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Manage: Quick Money Saving Tips
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How can I save money on the basics, like office supplies?

maze_dollar_signThe pens, the paper, the ink cartridges… These seemingly small things can really add up. Thankfully, there are ways to  keep your office running efficiently and cut your office expenses at the same time.

Buy in Bulk
One of the best things a small business can do is buy in bulk.  For example, on Staples.com, you can purchase a box of 100 business envelopes for $11.99.  If you bump your order up to three or more boxes your cost drops to $11.60.  Sure, you might not need 300 envelopes now, but you do know for certain that you’ll eventually use all of them.  While a savings of thirty-nine cents might not seem like a lot, it can add up, especially when you buy in bulk across the board.

Use Promo Codes
Another tip—and this one goes for anything you shop for—is using promotional codes to net you a discount.  Simply type the store or product you’re looking for into your internet search engine along with the words “discount code” or “promotional code.” Often times you’ll get deals such as a percentage off your order or free shipping.
 
Join a Mailing List
Lastly, it’s a good idea to join the mailing list of companies you regularly purchase office supplies from.  Companies will often send discount coupons and offers exclusively to their mailing list.  For example, I just recently received an email from Staples for $20 off a case of copy paper.  

Jean Chatzky, SCORE Guest Blogger
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Marketing: Digital Media or Direct Mail?
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What is the best way to communicate with customers?

With the popularity of social media and digital media companies have stopped sending out direct mail.   E-marketing is more affordable and has been a way for companies to trim their marketing budget.

According  to Mintel Comperemedia, which tracks direct mail marketing, there was a 27% decline in 3rd quarter of 2009.  Studies have also shown that purchasing mailing lists and sending mass flyers or coupons are not cost effective. Instead, business owners are creating personalized mailings which include special offers to their current or perspective customers.   The idea is to send something that is more appealing and will be more valued and noticeable than a mass general mailing or a mass email blast.  A personal touch that a smaller firm can create in a direct mailing can be very effective.

Postcards are more colorful and can be more appealing than a standard letter that is sent out. It can include something funny, memorable or of interest; information about the company anything to reach customers so that they think if you. A postcard is easy to read and will be less likely to be thrown away.  It is much easier to delete email without looking at it.  A postcard if eye catching just reminds your customers that you are thinking of them and in turn hope that they think of you.  The question always remains, “what is the best way to communicate with customers?”  The answer is: As many ways as possible, all the social media avenues can be effective, as well as a postcard, and always face to face contact.

With everything available, take advantage and always track where your customers are coming from and how they heard about you.  Good luck, we all know that marketing is not an exact science the more ways to get noticed the better.

Julie Brander - Business Mentor, SCORE New Haven
Julie has been a SCORE volunteer since 1997. She has 20 years of experience in business, starting a manufacturing, wholesale and retail jewelry company. After selling her business, she dedicated herself to helping other entrepreneurs start and expand their business.
www.scorenewhaven.com | @juliebrander | More from Julie

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