Going into the fourth quarter, it’s time to start looking at 2018—your strategies, your personnel and your overall costs. You've heard it said, “a penny saved is a penny earned.” When you are pushing as hard as you can to grow your business, every penny counts.

Think about it for a minute. Every single dollar you're wasting could be used to drive down debt, make new investments, or otherwise increase your likely-too-low hard-earned salary. Taking the time to review financials may make your eyes gloss over, but what you find could open the door to more than a little loose change for marketing, operations, or some other needed fund.

Profit thieves are common in businesses large and small, but you can catch them and eliminate them in less time than you think. With that in mind, here are five cost-cutting measures that set the stage for growth.

1. Compare and contrast credit card fees.

Many small business owners don’t know credit card fees are negotiable. In fact, most of your transaction process fees come from what’s called non-qualified transaction rates. It’s not the swipe rate, in other words, that’s the biggest issue for companies that accept credit cards. Pay attention to what you’re getting charged.

2. Review your marketing spend.

Marketing, advertising and public relations are pivotal for most companies. But you may not be getting the biggest bang for your buck. Many businesses, for example, no longer benefit from Yellow Pages ads. Internet marketing is probably the stronger play. Social media marketing can be effective and much lower cost than traditional means. 

3. Time to switch banks?

Take some time to look at your bank statements—really look at them. Are you getting charged service fees? Why are they being assessed? Does your bank offer free sweeps accounts to interest-bearing accounts so you can be penny-wise? If your bank is not competitive, find one that is.

4. Beware office supply leaks.

Office supply leakage is subtle but surely a cost that adds up. You can waste a lot of money on paper and other supplies. See how much you are spending on average, per month, and look to justify that cost based on actual need. Consider a paperless office. 

5. Manage your energy.

Energy costs are skyrocketing across the country. Putting some best practices in place can save more than a few dollars. Your local electric and power company can do a free energy audit to help you find ways to save. You can also do practical things, like installing LED lights.

These are the costs many don’t think to look at. It’s easier to see large costs like lease costs and personnel. The little costs could be spoiling your financial vine. In addition, also consider hiring out of office virtual receptionist, such as Davinci Virtual Recpetionists, or Davinci Virtual Live Web Chat