In this economy, businesses have to stay lean if they want to be competitive and survive. Many companies have already undertaken traditional measures to save cash, like laying off workers and reducing salaries. Small businesses that had small staff and salaries in the first place, though, have looked elsewhere to learn where they can reduce costs and increase revenue. The solutions they’ve found may surprise you.
Medical Travel Options
One of the biggest costs to companies comes in the form of health insurance. A growing number of small companies have discovered that by including medical travel options to other states and countries in their health care plans, they can care for employee needs at half the cost.
Procedures like knee and hip replacements, hysterectomies, and open-heart surgeries are cheaper at internationally accredited hospitals in countries like Panama, India, Costa Rica, and Singapore — so much so that companies can afford to waive copayments, pay for flights, hotels and travel perks, and still come out ahead. Not all medical treatments involve exotic travel; choosing hospitals and clinics in a different state can also make a huge difference in a company’s health care costs.
These perks do come with a risk — liability. Most British-influenced countries (like India or Singapore) follow the “lex loci delecti” doctrine, saying that you must follow the law of the place where the event happened. Since it is unclear how far US law can stretch to cover a sovereign nation, it may be difficult for a patient to file suit against a health care provider halfway across the globe if something goes wrong. This could make patients more likely to sue the medical travel agency, the health plan, the US doctor that treats the complication, or even their employer.
So far, a growing number of companies have found that the benefits (to employees, and to their profits) have outweighed the risks.
Rather than devoting limited manpower to a specific task, some small companies have found that crowdsourcing — using independent individuals to collectively create a good or service— is a much more cost-effective solution to their needs. Businesses can even turn to specialized crowdsourcing companies that find and compensate the right “crowd” tailored for the specific needs of the task at hand.
These tasks range from general consultation to managing ad-word accounts, creating algorithms and code, fundraising, or designing products. The business that asked for help in the first place selects and owns the best solution, and decides how to compensate the creator(s) of the winning solutions. Compensation can range from kudos and personal intellectual satisfaction to a share of the proceeds or savings, or even a massive prize, like the Netflix $1 million dollar prize.
Crowdsourcing is a great way for small businesses to not only get projects completed at lower cost, but also to find and connect with experts while creating more brand awareness. However, getting the best outcome requires an initial investment of effort into designing or defining the parameters of the task at hand, finding and reaching out to the right crowd, and coming up with a compensation plan. Some companies may find it easier to hire a crowdsourcing firm, but be aware that this could likely cost more, and would require a contract agreement between the firm and the small business.
Any business, big or small, has legal needs. Whether it’s employment contracts, leases for office space, contractor agreements, meeting minutes, or licensing and release of liability documents, all businesses need the proper documents on record. While it may sound daunting and expensive for a small business, it doesn’t have to be. Many documents can be created without the help of a lawyer, and the initial cost of creating the right documents is greatly offset by the time and money saved by avoiding messy courtroom cases.
Services like Rocket Lawyer’s business membership can help small businesses create the documents they need, store them online for future access, and even find a lawyer when necessary. Memberships are particularly useful for small businesses since they provide unlimited access to a service for a set fee. With Rocket Lawyer, this means businesses can create unlimited documents of any kind, allow multiple people on the account, and have the capability to store, organize, share, edit and e-sign them.
There are times when a lawyer’s services are necessary. It’s knowing when to seek professional help, and being able to find the right professional, that saves time, effort, and money. With the Rocket Lawyer membership, businesses can easily request a lawyer to review their do it yourself legal documents, or find a lawyer through the Rocket Lawyer network for any time of legal representation, as needed.
These are just three ways that companies are finding they can save money without having to cut staff, salaries or hours. If you’ve heard of other innovative ways in which companies are saving money, or are trying new practices yourself, share them with us!