To succeed in any business, you need to maximize your profits and minimize your overhead. Yet there are some expenses — such as paying nearly $4 per gallon for gas — that mobile operations simply can’t avoid. By thinking creatively, however, you can keep these and other costs under control. Here are three ways to do so.
1. Promote yourself online. Generating new business requires you to invest time but not money — and is a surefire way to boost profits. Focus on your social media marketing efforts, making sure that customers know where you are and have a reason to seek you out. This can reduce your advertising and travel costs.
For example, suppose you’re a makeup artist who plans to work onsite at a wedding. A week before the event, broadcast that you’re booking a few house calls in the area, on that day only, for less than your usual rate. On the day of the event, offer your wedding clients a discount on future services if they post photos of their new looks on social media with links back to your website.
2. Use credit cards strategically. Using rewards credit cards may seem like an easy way to get money back for business expenses, but the return may amount to less than you expect. To maximize rewards, analyze your monthly business expenses over the course of at least six months to determine what types of purchases you make the most
. Then, commit to using a rewards card geared specifically toward that purpose.
For example, if fuel is your primary expense, Card Hub recommends the PenFed Visa Platinum Cash Rewards Card, which rewards 5 percent for purchases made at the pump. If your business expenses are fairly even across various categories, find a card with no annual fee that offers at least 1 percent cash back for anything
you buy. Make sure as many purchases as possible are run through the card to keep your cash back building.
3. Think like a cooperative. Get together with other small businesses in your community (and market niche) to pursue bulk discounts on the supplies and services you purchase regularly. This may also give you greater negotiating power with vendors. You could consider joining a formal group, such as the National Cooperative Business Association. Even if you’d rather not pay the membership fee, you can take advantage of its free resources, as well as its advice on how to start your own cooperative with entrepreneurs in your area.