There's never a bad time to save money as a business, and with the pandemic continuing to impact small businesses around the country, most are looking for ways to cut costs and increase their savings any way possible. One way is to negotiate every chance you get.

1. Negotiate your lease

Talk to your property manager about working out a new lease agreement, especially if you have fallen on hard times as a result of the pandemic. With the current state of the economy, many property managers are already struggling to collect rent because many renters are unable to pay. You might be able to negotiate a lower monthly payment if you are able to pay on time, regularly. If you have had a lease for a significant amount of time and have consistently paid your rent on time, this can also work in your favor.

2. Negotiate salary/benefits

You can negotiate with prospective employees during the hiring process to save some money. Some benefits may be less costly to you than cash, but also valuable to an employee.1 Offering them can save money while also helping you gain a quality employee.

3. Negotiate with lenders

If you need to apply for a small business loan, check around for rates and work out terms with the lender. If you have good credit, that may give you an advantage over many businesses that were adversely affected by the COVID-19 economy.

4. Negotiate your debt

If you have debt that you're struggling to pay – whether it’s a commercial loan or a business credit card – contact the lenders and see if they are willing to negotiate a new payment plan. They may be willing to do so because they would rather be paid a discounted amount or a smaller monthly payment than have you miss payments repeatedly or default altogether.

5. Negotiate (repeatedly) with vendors

Regularly negotiate with vendors to get a better deal. Many small businesses are suffering as a result of the pandemic, so flexibility has become a vital part of survival. Vendors may be able to offer a lower price if it means keeping you as a customer.

"Instead of paying list prices for office supplies and industry-specific needs, shop around with suppliers and use different offers to find the lowest rate," suggests SchoolSafe.org co-founder Tiffany Delmore in an Entrepreneur piece.2 "That doesn’t necessarily mean you should go with the cheapest option, of course. Reliability and quality of supplies are at least as important as cost. Compare the options on the market and pick your favorite prospective suppliers before talking to your preferred options to find an agreeable middle ground. If you don’t need parts of packages or would like to adjust the volume, it never hurts to ask."

6. Use competition to your advantage

As you negotiate with suppliers and vendors, keep an eye on what products and services their competitors are offering, and see if you can use that to your advantage. If another provider has a better offer, don't be afraid to mention this in your negotiations. Nobody wants to lose business, especially in times like these.

7. Regularly review vendor relationships

As time goes on, review your vendor relationships and evaluate if you are getting your money's worth and whether it's time to negotiate yet again. Don't negotiate once and be done with it.

8. Ensure staff negotiates on behalf of your business

As the business owner, you may be doing most of the negotiating, but it can also pay to make sure members of your staff are also negotiating when their role involves such an opportunity. Consider including negotiating skills in training exercises

Not all negotiations are going to go your way, but the more you try to negotiate, the better your chances will be to find some real savings. Whether you're dealing with debtors, lenders, suppliers, vendors, or anyone else you can imagine being willing to come down on price, make the effort to keep more cash in your business's bank account.

1. See this related article about employee benefits and perks: https://nevadasmallbusiness.com/in-the-world-of-work-little-things-really-do-mean-a-lot/

2. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/329155

 

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank. Nevada State Bank is a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC