Reducing Your Retail Overhead

Ah, the bliss of running a retail store. The joy in being your own boss. The love of paying your own bills.

Wait. That’s not right. There’s not really love involved in paying bills… even the ones you know you need. So when times get tough or your budget gets tight, reducing your retail overhead is a must to ensure your business stays afloat.

The tips below can help you achieve a more manageable retail overhead  without compromising your business objectives. While there’s no promise you will like what you see, there is the promise this can help (at least a bit… we can’t solve all your challenges via one blog!).

1. Eliminate services you pay for but do not use. This may be two phone lines versus just one, a fax machine you rarely use or a membership to a local gym via your company account. If you pay for online memberships of any kind, consider if they are really worth it. Often you’ll find you are being automatically renewed to things you don’t even participate in anymore. These things add up!

2. Buy in bulk – even if it means paying more upfront. You’ll need paper, receipt rolls, toiletries and many other obvious supplies during the course of every work year. Rather than buy these things as you go along, buy in bulk from a warehouse store to save money in the long run. Plus, this will save you time since you only have to make a couple trips to the store versus monthly visits.

3. Give up cleaning services. I know, I know… cleaning your own toilet is a dreaded chore and certainly cleaning up one that is shared by many is worse…. BUT sometimes these cost eliminating sacrifices are what it takes to get focused on saving and making money versus spending it.

4. Let go of professional organizations that cost you money. Some networking groups are effective in building your business, while other professional organizations charge you a fee that may not be worth what you get in return. Really consider if what you pay is worth what you get from it. Then, consider eliminating this expense only if it makes sense for your business and budget goals.

5. Scale back on trade show participation… But still go.It’s essential to keep up with trade shows, new vendors and what’s hot in your retail environment, but attending every show isn’t always effective. Often it may just mean sharing a hotel room versus getting your own on a buy trip, or other times it may mean going to two shows a year versus four. Every penny adds up on these excursions, so think about each penny being spent as if it’s your last one.

While each retailer is unique in their vision, goals and budget, the above list can challenge every retailer to think about how their dollars are being spent. Next time you write a check, will it be for something that’s effective for your business, or will it be for something you could have done yourself or don’t need? Keep asking yourself these questions as your business grows, and soon you’ll have more money to spend on what really matters (even if that’s a vacation on your time off!).


  • Additional Cost Cutting Tips:
    1. Be efficient with employee hours. Stagger hours so you don’t have too many employees.

    2. Look at ways to cut marketing expenses. Use email and facebook and save money.

    3. Watch electrical expenses.

    4. Use an Open to Buy Budget while making your purchases. This will help you with your cash flow. Very Important.

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