According to a recent Top 10 small business trends report published by USA Today, some business are focusing on offering bargains to appeal to consumers with tight budgets. Some businesses are letting full-time employees go and hiring part-time help and independent contractors, while others are saddling full-time workers with less pay/raises and more responsibility.
How is your business faring in this economy? Have you had to cut costs and/or staff? Have you asked your staff to take on more responsibility? Are you cutting benefits to save money? Are you cautious about expanding your business? Have you figured out a way to make the economy work for your business instead of against it?
Talk about what you're doing to survive and perhaps even thrive in this economy.
I'm being careful about my business expenses and especially travel. Fuel, tolls, wear and tear can really add up!
I fax a lot rather than second day mail or overnight. Saves money in postage.
Having a home office makes things a little easier because I can get dual use out of my home/office line. I have Verizon FiOS so my connection speed is great, almost as if I were in an office.
I am using equipment longer too. Normall I would buy a mid-price laptop and get a few years' use out of it, but I'm going on year 4 with the one I have right now. I have to be careful to make sure I'm not using outdated equipment. When I do buy something major, I look for discounts online, check my business credit cards to see who offers an extended warranty, and who offers cash back on purchased. There are almost always ways to save $$.
I think the key is just watching what I spend, being smart about where I can save, and looking for great deals and discounts. I always use sites like ebates if I shop for office supplies online because I get cash back. Usually office supply stores have coupons online and they also ship orders free with a minimum purchase. Added bonus: saving money on fuel!
Another thing I did was change health insurance companies, being a small business owner I have to foot the entire premium and I don't get the benefits the big corporations do. Through ehealthinsurance.com I was able to compare plans and policies and get a decent policy for about the same price as I was paying for my prior policy, only this policy has much better coverage and a lot lower deductible.
Lastly, I use a good CPA. I can't tell you how much I save in taxes!