Chart Expenses to Find Ways to Save

You can enlist an outside company to audit your expenses, such as phone costs. But if you personally chart costs for everything, you'll maintain a better pulse on your business while saving costs of those auditors.

Even with a minimal level of bookkeeping, you probably already see where your big expenses originate. But you might not have cast a cost-cutting eye over those spreadsheets before. Look at every single expense, and devise ways to save on each. A few percent here and there can add up.

For example, you could watch energy costs, saving money by turning down thermostats at night or turning them off in storage rooms. You could negotiate lower insurance premiums and other service costs. Arm yourself with quotes from competing companies, and threaten to switch.

Even offer employees incentives to come up with their own cost-saving methods. Reward them with a bonus of a percentage of the overall company savings.

Then keep tracking the results, too, and show them off when appropriate. Your company will look frugal and healthier to investors. Even clients will appreciate the move, preferring to establish contact with a stable business than a company that seems likely to vanish.

Zack Stern often contributes to PC World and other technology publications.

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