Sole proprietors often pay top dollar for goods because they don't enjoy economies of scale. But that needn't be so. David Hanania, founder of the Home Business Institute (HBI), claims his White Plains, N.Y., organization can achieve the same bulk-buyer cost reductions as larger companies, thanks to the clout of more than 40,000 members.

HBI has struck deals with, among others, vendors of health insurance, phone services, and office equipment. While you could get many of those deals yourself (for example, $10 off a weekly rental from Avis), a few represent real savings. Example: 1,000 customized brochures at 50¢ each. For HBI's brochure describing membership benefits (fee: $49 a year), call 914-946-6600.

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