Subscribe and download our eBook, "Innovative Ideas for Surviving a Recession and Avoiding Problems in Your Small Business."

Get the:

What to Do with Savings from Declining Gas Prices: 5 Options

You've undoubtedly noticed that the price at the pump is dramatically lower (the lowest it's been since October 2010). The price drop means more money in your (and your customers') pockets. What to do:

1. Cut prices.
Now may be the time to reduce prices or fees to customers/clients. Businesses that had imposed fuel surcharges on deliveries or other rates because of higher gas prices can now eliminate fee increases. Inform customers of the change, and the reason. Similarly, businesses that have been the recipients of reduced prices from their suppliers may want to pass savings onto customers.

2. Invest savings.
Buy new equipment to better run your business. Look for tax incentives to help underwrite your purchases.

3. Reward employees.
In the past several years, many small businesses cut salaries or refrained from giving raises. With more money at your disposal, now may be the time to give those raises or bonuses. Obviously, gasoline savings may not equate to the cost of raises, but it can help.

4. Increase marketing.
Customers have more money to spend, and you have to compete for these dollars. Obviously, many customers have to apply their fuel cost savings to increased health insurance premiums, higher property taxes, and other "must pay" costs. But you have to attract their discretionary spending to your products and services.

5. Improve your cash flow.
Not spending on gasoline means having more cash to spend on other business needs. Also, savings that have been passed on to you from other businesses translate into an easing on your cash flow demands.

Low prices at the pump likely are temporary (they may fall even more but will rise eventually). Enjoy the savings while you can. Don't fall for the prospect of permanently low fuel prices by buying a gas-guzzling vehicle now; you'll probably pay a steep price for this decision down the road.