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Written by guest blogger Amber Ramsey

Small businesses often operate on razor-thin margins, and the pandemic has made that dynamic even more challenging. Of course, staying competitive is what will keep you afloat, so it’s wise to think about what advantages you can give yourself to ensure you weather the storm. Some biz-boosters can be DIY, while others should be outsourced to professionals, like complex web design.

Here are some tips from Sage Recruiting to help your business in these uncertain times.

Cut Non-Essential Costs

According to Entrepreneur, a budget is a key business tool, and a good way to save money is to go through yours line-by-line and start reducing or eliminating non-essential expenditures. For example, get rid of magazine and newspaper subscriptions and industry publications, and reference online versions instead. Reduce entertainment costs – meet clients for coffee instead of lunch or dinner. Downsize office space, if you have it, and allow employees to telecommute. Cut back on travel, especially when Zoom gatherings will suffice.

Of course, you don’t want to cut so deeply that you negatively impact your operations. Some costs – like marketing and advertising – are, indeed, essential. New investments might also be on the table – particularly if you’re putting your money toward business “upgrades” that will help you grow and prosper.

Make Smart Buys

While it can feel counterintuitive to spend money when your business is slow, savvy investments can give you a much-needed boost. For example, maybe your website needs an overhaul so you can introduce or expand e-commerce activity, as well as make it easier for your customers to reach out and interact with you. Perhaps your company lends itself to mobile application usage, in which case, app development is a smart move. Make an assessment of upgrades and enhancements that would allow you to operate leaner, increase sales, and improve productivity. Once you have a plan in mind, consider what you have the ability to do, and what’s better to outsource to a professional.

Additionally, with more and more people working from home, it’s time to dedicate part of your house to your business by creating a home office – or expanding that office if you already have one. After all, in addition to helping you streamline your business, certain home improvements can also dramatically boost your home’s overall value come appraisal time!

Do It Yourself

There are a lot of things you can do on your own, or with a little help from an online tutorial. For example, you might update your company website’s “About Us” page with bios for leaders and key team members – you can find online templates to guide you. You might also feel comfortable hosting a customer appreciation event or redecorating your office. According to, even adding some live plants and “non-corporate” artwork can make a big difference. You can also look for a hybrid approach – for example, getting a Shopify subscription that’s essentially turnkey, allowing you to launch an e-commerce store with a built-in shopping cart ready to go! It’s far less onerous than trying to add these features yourself.

Make Informed Hiring Decisions

Of course, it’s important to recognize your own limitations when it comes to hiring versus DIY. For example, while programs like WordPress are pretty easy for amateur bloggers to operate, plug-in updates can result in security flaws if not done correctly – making this the type of task best outsourced to experts. You can use an online resource like Upwork to find a qualified freelancer to hire for specific tasks, but you’ll want to educate yourself a bit before hiring anyone to ensure you’re getting the best price. A quick Google search can let you know if the price you’re being quoted is in line with national averages. Always read reviews and make sure you agree on cost and turnaround time in advance.

Invest in Your Education

Do you feel like your business skills could use a boost? If so, you may want to think about earning a business degree. Investing in a good education can provide you with essential skills and knowledge pertaining to the business world, which can result in greater chances of success. There are a variety of programs to choose from, whether you’re looking to gain foundational skills with an associate degree or advance your career by earning a doctorate degree.

When business is slow, it’s normal to feel like you want to hang on to every penny you earn. However, competition remains fierce, and to stand out means you sometimes have to bet on yourself and make an investment to keep your business moving forward. Some high-impact, cost-effective investments that can be made with freelancers include market research, marketing and advertising, branding, app development, and web design.

Sage Recruiting has cracked the code for technical interviewing. With our technical capabilities, we are able to find you the right candidate often with only one or two resumes. That means you spend less time interviewing and more time growing your business! Call 416.882.3469.