I get it. As a small business owner, it can be challenging obtaining investment money or additional capital when needed. That’s why small business and startup owners need to be more strategic. In the early stages of building a business, any major financial shortcoming can hurt your ability to continue on as a business.
There are some steps that you can take, however, to keep expenses down and which allow you to run a lean, mean, successful machine.
Consider the following 7 tips for keeping expenses down to a minimum.
- Out with the old and in with the new.
- Since we’re talking about technology.
- Outsource when you need to.
- Living in the clouds.
- Create a virtual agency (i.e. telecommunicate).
- Be smart about office expenses.
- Recent college grads might be the way to go.
We are living in the golden age of tech and you should be taking advantage of that. Through social media platforms, websites, and even YouTube videos, you can reach your target audience much easier and at a fraction of the costs of traditional marketing and advertising fees.
Content is king so remember to have plenty of quality material related to your brand (as well as proper SEO strategies in place). If you aren’t familiar or comfortable with all of the underlying strategies to get your website ranking high on Google then find some digital consultation quick!
Aside from a website and social media profiles, there are a number of online services that you can provide, depending on the type of business you have. For instance, having an e-commerce store is an excellent way to sell your product and collect payments effectively, without the customer having to worry about traveling down to your brick-and-mortar site (especially if you are of town or even out of state).
But tech can also help your small business in so many other ways.
Apps like Google Hangouts, Slack, Trello, Skype, and a variety of other amazing platforms are great for company meetings, to spread information quickly, to share valuable reports and data, and just to keep things in order.
Many of these services come at an extremely low cost, which means you don’t have to spend a small fortune renting out space for a meeting, or to pay for everyone to have a company email on an expensive server.
Once again, technology and the Internet has made outsourcing to independent contractors much more affordable. From a web designer to a content creator, bookkeeper, virtual secretary, and more; they can all be found through a simple Google search.
Plus, outsourcing might be your most viable option whenever you have a project you need help with or just don’t have the technical skills to handle alone. Outsourcing also goes a long way in decreasing your labor budget. You can dictate pay rates while still receiving assistance from quality freelancers.
There are plenty of relatively inexpensive open-source, cloud-based programs that can help you to reduce some of your business costs.
Google Docs is one such amazing tool that’s amazingly intuitive and useful for creating and sharing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations (think of it as an online version of Microsoft Office). OpenOffice is another such resource that includes another variant of a word processing program, slideshow software, and spreadsheets. These free-to-use tools mean you don’t have to spend a couple thousand dollars of the company’s money to purchase similar software for every computer.
Another great tool that Google offers is, Google Drive, which provides free (albeit limited) space to save your vital data on the clouds, protecting it from those computer crashes that do happen. For a small fee, you can purchase additional space.
If you decide to open up a free Google account, you also get a virtual calendar that can be shared and utilized for office purposes.
Telecommunication may not work for every business but doing so several days a week can help to limit some of the expenses of renting out an office and the associated operating costs (i.e. electricity, water, etc.).
Strategize with team leaders and decide what team members might benefit from this.
Office expenses can get out of hand if you aren’t being cautious about supply and electricity use. Are computers on 24/7? Are lights on in every room of your office but nobody is in them? How much are you spending on office supplies that you don’t necessarily need?
Spend some time walking around your office and thinking green. You might be able to spot plenty of waste and develop simple solutions that can lead to big savings.
What they lack in experience they can make up for in eagerness, hard work, and familiarity with newer technologies while not demanding prime salary.
Recent grads might also be more willing to go through the rollercoaster journey that is a startup. Learning and growing along with the company in comparison to an experienced worker who might be seeking a bit more “stability” might just mean the difference between success and failure.
Don’t forget that in today’s tech-driven world, having a business without an online presence is like having a car without tires. You won’t get very far.