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.

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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