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American businesses are struggling. Whether small, medium, or large businesses are feeling the pinch of the economy. Businesses that prepared for times like these have survived. Businesses that did not prepare and did not make immediate adjustments as the economy tanked are long gone. If you are a business owner you need a strategic plan to survive and stay sustainable. That means there are no "sacred cows." Everything is open to being cut back on, eliminated, or finding an alternative way to do it.

Unfortunately, when times are hard you have to look at every position to determine their viability. Solution: have employees track their daily activity for one month. This way you will see in black and white if they have enough work to do each day. You cannot afford slackers, time wasters, or someone sitting around doing nothing.  

Do you have too much office space for the number of employees? Do customers come into your office? Do you need all of the office space that you are leasing each month? If not, move to a smaller and cheaper location. If you do not want to move, sub-lease some of your office space to bring in extra revenue. Scale back further and work from your home if possible.

Do not be wasteful by leaving on lights in unused offices, bathrooms, copy rooms, and break rooms. Consider the amount of your utilities and how it eats into your profits. Turn off the lights if they are not necessary, and make sure your employees know to do the same.

Office Supplies
Put more controls in place regarding the process to order office supplies. Office supplies are costly. You need to know what people are ordering and are they necessary and needed. Have someone in place that orders once a month, reviews the list, has an office supply budget, and determines what stays and comes off the list.

Catered Lunches
If catered lunches for meetings and events are a regular occurrence – stop it or cut back on it.  Your goal is to get through these uncertain times and create new "best practices" that will free up extra money for reserves and capital. Are all the catered lunches necessary? Sure the employees and clients enjoy the free lunches, but there is a better way. Schedule meetings earlier in the day or after lunch. Have snacks or beverages available.

Do you have any frugal business tips you can share?

Sharman Lawson is a financial coach, speaker, trainer, consultant, and author of the book 12 Steps to Eliminate Debt Forever!   Visit her website at


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