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Healthcare Sticker Shock: 5 Ways For Businesses to Cut Costs in 2014

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By Townes Haas   |    February 18, 2014   |    10:37 AM

The Affordable Care Act has officially been implemented, and small business owners are bearing the brunt of rising healthcare costs. According to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, over 60 percent of surveyed small business owners with less than 100 employees are “paying higher insurance premiums per employee in 2013 than they did in 2012.”

To offset the additional costs, many small business owners and entrepreneurs are looking for ways to cut costs without decreasing overall profitability and quality. Here are five ways to reduce your expenses and still maintain your business value props:

  1. Outsourcing: You need someone to answer the phones during busy times, but you don’t need a full-time receptionist. Outsource the work. Virtual assistants and staffing ensure that you have the additional staffing when you need it – but only when you need it. You can also outsource projects like web design and maintenance to contractors, that way you are only paying for the hours that they actually work.

  2. Travel: While reducing travel can help with overhead, most business professionals still need to travel to grow their businesses and network. Instead of eliminating travel budgets completely, use sites like Kayak or Priceline to price compare and consider bundling hotels, flights and car rentals.

  3. Virtual Office Spaces: Having a dedicated space means you have to pay rent on a monthly basis. Dump the rent, and let your employees work from home. For meetings, rent a fully-stocked conference room for an hour, day or week – only paying for the time that you need. If you still need a permanent place, use a shared office space for a cost-effective alternative to a traditional office space.

  4. Art of Negotiation: You’re a valued customer with your suppliers, credit card companies and the like. They don’t want to lose you. Call your credit card companies, and negotiate lower annual percentage rates. Talk to your suppliers. Usually, they are more than happy to negotiate with their regular customers. If your supplier won’t even broach the topic, then you might want to think about switching – a competitor may be more than happy to get you a better deal.

  5. Efficiency: Look around your office space. Are you constantly printing out every company deck? Do you use disposable cups and utensils? Do you leave rarely-used office equipment plugged in? While you may not think of these as major expenses, they can add up. Encourage people to take their laptops to meetings or set up web conferencing to reduce printer costs. Convince employees to bring their own mugs and utensils, or hit up a thrift store and buy a bunch for the office. Unplug any office machines that you don’t use on a daily basis. An electronic device uses electricity whenever it’s plugged into an outlet – even if it’s not on.

While you can’t control the costs of the Affordable Care Act, you can take steps to reduce your own expenses and keep your business profitable.

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