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#639: Saving Precious Cash

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, August 25, 2011
Updated: Thursday, August 25, 2011
Even before the economy slowed a bit this year, consultants should always find ways to conserve cash. Any tips?

One quick way to lower your expenses is to take advantage of hidden deals on office supplies, travel and services. Because some technology supplies are pretty pricey, taking a few minutes to uncover these deals can save you several hundred dollars a year. Before you dismiss this as "coupon clipping "that is beneath you, spending five minutes to save a hundred dollars probably works out to a better return on time than your consulting fee.

However, one way to get discounts many people are not familiar with and for unadvertised specials, is to use online coupon broker sites. I just had to buy toner and paper that would have cost about $400. I went to a broker site and found a coupon for $150 savings offered by the store for a quick savings that wasn't advertised by the store itself. These are available for many brand names - makes you wonder who pays retail anymore!

Another resource is B2B broker sites like Boss Rocket, which provides a Groupon-like 50% or more discount on business services. These can include SEO optimization, financial review and business planning. Of course, you need to vet these services but the savings can be in the hundreds or thousands of dollars per year.

Tip: The bigger ticket items like travel can really add up. Companion passes on airlines allow you to get a second or third ticket for $99. Bringing your colleague to a job or your family along on business trips several times a year passes a thousand dollars of savings pretty quickly.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  practice management  your consulting practice 

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Iain Lopata says...
Posted Friday, August 26, 2011
Some of the biggest savings arise from basic decisions on how you organize your office. Whether a solo practitioner or a large practice, the cost of office space, office support services, computers and telecommunications are major factors. When it is the goal to be at a client site much of the time, it pays to invest in a flexible infrastructure that minimizes these costs while providing the necessary support. I see plenty of people who invest in permanent office space who could easily save by using virtual offices or a home office at lower cost and without sacrificing image or productivity.

It may also be worth noting that for business travel, a travel agent can still sometimes access fares that are simply not available through consumer websites. Over the past year I have saved my client tens of thousands of dollars using the services of a travel agent.

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