Small Businesses Can Cut Costs Without Cutting Headcount
Faced with the need to cut costs, businesses of all sizes regularly resort to "reducing headcount." But unlike their counterparts at large, publicly listed companies, owners and managers of smaller businesses have much more than today's share price to think about when they have to reduce costs.

For a small business, replacing experienced, talented individuals will be both costly and necessary in the longer term. So, how can they cut costs in the short term without compromising their long-term interests? Here are a few ideas:

1. Enlist your team's help. Your team can help you make your business more efficient. Maybe your team has identified a bottleneck that the management hasn't seen. Perhaps they know how other businesses are cutting costs. Everyone's incentivized to help you make the savings needed to avoid lay-offs.

2. Shop around for big-ticket purchases. Whether it's insurance, business travel or printing essentials.

3. Connect over the Web. You can use the Internet to shrink the cost of long-distance business. Services like Skype and GoToMeeting let you meet "face-to-face" with your counterparts in other cities and countries at little or no cost.

4. Get your services on demand. You can avoid costly investment in things like e-mail servers, high-spec printers or expensive software by tapping into "cloud" or "as a Service" solutions. Microsoft Office Live, Earthtone, Google Docs and others specialize in providing the resources businesses need while helping them avoid unnecessary upfront investment.

Great News For Chamber Members

A national study by The Schapiro Group, an Atlanta-based market research firm, reveals a number of important findings about how consumers and business owners perceive the local chamber of commerce and the businesses that are their members. For example:

Consumers are 63% more likely to buy goods and services in the future from a company that theybelieve is a member of the local chamber of commerce.

When consumers know that a business is a member of the local chamber, they are 44% more likely to think favorably about it.

Consumers who are told that a business is achamber member are 51% more likely to be highly aware of it and 57% more likely to think positively of its local reputation.

The study also has good news for businesses that sell to other businesses.

When business decision-makers believe that a business is a chamber member, they are 37% more likely to think favorably of the business, 51% more likely to be highly aware of it, 58% more likely to think positively of its local reputation, and 59% more likely to buy goods and services from it.

Supporting the previous findings, the study also reveals a positive perception for the local chamber itself:

Regarding the chamber's impact on the local economy, 82% of respondents believe that the local chamber of commerce helps create jobs and promotes local economic development.

The results of the Schapiro study are clear: Positive perception increases among consumers and business owners when a business is identified as a member of the local chamber of commerce.

Join The Chamber!

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