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How many times have you meant to take advantage of a rebate, butjust didn’t find the time or make the effort? In your personallife, it might not be a big loss, but as a small business owner,ignoring rebates and rewards programs could be detrimental to youand your business.

One of the best vehicles for earning extra benefits is abusiness rewards credit card, which can offer everything fromcash back to airline miles. Depending on the types of offersavailable to you through your card, you can find ways to usebenefits and rewards creatively.

In business, as sure as money comes in the door, it will go outagain too. But by using cash rebate cards, the purchases necessary to running a smallbusiness will give you cash back automatically. For example,SimplyCash from American Express OPEN gives you 5 percent cash backon office supply purchases and wireless service, 3 percent ongasoline and 1 percent on all other purchases – with no annualmembership fee.

You could pour your cash rebate back into other officenecessities, but you can do a lot more with it if you think outsidethe box. Funneling your cash back earnings toward a holiday partycan be a big morale booster for your hard-working employees. It canalso be put to good use in buying a great retirement gift forsomeone who has worked hard for your company over the years.

Or, to inspire a bit of friendly competition, use your cash backto buy a gift or item for which employees can compete. Whether youchallenge them to put up higher numbers or find new efficiencies,having an exciting goal to work toward can add some new energy tothe office.

Airline miles are a popular reward offered both by credit cardcompanies and airlines themselves. If your company builds up a goodstock of miles, consider using them differently than you’ve done inthe past and try something that can pay off in terms of employeegrowth or satisfaction.

Travel to meet with clients is a good idea, but it’s the oldstandby for using miles. Instead, consider organizing a corporateretreat in which you and your employees can build a stronger teamand come away revitalized to take on the next big projects.Alternately, if you know that certain employees want to learn moreabout a topic or grow within their field, consider sending them toconferences and seminars that will help them achieve their jobgoals and ultimately help your business.

Using your rewards and rebates to your business’ advantage meansthinking beyond the most obvious option. A little creative thinkingcan make your rewards stretch further and benefit your company evenmore.