Operating expenses are the dripping faucets of small business: Although you might not notice them leaking at first, sustained dripping over time can turn even a very small volume of water into a very large amount of damage. Whether you're talking about an actual leak in your plumbing, or a financial leak in your business, it's therefore critical that you plug it.
"To stay competitive, you need to ensure that your essential expenditures are as low as possible. Having said that, many businesses struggle to reduce their overhead costs because everything feels essential," says Inc.com contributor Nina Ojeda. "Thankfully there are a number of ways that you can cut your company's overhead."
One of the most effective ways, according to Ojeda, is to encourage a thrifty culture.
"Many small business owners find that their employees just don't seem to understand the effect of wasteful habits on the overall performance of the company. You need to set an example and explain that every employee is responsible for the success of the business," Ojeda continues. "Once everybody on the team understands that they need to chip in, highlight practical changes that you can all make to reduce overspending and waste. Start small -- switch to a no-paper office setup if you haven't already done so. Encourage personal conversations instead of phone calls. Switch from electricity to solar power. Use Appear.in or a similar videoconferencing program so that you don't have to ask your team to fly long distances. And for everyone's benefit, keep meetings to core teams and as efficient as possible."