Small businesses are more popular than ever, but you know what else is popular? An uncertain economy. Shocking, right? With entrepreneurs trying to weather the storm of owning a new business, battling rivals, and making sure all their checks clear, cutting costs where they can is vital.

reducing cost

No need to sell the car or mortgage the house; you can cut costs for your business in four straight-forward ways:

1. Outsource

– Turn to freelancers

Maybe you need more man-power for a new project, or maybe paying for employees is just becoming too strenuous. Freelancers offer you a middle ground with some added bonuses. Usually these lone professional rangers have done a number of jobs in a number of fields, giving them perspective that you wouldn’t find with regular nine-to-five workers. As a bonus, their flexible hours work great for tight deadlines or unusual turnarounds, and in exchange for the leash of a corporation being taken off, many are able to offer a reduced rate for their services. Why not hire a band of mercenaries over a costly (and prone to complaining) army?

– Outsource manufacturing

When your business is suffering to manufacture certain products, why not get someone to do it for you? By outsourcing the production of certain things within your business, you can save yourself the money of paying a professional, paying for the materials, and paying for the tools needed to create what you need. Outsourcing throws this all into one cost-effective package and takes a weight off your shoulders, allowing you to get back to what matters rather than struggling with production like a blind person with IKEA furniture.

2. Go Digital

– Have a virtual office

We may not be to flying cars or silver suits as a fashion statement yet, but the world today is wrapped in Sci-fi. If you’re looking to save on costs as well as time, it’s the perfect opportunity to take your business into the internet age by having a virtual office. No, unfortunately this doesn’t involve holograms or personal AIs that schedule your meetings (yet), but it means having employees work remotely, checking in online, submitting work via email or the cloud, and interacting via chat rooms rather than at the water cooler. This saves you the cost of renting an office, paying utility bills, and even boosts the speed and quality of the work.

– Turn to the cloud

There’s something satisfying about accessing all your work from a library computer when your Wi-Fi is down, and it’s satisfying to your wallet too. By turning away from traditional servers and placing everything on the cloud, you’re cutting down on space, up-keep prices, and boosting the efficiency of everything – saving as well as making you money.

– Have a virtual address

Depending on your type of business, going fully digital may not be an option. Having a physical address boosts professionalism, and giving up your own personal one as an alternative leaves room for sudden “drop ins” that involve money and professionalism while you’re currently in a Netflix and pajama mood. A virtual address, however, lets you keep your lazy afternoons while still giving the business world a place to send your mail and meet you for conferences, saving you the cost of a real office.

3. Use Your Budget to Your Advantage

– Cut the unnecessary

When you start reviewing your budget, you probably see it as a time-for-comfort-food ordeal rather than an opportunity, but it’s quite the opposite. Once you’ve worked up the courage to put down the Rocky-Road, you can review what expenses you’ve had throughout the year and what was really important. With these new insights, you can clearly see what can be cut and what should stay, letting you save money in the good old fashion way – by not spending it.

– Reallocate funds to make more money

Maybe there isn’t a lot of “unnecessary” to be cut from your expenses, but that doesn’t mean dollar amounts can’t be shifted around. Now that you know what’s really important and what’s not, you can save yourself money by reallocating funds to more important projects and divisions. Maybe your online marketing efforts were useful but not as useful as word-of-mouth; this means you can devote funds to business cards, better customer service, and up-scaling the quality of your product.

4. Use Credit to Your Advantage

– Make rewarding investments

Credit cards are dangerous, no doubt about it, but they exist and are so well-known because the service they offer is rewarding. While it’s important not to go on a shopping spree and furnish your brick-and-mortar office with all the latest desks, chairs, and cubicles just to boost employee morale, you can make a more conservative choice with your credit card and invest in something that will see a real return. This can mean using your card to actually buy the equipment needed for upgrading to the cloud, or renting a temporary conference room to host a large and important meeting. Having the cash now can let you cash in on some great opportunities which will pay off in the long-run.

– Cash in on bonus rewards

Frequent flyer miles or special redeemable points are there for a reason; they’re a reward and you can use this to your advantage. If you have to travel often, by having a credit card that offers you rewards, you can gain extra advantages to redeem later. By using the same hotel chain when you go abroad, you can earn yourself free stays or at least a lower price in the future, all which can lower the business costs of doing work on the go.

Small businesses have it hard, with money constantly standing as the barrier between failure and success. When you need to cut costs, looking at these four different ways can give you the tools and the direction you need to save money and even fill your wallet.