The end of the year is quickly approaching (gulp!), which means it’s a great time to think about next year’s business expenses. Here are a few areas you might review, whether you need to spend money or are looking to save some:
- Telephone – A lot has changed in the telecom world over the past few years. We’ve been in the process of reviewing our telephone system and we have learned a lot! VoIP systems have improved greatly – you can probably lower your bill *and* get a system that allows for a more flexible work environment. While you’re at it, see how many lines you are paying for. Do you really need a dedicated fax line? How about that inbound toll-free number?
- Internet – Slow Internet really doesn’t cut it anymore, especially as more and more software services move to the cloud. If you’re going to consider VoIP, make sure you have enough bandwidth to support it. Also, watch out for bandwidth ‘thieves’ – like streaming music and video.
- ATS / Technology Tools – Again, the landscape has changed greatly. If it’s been awhile since you’ve been in the market for new technology tools, maybe it’s worth another look. Cloud-based subscriptions seem to be the current trend in software – this *might* mean an increase in monthly operating costs (no more skipping upgrade cycles). The upside is that you get upgrades as and when they occur, and you’re always using the ‘current’ version. Next, are you *really* using the full feature set with LinkedIn Recruiter, or could you switch to a less expensive option? What about job boards, aggregators, and advertising sites? Is there an opportunity to share a package with another recruiting firm? While you’re looking at software and tools, take a look at your hardware too. There are great deals on laptops between now and the end of the year! Can you move your email to the cloud and get rid of your mail server? What about a cloud-based back-up system? Money spent on that is cheap compared to the misery (not to mention time & expense) of recovering data after a catastrophic failure.
- Website – If you haven’t spent any money on your website in the past 5 years, please, for the love of Pete, spend some next year! Invest in a fully mobilized site. Think about moving to a dynamic structure that allows you to easily edit and add content – instead of having to write constant small checks to your developer every time you need an update.
- Marketing – Your recruitment agency budget definitely needs to include some money for marketing. That could mean investing in a tool to make it easier to send newsletters. It could mean outside help for print or digital advertising. It definitely includes printing and postage. How about your letterhead and business cards? Consider hiring a dedicated resource for social media, blogging, and SEO. Be careful you don’t get suckered by a scummy SEO outfit promising page one search results or anything else that sounds too good to be true.
- Professional Development – Do you set aside money every year for your own professional development? What about your staff? There are a lot of affordable options for online and/or local educational opportunities. What is available through the Chamber of Commerce? Your local library? After that, look at memberships and professional associations. You may find a membership to a local chapter of a professional association offers educational, networking, and business development opportunities that provide value far in excess of the membership fee.
- Business Process Outsourcing – Do you know how much time you spend on non-revenue-producing activities? How much does that cost in lost productivity? Consider outsourcing some of your business processes – you know, those nagging tasks that need to be done, but don’t directly tie to revenue. Data entry, database maintenance, research, sourcing, and email marketing are a few ideas worth pondering. Yes, it may seem like this is an additional expense, but it is probably cheaper than doing it yourself. You’ll be able to devote more time to revenue-producing activities. A few more placements each year could easily cover the cost of outsourcing.
- Office Space – Are you still renting office space? Can you find less expensive space? Share with another firm? Relocate to a home office, and utilize flexible office space like Regus when you need to conduct interviews or have other in-person meetings. I’ve known solo-proprietor attorneys who share office space AND administrative support.
- Taxes and Insurance – Review your insurance policies. Make sure you are covered for everything need, but aren’t overpaying. Errors and omissions insurance is worth considering, along with business interruption coverage. Remember to set aside enough cash for those pesky quarterly tax estimates – late fees and other penalties can add up quickly!
Do you have any great budget tips you can share? Comment below!
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