For all businesses, being resourceful is essential when costs rise. With the current economic conditions, many companies are finding creative ways to deal with rising costs. At the top of this list is the cost of energy and fuel. In an April survey, American Express found that 86 percent of small-business owners are feeling the effects of higher energy and gas costs.

Many business owners are using this lull in the economy to closely assess their costs and cash flow. In lean times, savvy business owners make management improvements that they have thought about for years. Discipline and resourcefulness established in difficult periods can help give business owners the tools they need to maintain their business over in the long term. Simple, but meaningful, strategies can make a big difference to the bottom line: Reviewing/revising budgets, and sticking to them; Outsourcing (payroll, accounting, HR, IT); Getting receivables in line (don’t be afraid to get a little outside help here); Cutting postage and overnight fees by sending document via email; Buying used equipment for non-critical tasks.

Since approximately fifty percent of every dollar in the economy is generated by cash-starved small businesses, their effects can be felt throughout the economy. If they are unprepared and their operating expenses go up, they may not be able to pass along these costs quickly enough to keep their cash flow positive. Without proper planning and some outside help, very few small businesses have large enough cash reserves to ride out a recession.

In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, small business owners shouldn’t take anything for granted. Entrepreneurs should always be looking at ways to stay lean and efficient. No matter the size of the company, it should be a part of the “corporate culture.”

Keith Mabe is Director of Operations for Charter Capital, recognized as one of the hardest working independent providers of invoice factoring for small to mid-sized businesses. Chaterc Capital offers a complete line of factoring and related financial services. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Charter Capital provides accounts receivable financing and asset-based lending for major industries including freight and transportation, consulting firms, service providers, staffing firms, distributors and manufacturers, medical service providers. Find out more at

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