Capital One's Q1 Spark Business Barometer has shown that despite the challenging economic climate over the past few months, an impressive 49% of business owners are optimistic about the national economy over the next year. An even higher 67% of businesses have reported feeling optimistic about the future of their local economies.

This optimism that small businesses are exuding isn't just based on a whim – around one third (34%) of businesses taking part in the survey said that their businesses' finances had improved in the last three months, compared to just one fifth who said that their finances are now worse.

For those of you eager to be in the percentage of small businesses with improving finances in the next quarter, I've compiled a list of smart saving tips, increasing those profit margins and making your dollars go further.

1. Reduce Marketing Costs

Review the way you're marketing your business and its products – is it the most effective it can be? Consider strategies such as collaborative marketing with other businesses and tapping into another customer base, both online and offline.

2. Eliminate Paper

Do your best to work towards a completely paperless office. Not only will this save on unnecessary printing but also storage space for all of those important documents. Storing everything digitally is faster and in many ways more convenient.

3. Do Your Own Taxes

Doing your own taxes not only lets you save on the cost of an accountant but also makes sure that every tax deduction option is explored when you do your research. Everything from internet connection bills to trade magazines can all be added to your tax breaks.

4. Get Sponsors

Sponsors related to your business are a great way of increasing your client base, bringing in new people who trust your sponsor's (perhaps longer established) brand. Sponsors for events are a particularly common arrangement, but explore other sponsorship options as part of your day-to-day running too.

5. Use The Right Credit Cards

Using a good business credit card not only allows you to cover business expenses without putting up any collateral but can also let you earn rewards and/or cash back just for going about your monthly spending. Further benefits include being able to delegate company spending to employees easily by giving them an employee card. Finding the right credit card with the number of options on the market isn't always easy, so here I have compiled a list of our best rated credit cards for small businesses who are looking to save and get more from their expenditure.

Credit CardFeaturesIntro APRRegular APRAnnual FeeWhy we like itWe least likeCredit RequiredRelated links
American Express<sup>®</sup> Blue Business Cash Card

American Express® Blue Business Cash Card

APPLY NOWAt American Express' secure website
  • Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. Cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement.
  • From workflow to inventory to floor plans, your business is constantly changing. That’s why you’ve got the power to spend beyond your credit limit with Expanded Buying Power§.
  • Just remember, the amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us and other factors.
  • 0.0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate, 14.99%, 17.99%, or 20.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
  • No Annual Fee
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
APPLY NOWAt American Express' secure website

0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months

14.99% - 20.99% Variable

$0

Excellent Credit
Capital One<sup>®</sup> Spark<sup>®</sup> Cash for Business

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

  • Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere
  • Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • $0 annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • $0 Fraud Liability if your card is lost or stolen
  • Free employee cards, which also earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount

N/A

19.24% (Variable)

$0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Why we like it
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere.
Excellent, Good
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card: 12X at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio, 6X on Select Business & Travel Purchases, 3X Everywhere Else. Terms & Limitations Apply.
  • Enjoy complimentary Gold Status with your Hilton Honors Business Card.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn another Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend an additional $45,000 in purchases on your Card in the same calendar year.
  • Relax with 10 free airport lounge visits each year once enrolled in complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership, which offers access to over 1,000 lounges in over 120 countries.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms Apply

N/A

17.49% - 26.49% Variable

$95

Excellent, Good
Bank of America<sup>®</sup> Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard<sup>®</sup> credit card

Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® credit card

APPLY NOWAt Bank of America's secure website
  • Earn 25,000 bonus points when you make at least $1,000 in net purchases within 60 days of your account opening which can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit towards travel purchases.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all purchases everywhere, every time-no matter how much you spend. Points don't expire.
  • Earn 3 points per every dollar spent on travel purchases (car, hotel, airline) booked through the Bank of America® Travel Center - powered by Expedia®.
  • No annual fee and no international transaction fees.
  • 0% Introductory APR on purchases for your first 9 billing cycles.
  • Redeem points for travel with no blackout dates, cash back or gift cards.
  • Get a 75% rewards bonus on the base earn of every purchase you make when you’re a Business Advantage Relationship Rewards Platinum Honors tier client. That means you will earn 2.62 points for every $1 you spend and 4.12 points per every $1 you spend at the Bank of America® Travel Center.
APPLY NOWAt Bank of America's secure website

0% Introductory APR on purchases for your first 9 billing cycles

13.24% - 23.24% Variable APR on purchases

No annual fee

Why we like it
  • No annual fee and no international transaction fees.
  • Earn 25,000 bonus points when you make at least $1,000 in net purchases within 60 days of your account opening which can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit towards travel purchases.
Excellent
Bank of America<sup>®</sup> Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard<sup>®</sup> credit card

Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card

APPLY NOWAt Bank of America's secure website
  • Get a $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening – with no annual fee, no cap on the amount of cash rewards you can earn and they don't expire.
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back on dining and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • You'll get 3% and 2% cash back on the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, 1% thereafter.
  • 0% Introductory APR on purchases for your first 9 billing cycles.
  • Redeem your cash rewards as a statement credit, check, or have cash deposited into a Bank of America® checking or savings account.
  • Get a 75% rewards bonus on every purchase when you're a Business Advantage Relationship Rewards Platinum Honors tier client. That means you will earn 5.25% on your selected choice category, 3.5% on dining and unlimited 1.75% cash back on all other purchases.
APPLY NOWAt Bank of America's secure website

0% Introductory APR on purchases for the first 9 billing cycles

14.24% - 24.24% Variable APR

No annual fee

Excellent
Capital One<sup>®</sup> Spark<sup>®</sup> Miles for Business

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

  • Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles - equal to $500 in travel - once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2 miles per $1 on every purchase, everywhere
  • Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles - equal to $500 in travel - once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Receive up to $100 credit for one Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee
  • Fly on any airline, anytime, with no blackout dates or seat restrictions
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is lost or stolen
  • Free employee cards which also earn unlimited 2x miles from their purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees

N/A

19.24% (Variable)

$0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Why we like it
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 on every purchase.
Excellent, Good
Gold Delta SkyMiles<sup>®</sup> Business Credit Card from American Express

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

APPLY NOWAt American Express' secure website
  • Make business travel more rewarding. Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Additionally, earn a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 Miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Find room for your carry-on and settle into your seat sooner with Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you spend overseas.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. Terms and limitations apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms Apply
APPLY NOWAt American Express' secure website

N/A

17.49% - 26.49% Variable

$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

Excellent Credit
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express<sup>®</sup> Card

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

APPLY NOWAt American Express' secure website
  • Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • 6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • 4x points at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping. 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status with your Card. Plus, earn Gold Elite status after making $35,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
APPLY NOWAt American Express' secure website

N/A

17.49% - 26.49% Variable

$125

Excellent/Good
Offer ends 11/06/2019
American Express<sup>®</sup> Business Gold Card

American Express® Business Gold Card

Offer ends 11/06/2019
APPLY NOWAt American Express' secure website
  • Earn up to $500 back in the form of statement credits by purchasing qualifying services with FedEx using your American Express® Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card membership.
  • Limited time Offer ends 11/06/2019.*
  • More Rewards: Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month**
  • **4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.*
  • Airline Bonus: Get 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year.*
  • Pay Over Time Option: A flexible payment option to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more.*
  • Expense Management Tools: Connect to Quickbooks, access SpendManager℠, receive a Year-End Summary, and more.*
  • *Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
APPLY NOWAt American Express' secure website

N/A

15.99% - 23.99% Variable

$295

Excellent/Good
CitiBusiness<sup>®</sup> / AAdvantage<sup>®</sup> Platinum Select<sup>®</sup> World MasterCard<sup>®</sup>

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®

APPLY NOWAt Citi's secure website
  • Earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases in first 3 months of account opening
  • Designed for businesses
  • Earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases in first 3 months of account opening
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries to reduce travel costs and boost your bottom line*
  • 25% savings on American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi when you use your card*
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations*
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases*
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees*
APPLY NOWAt Citi's secure website

N/A

17.74%-25.74%* (Variable)

$99, waived for first 12 months*

Why we like it
  • Earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases in first 3 months of account opening.
Excellent, Good

Whichever business credit card you choose, bear in mind that having more than one card can be beneficial since it lets you earn different types of rewards on different spending categories. To learn more about business credit cards take a look at our best rated small business credit cards for 2018.

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