29 April, 2019

Cut Startup Costs? Yes, Please! 12 Small Business Ideas to Save Big Money

Your startup has a limited runway unless you lucked out and got funding. This means you need to pinch every penny to reach the market.

What's the problem with startups and funding? Hype.

In the excitement of launching the business, it's very easy to get caught up in spending. Suddenly, those small business ideas become limited because you're running low on funds. You begin cursing yourself spending frivolously versus investing in the resources that matter.

What can you do to keep budgets on point? What are ways to cut back and save big money during the startup phase? Stick with this post because we've got 12 awesome financial ideas to extend that runaway.

But First! Do a Startup Expense Audit

You can't truly save money unless you know where it's coming and going. A business expense audit is what you'll use to uncover the ins and outs.

The common reasons for cash flow issues are usually:

  • Improper organisation of resources
  • High employee turnover
  • Makeshift bookkeeping and accounting errors
  • Failing to operate within legal bounds

You may also lose money because of timing issues. Or, simply going overboard with spending on resources you don't need to operate. 

It's time to check the books:

  1. Import (or pull up) all business expenses
  2. Categorise them by type, priority, and value
  3. Assess if the items are a necessity

This is no different than personal finances except on a larger scale. You should see some immediate red flags eating away at your business expenses.

Keeping Small Business Ideas Manageable: The Best Ways to Save on Business Costs

Okay, you did the audit and found a few simple things worth removing. But, you want to keep cutting costs so you're lean and agile. What else can you do?

1. Bring the Content in House

In-source your content marketing efforts by letting employees do it. In doing so, you're letting knowledgeable employees create topics they're familiar with. They answer questions all day -- why not let them make a blog post about it?

Suggestion: Create a list of FAQs, let employees answer, and transcribe their response.

2. Buy In Bulk

Make a list of your frequently bought items -- which may include:

  • Print materials
  • Office supplies
  • Furnishings

Check wholesalers for bulk deals on these typical items. You'll shave money when buying and create uniformity at the office.

Suggestion: Go to the source and buy through Alibaba or Aliexpress.

3. Use Open Source Software

Open source software is free and without monthly subscription costs. You can find OSS equivalents for just about every app you'll use in business. Refer to this list of open source software to get a start in freeing your capital.

Suggestion: Search Google for "your software" + "open source".

4. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Do as you would at home -- like:

  • Turning off lights when not in use
  • Using programmable thermostats
  • Printing in draft mode and on waste paper

Bring the principles of going green in business to your operations. You'll help the environment while cutting common costs.

Suggestion: Create contests encouraging employees to reduce their wastes.

5. Offer Telecommuting

Fewer people on-site means you can get away with a smaller office. And, by that way, use fewer resources per employee.

Consider opening telecommuting for these roles:

  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Customer Support
  • Developer

You'll let employees save money and improve their moods!

Suggestion: Set up remote logins and dictate tasks through project management tools.

6. Or, Outsource What You Can

Outsource to contractors if you want to keep costs low. In doing so, you can save on insurance and other employee associated costs. Check local contractors or freelance marketplaces to find the services you need.

Suggestion: Consider tasks like accounting or graphic design.

7. Hire Young, Train Well

The youth are itching for experience and bring a lot of knowledge. Their agile lifestyle is a perfect fit for a startup. You'll save because they're fresh to the industry and through internal training.

Where can you find new talent? Try:

  • Online job listings
  • Recommendations
  • Family members or friends

Offer a great onboarding process and they'll fit in real quick. Then, give them the tools to learn -- like online courses -- to let them grow from within.

Suggestion: Put job listings around college campuses for young talent.

8. Test Fulfilment Services

Get your physical products closer to its buyers to save on logistics. Use fulfilment services to house and ship your products. This means less space needed for inventory while capturing better shipping services deals.

Suggestion: Look into Fulfilment by Amazon or a company in your desired areas.

9. Turn Customers into Salespeople

Adding an affiliate marketing backend rewards participants with every sale. In doing so, you'll create an army of salespeople. Your costs are a percentage of each sale and the program's management.

You'll also save by removing your need for hired salespeople or sales services.

Create one like this:

  1. Sign up for an affiliate platform
  2. Set the affiliate rates and tracking
  3. Provide marketing materials

Each participant can then share their unique link on their sites and social. You both win if they help create a sale!

Suggestion: Explore platforms like ShareASale or CJ by Conversant.

10. Buy Used Equipment

Give a second life to office equipment by buying used. You'll likely find common office items for 30 - 50% off their retail price. You can further increase savings by buying in bulk!

Suggestion: Check for closing businesses and offer a deal for their wares.

11. Use VoIP

Telecom systems are quite expensive when your workforce grows. VoIP offers a cheap alternative in both hardware and calling rates. Plus, you could add a BYOD policy letting employees use VoIP with their hardware.

Suggestion: See our VoIP packages to learn about what it offers.

12. Offer a Wellness Program

Happy, active employees will bring that energy to their work. A wellness program gets employees up and moving, and eating right.

Improving their health means they'll miss fewer days. Plus, their good spirits bring enthusiasm to your customers. The good spirits rub off on customers, often culling more business from them -- meaning more income!

Suggestion: Explore wellness program services or start a routine in-house.

You Are Clear for Takeoff

Realising your small business ideas takes more than being unique or first to the market. You need to build real business skills -- one of them being budgeting. 

Use what you've learned in this post to cut back on spending. Then, reinvest into resources that show the highest return on investment. Each business is different so use your audit and judgment to make the right decision.

That said... we can certainly help!

A coworking space lowers expenses and offers valuable access to talent and resources. Get in touch. Let's talk about our coworking space memberships and see how it could be the key to your business success.

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