Even in today’s digital-first world, where anyone can launch an online company in a matter of minutes, there are a lot of expenses that you’ll need to think about. From employee payroll to crucial software, small companies have to make a tiny budget stretch as far as possible.
As the cost of things like telephone lines and travel go up, it’s essential to make sure that you’re always assessing your business budget, looking for opportunities to keep costs as low as possible. Fortunately, we’ve done some of the work for you by putting together this list of 5 simple ways to cut costs as a budding small business.
1. Reduce Your Real Estate Costs
Real estate is one of the most significant expenses that any small business will face. Whether you’re paying for an office, a retail location, or a restaurant, the chances are that you’re shelling out thousands of dollars every month. If you happen to be located in one of the more expensive parts of the country, like New York, then real estate can quickly take up your entire budget.
If you desperately need a brick-and-mortar location for your company, ask yourself whether moving to a different destination would help you to cut expenses. Maybe you can get your foot in the door with an up-and-coming area and save some crucial cash on office expenses.
On the other hand, if you don’t get a lot of customers in-person, and handle most of your work online anyway, then it might be a good idea to ditch the physical real-estate altogether and switch to a digital business instead. Allow your team members to work from home and dial into the office through cloud collaboration tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams. You’ll save a fortune on overheads, and you could end up with happier employees too.
2. Keep Staffing Costs to a Minimum
Speaking of staff, it’s important to make sure that you’re only paying for the talent that you need. Although it’s tempting to hire an expert to assist you whenever you’re looking for a new way to grow or maintain your business, you might be able to get a lot of the same work done without spending the cash. For instance, consider investing in a freelance graphic designer whenever you need one, rather than having an artist on staff in-house.
Rather than paying for a bookkeeper to track your income and expenses for you, investing in a service like Xero and QuickBooks. You can align this software with your business and personal bank accounts and use it to track all of your expenses without a professional accountant. That way, you only need to pay for an expert when you need extra help with your taxes at the end of the year.
If you’re running a particularly small business, you might even be able to get your family involved. Ask your wife or husband to help you out by acting as your part-time secretary, instead of hiring your own virtual assistant.
3. Haggle for What You Need
Bartering has been a common practice in many cultures for centuries. For a long time, it was how human beings exchanged goods and services in almost every aspect of their life. If your business needs something, and you can provide something in return – why not look into setting up a trade system. You can find bartering groups on industry forums and social media websites, where people are willing to offer their services as graphic designers or accountants in exchange for the service of a copywriter or blogger.
Obviously, for this strategy to work, you need to be willing to give the people you want to work with something valuable in return. However, if you can find a deal that works for both of you then you could save a lot of money. For instance, maybe you need someone to design the website for your new catering company? In exchange, you could offer them and their team free lunch for as long as it takes to pay off your debt.
Check online for bartering opportunities in your area and look for chances to take advantage of the surplus skill you have on your team.
4. Commit to Regular Comparison Shopping
Everyday consumers can save a fortune each day just by shopping around to make sure that they’re getting the best deal. In the same way, you can save money on running your business by comparison shopping for goods, services and even financial credit. When you need supplies to create your product, make sure that you check with a number of different companies to get a range of quotes to choose from. If you’re looking for an expert to join your team as a contractor, ask various professionals to give you their best deal.
While the cheapest option isn’t always the best – particularly when you’re running a business, comparison shopping gives you a great opportunity to save some money. For instance, if you find five different suppliers that all offer the materials that you need, you could go for someone in the middle that doesn’t provide the cheapest or the most expensive price but does deliver fantastic customer service.
If you have your heart set on working with a specific company, agency or contractor, you can even ask them whether they would be willing to match the quotes that you found elsewhere. You could get lucky – particularly if you’re working with freelancers and offering them regular work.
5. Look for Cheap Advertising Opportunities
Finally, it’s safe to say that all businesses will need to spend at least some money on marketing. However, you don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune to make a big impact on your target audience. Cheap options like social media, which can send plenty of organic traffic to your website – are a great way to get started. You can even write blogs on your website that increase your chances of being found and boost your position on the search engine results.
Influencer marketing, one of the most valuable forms of advertising today, can also be more affordable than you think. If you work with a micro-influencer, rather than a major celebrity, you’ll be able to boost your reputation in your niche, while keeping costs low.