Running a business off the smell of an oily rag

Businesses are just as bad, no – probably worse, than the rest of us when it comes to wasting money. Well, here is your chance to change all that.


If staying in a Motel be sure to ask for their corporate rate – it’s a lot cheaper than the list rate. As long as you have a business card you should be entitled to the cheaper rate. For example, one motel had a corporate rate of $125 compared to a “list” rate of $185.


Every business has got them – Big Fat Lazy Overheads! Best way to give them the boot is to have regular (at least annual) overhead reviews. Is the expense adding anything to the top line? Do we need it? Is there a cheaper way of achieving the same purpose? Can we obtain the same thing from another supplier cheaper?

Legal costs

Lawyers charge by the minute, so spend as few minutes with them as possible. Some also have a flat charge per letter they read and per letter they write.

Receive legal opinion over the phone. For filing purposes, record the conversation and have someone in your company type out the transcript. It will cost a heck of a lot less than receiving a letter from your lawyer.


Instead of having meetings in person, use one of the many meeting APPs and have the meeting on line. You will save time and money. It also means your workplace could offer more flexible working conditions.


Put a pile of scrap paper next to the photocopier. Use it instead of the good stuff when taking copies for internal use.


Don’t pay any! Work from home. I know of one person that bought a home/office in a street close to the city centre. They sold their house in the suburbs, and moved their business from a CBD office. They saved thousands of dollars each year and repaid their mortgage in no time.

Telephone & tolls

Eliminate telephone costs by using Skype ( All you need at your end is a microphone, speakers and broadband internet connection . There are three options re headphones: a single head piece, full earphones, or full earphones with extra padding. The best option depends on how important it is to be able to hear stuff going on elsewhere in the office while you are on the phone. The sound is better than phone, something akin to FM quality.


Make sure airpoints gained on business travel are used for business travel. Crediting them for private use creates an incentive for people to travel, at the businesses expense, when the good-old telephone or email would do.

Have someone within the organisation responsibly for checking travel costs. It is amazing how much private travel ends up being charged to the company, or how often travel companies don’t book the most cost effective rates.

Utility bills

Have an expert come in every year or two to check that you are not being overcharged. They get paid by receiving half of the savings they find for you.

Have one person in the company check the utility usage and costs. Let this person be in charge of money saving ideas on power, telephone and other utility costs.


Send in your tips for running a business off the smell of an oily rag. – oily rag ed