As important as it is to bring money in on a regular basis, however, it's even more important to keep operating costs as low as possible. When you have less money going out each month, you'll more easily be able to manage things if you lose a client or someone is late in paying.

Some think frugality is a natural trait, but everyone can learn to cut corners. Here are ten great areas where you can trim business expenses and protect your hard-earned money each month.

Go Paperless

While many businesses have exchanged metal file cabinets for cloud storage, it can still be tempting to rely on paper-based processes. A tablet can replace the need to carry notepads to meetings, saving money over time. You can also use collaboration tools and slideshows instead of handing printouts out at meetings.

Use Free Apps

Almost every software-based tool you use has a free version available. From accounting and billing to calendars and email, you can find an app that will provide sufficient services for no charge. Conduct thorough research and find the best free app available for each of your business needs.

Network for Free

Networking is an essential part of growing a small business, but conferences can be expensive. Instead, be on the lookout for free or inexpensive networking opportunities that will achieve the same goal. LinkedIn and Twitter can help you connect with other professionals in your industry at no cost whatsoever. Locally, your Chamber of Commerce may have events designed to help you meet other business owners in your community.

Don't Hire, Outsource

A salaried employee is a commitment. You'll be responsible for paying a salary whether money is coming in or not. As a better alternative, consider outsourcing work to remote workers like virtual assistants. You can pay either by the task or by the hour and you'll have no commitment to keep sending work on a regular basis.

Split Costs

One way to offset the exorbitant costs associated with running a business is to share those expenses with another business owner. You could pitch in for a shared booth at a local networking event or share office space with one or more local entrepreneurs. You can share a conference room, break area, and even a receptionist.

Use Social Media

Why pay for advertising when you can reach out to customers at no cost whatsoever? Make the most of your social media marketing by promoting your products or services and interacting with customers.

Keep Your Office at Home

It can be beneficial to have office space, but don't rush into it too quickly. Keep your home office as long as you can. If working at home isn't an option, consider a less expensive alternative to leasing an office space. Coworking spaces offer desk space, conference rooms, and camaraderie with other local business owners.

Keep Travel to a Minimum

Travel costs can dramatically cut into a business's budget. While face-to-face meetings have their benefits, there are also many cases where business can be conducted through a videoconference or phone call. If you must travel, try to get the most out of each trip, meeting with multiple clients or colleagues while you're in town.

Barter

When you're trying to save money but still need services, bartering can be a great way to accomplish your goals. Offer your own products or services in exchange for space at a trade show booth or advertising space at a local event.

Expand Slowly

As you see money coming in, it can be tempting to try to grow your business, adding new stores or tacking new services on to the ones you already provide. Instead, take time to grow strategically to ensure you have the funds in place to support the expansion.

As a small business owner, when you save money, your business benefits. By making small changes and keeping expenses to a minimum, you'll protect your bottom line and avoid spending more than you have.

Published on: Sep 9, 2015