Small Business

Cost-cutting tips from experienced bankers

Four proven ways to pinch pennies when times are tight

Written by ProfitGuide

Between them, Scotiabank’s David Wilton and Kyle McNamara have more than 50 years’ experience as bankers. Now the top executives at Scotiabank’s small business banking division have co-authored a new book in which they share best practices they’ve observed in their extensive dealings with Canadian entrepreneurial firms.

Cost control is one of the areas they highlight in their book, Get Growing: Keys to Unlocking the Potential of Your Small Business. Wilton, Scotiabank’s director of small business banking, and McNamara, the division’s managing director, offer the following cost-saving tactics proven by their experience to be both practical and effective:

  1. Benchmark your costs against other companies in your sector: Leverage your professional advisors to identify cost-cutting opportunities. If your accountant has plenty of clients in your industry, ask him how your firm’s costs in specific areas compare with those of his other clients. Or, if you have a coach or mentor with experience in your sector, ask her to draw on that knowledge to help you identify ways to save money.
  2. Partner with non-competing businesses: Form buying groups with companies outside your sector to secure volume discounts. You can, for example, reduce your advertising costs by sharing ad space, mailing costs or creative with a business that has a related but non-competing product. To wit: a hotel teaming up with a local tourism attraction to run package advertising.
  3. Barter for services: Tap into the surprisingly fast-growing market in which businesses reduce their expenses by trading goods and services. You’ll find a long list of these groups online or in your local community. But remember that even though money isn’t changing hands, taxes are still payable.
  4. Tap into the advantages of membership: Contact local or national business associations, as well as ones specific to your industry, to ask about discounts they offer their members. Many associations offer access to member benefits that far outweigh the cost of joining the organization.
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