Small businesses are always trying to cut operating costs and find inexpensive marketing solutions. So here are a few suggestions on how to save money operating your small business, as well as ways of reducing costs of marketing camaigns.

Before we tell you about the 15 items on the list we compiled, we want you to consider where you are doing your business. One of the best ways of saving money is by locating your office space Toronto within a business centre (also known as an executive suites centre), where you can rent everything from serviced private office space, semi-private office space and shared office space, to co-working office space and virtual office space.

  1. Check out a VoIP telephone service. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocols) is basically a telephone service that uses the Internet rather than traditional telephone lines. Many businesses are opting for this cheaper alternative not only for the cost savings but the features VoIP puts into their hands that they would not normally look at because of the higher telecom cost implications.
  2. Stop paying for software or consider open-source software. There are plenty of trial downloads, freeware and limited versions of popular software products available. Open-source solutions are another free solution. Open-source software can be free or have associated costs that are a fraction of the price of commercial products while still offering all of the same features.
  3. Don’t forget to invest time on disaster-recovery planning. Yes, your time is money, but how much work can you afford to lose in the event of a disaster? This even means planning where your office will be “re-located” in the event of a problem.
  4. Do more online. Rather than making sales calls in person, why not make them online? Internet-based technologies like Web conferencing and tools like Skype, Microsoft Office Live Meeting and GoToMeeting are services that allow you to make online presentations to customers without leaving your office. You might find that you can get more sales calls done with less the expenses and more profitability.
  5. Why not try an online payment service. Services like PayPal may have a higher “per transaction” cost than a merchant account, but they will save you money on statement fees and monthly fees.
  6. Find the best business credit card deal. Whether it’s travel rewards, lower interest or even cash back based on spending, choosing the right business credit card can bring dividends that will save you money.
  7. Reduce weekly unneeded expenses. Consider what you are spending on lunch, for example. If you are spending $50 or $60 a week or more on coffee, lunches and snacks while at the office, you might want to consider bringing your lunch a few days each week for a big expense saving. When considering an office business centre, find out if they offer complimentary coffee and if they have a refrigerator to keep your lunch and other snacks in. Just saving $5 each weekday on your latte and muffin, will yield a $1,300 annual savings – maybe enough to pay for one or two months’ rent in your serivced office space.
  8. Why did you pay retail? Buy wholesale, join a price club like Costco or check out the local deals on classified sites like Kijiji or Craigslist. You can save you a great deal on office products and other business essentials on websites like RedFlagDeals.
  9. Join trade associations. You will not only get industry-specific information, advice and potential sales opportunities, but you will often find they offer other member benefits. Trade associations often create deals with other businesses that only their members are offered. Even when looking for car insurance, a trade association may have a deal with an insurance broker that offers competitive insurance rates to members as part of a group.
  10. Develop an online e-newsletter. This is a great way to market to your previously acquired customers and keeping them in the loop, rather than creating new, direct-marketing campaigns to market to the already converted.
  11. Create a blog on your website. You can communicate with your customers about new products or services, review your current offerings and offer free tips on ways of using your product or service. Blogs are a great way to keep current customers engaged and new potential customers informed.
  12. Create an online video for YouTube. YouTube is a great way for you to get your message out. But unlike television commercials, the delivery is free. You can even create your own channel and engage your audience on a regular basis.
  13. Join online forums and message boards. You can interact with potential clients and customers for free on these sites where they are already looking for information related to the products or services you may sell.
  14. Have your clients promote you. Do not be afraid to clients to write a testimonial on your website or on your social media platforms like Google Plus business pages. You might even offer them a referral reward for telling others about your products or services. It is a lot cheaper than broadcast or print advertising.
  15. Become a guest speaker. You can accomplish this by speaking to community groups or teaching an introductory business course about your industry or product type. Think of these appearances as free infomercials that will help establish you as an expert and help you reach new potential customers.

In an upcoming blog, we are going to talk about the whole cost of having a downtown Toronto office space, including the costs placed on your clients when they visit your office. Whether you are looking for office space for lease Toronto in a raw space or office space for rent Toronto in an office business centre, be sure to not only find the best location, but also a location that is easy for your clients to get to. You don’t want them to spend too much money on parking or wasting valuable time fighting downtown traffic.