Five Expenses to Cut During Tough Times
If revenue hasn’t come back as fast as you expected it to, it may be time to review your budget and determine if some planned expenses can be cut. Here are five places to look to do just that.
Since most events have been moved online or cancelled altogether, you can likely redirect any money you’ve budgeted for travel this year to other more urgent expenses. And if you have prepaid these items, you may be able to get a refund. Hotels have flexible refunds up to the date of the stay unless you took a prepaid deal. And airlines have begrudgingly provided refunds, although in some cases, it did take time to get them.
Now that so many employees are familiar with Zoom and other videoconferencing tools, you may want to rethink any future travel requirements that could easily be accomplished virtually with a much lower budget.
While it’s never a good idea to cut training, there may be ways to deliver it more affordably. You may be able to purchase subscriptions to online courses that include an “all-you-can-eat” component to them. A good example is Lynda.com, now owned by LinkedIn.
Any unnecessary training that can be delayed is another way to free up funds.
3. Dues and Subscriptions
If money is tight, evaluating your memberships is one area where you may be able to free up money. Especially since many in-person events have been cancelled, this might be a good time cancel any renewals you are not able to fully utilize.
Subscriptions are also something you can review. Can any of these be cancelled to free up cash? You can always re-subscribe when things get better.
4. Employee Perks
If you provide your employees with benefits and times are extremely lean, cutting them is an option to keep from laying off workers. Some of the options might be:
- Eliminating perks like movie day, free car washes, or onsite chair massages
- Stopping coverage of paid volunteer hours
- Cutting education expenses if you are paying college tuition for some employees
- Cancelling employees’ memberships and subscriptions as described above
- Slashing training budgets as described above
- Converting event attendance and sales meetings to online versions
- Disallowing overtime work
- Holding off on employee bonuses
- Reducing vacation or holiday pay
- Cutting down on health care options such as vision and dental plans
- Reducing 401(k) matches on a temporary basis (watch out for plan requirements, though)
- Cutting regular hours
All of these are steps you can take to avoid having to reduce your workforce.
One painful place to look for more cash is your workforce. If work has slowed due to demand, you can raise cash by furloughing or laying off workers. Unfortunately, many businesses have already had to do this.
By looking deeply at all of your business expenses, you can find places to cut spending so that you will be in a better position for the future.