If you’re working from home, make saving money part of your business plan. Here are some tips to increase your cash flow, and improve your bottom line.
1. If you need a second phone line, consider VOIP (Voice Over IP) service. Providers like Skype and Vonage offer packages that are much cheaper than conventional phone plans, particularly for long distance calls.
2. Buy used office equipment when possible. Craigslist.com is a treasure trove of secondhand computers, printers, monitors, fax machines, file cabinets and more.
3. Stock up on office supplies during back-to-school sales. In late summer, you’ll find deep discounts on all those little things you need, like pens, staples, sticky notes, binders and paperclips.
4. Before you hit the “Print” button, consider if you really need a hard copy. Strive to be as “paperless” as possible, and print to PDF instead. You’ll use less paper, less toner, and have less need for binders, file folders and cabinets.
5. Don’t blow your budget on fancy furniture–especially if you rarely see clients in your home office. Make do with what you have, and invest the money in growing your business instead!
6. Use an internet fax service, and eliminate the costs of a fax machine, paper, toner and phone line.
7. Purchase telephone and high-speed internet services from the same company. A “bundled” deal typically costs much less than buying them individually.
8. Remember that the money you spend on your business is “real.” Just because you can expense something, doesn’t mean you should buy it!
9. Consult your account (or cozy up with the tax code) to determine which home office expenses you can deduct on your tax return.
10. Pay your bills online. You’ll save a fortune in postage costs, and reduce your need to buy checks from the bank (and envelopes in which to mail them).