Small Business Owners: Stop Spending Money on Stupid Stuff Just Because You Can

Posted by Stephanie Valentine on October 27, 2009 in Small Business Management |

As the economy slides headlong into the dumper, it amazes me to watch small business owners continue to spend money on stupid stuff … just because they can or just because they always have. I can make this statement with impunity because I’m one of them!

What Constitutes “Stupid Stuff” in a Cash-Poor Economy?

So let me clarify what I mean by “stupid stuff.” Stupid stuff equals goods and services that your small business used to buy but, in today’s economy, which it can no longer afford.

I’ve recently gone through my small business expenditures and come up with a list of “stupid stuff” that my small business is no longer going to buy. I’ve listed some examples below. It is by no means a complete list, nor is in prioritized order, but it does cover a wide gamut of “stuff” just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. Stupid stuff for my small business includes:

– extravagant holiday gifts for business partners
– fancy business cards
– business services that don’t come with a full estimate or fixed rate
– accounting and other services that could be had for less or for barter
– pretty pens (a weakness of mine)
– impulse buys (who needs a third Palm Pilot?)
– 80% of my business meetings over coffee or lunch (I can meet and not eat)
– colored anything just because they are prettier than white (file folders, for instance)
– office munchies for me and the crew

As I said this list isn’t comprehensive, but it does give you and idea of how my small business could save some cash in this economy. On the other hand, I am increasing small business expenditures in certain departments, despite the economy.

What Isn’t “Stupid Stuff” in This Economy?
Just because I am reducing small business expenses in some areas does not mean that my small business does not spend money on anything. In fact, I have increased expenditures in certain areas of my small business. These include:

– online courses in online marketing
– a small business spending savvy course
– backup equipment to safeguard business data
– software to improve the efficiency and data analysis for my marketing efforts

The ruler by which I measure whether my small business spending is “stupid or savvy” is whether it ultimately goes toward the bottom line. A third electronic gadget, while pink and very pretty, does not qualify. A software package that improves the “white hat” quality of my online marketing efforts definitely qualifies. See the difference?

If you have any guidelines of your own for small business spending which differentiate between stupid and savvy, I’d love to hear about them. Leave me a comment and let me know!

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