.”
• Borrow rather than finance. “Consider a bank loan for items such as equipment purchases instead of financing them with the company that sells you the equipment.” In many cases, you can get a better rate from the bank.
• Reduce overnight delivery services whenever possible. Email attachments, U.S. Mail, or Second day deliver can usually suffice and result in huge savings. Depending on your volume you may be able to negotiate lower prices with the delivery services as well.
• Renegotiate banking and credit card fees. “Talk to your credit card provider,” says Chalfin. Negotiate a lower interest rate as well as a discounted fee when customers pay with credit cards. “Negotiate with your bank,” offers Chalfin. “You may be able to consolidate accounts, lower interest rates, and eliminate fees on loans and accounts.
Chalfin is author of Selling Your IT Business: Valuation, Finding the Right Buyer, and Negotiating the Deal (Wiley & Sons, Inc.).