Starting a business in this day and age is very challenging.
The market is unstable, target audiences are becoming more and more unpredictable and no one can guarantee that you’ll succeed, even if you do everything by the book.
I have seen many brilliant business ideas fail, and a lot of those that don’t seem very good or innovative somehow succeed, so there are no rules, you need to be highly resourceful and just go with it.
However, there’s one thing you can and should be smart about—money.
Until you have enough so that you can start being generous with it, you need to worry about your family, employees and yourself, by taking good care of the money flow around your office.
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Do Not Settle
Everything is negotiable. To find the true value of something, you need to be extremely persistent. My suggestion is not to settle for any initial price. You should start with your landlord; the thing is that you’re in that office to stay, and that kind of long-term contract should come with a discount, right?
In this situation, you need to be able to find your leverage, and you mustn’t take no for an answer. Negotiate with your suppliers, find common ground with your partners and be perfectly honest with your clients. Money is a strong motivating factor nowadays, and it affects the quality of the work that needs to be delivered. It’s as simple as that.
For this to work out, you need to adopt or additionally develop certain people skills. Getting familiar with the business body language should be your base, and you should climb up from there by simply talking to people and expanding your knowledge of human behavior with practice.
Move to Online Advertising
It’s the cheapest and the most efficient way of advertising, and it’s quite silly for a small business to pay ridiculous prices to have their ad air on national TV, for example.
It’s not where your target audience is, and it’s not what you need. Instead of wasting your resources, you should work on your online presentation and move on to social platforms, where you can find exactly who you’re looking for and more importantly, they can find you.
Software Instead of People
This is the time to create and search for smart tools that will save you time, energy and money. I know this “Software instead of People” subheading sounds a bit cruel, but you can’t argue with the fact it’s a smart business move.
For example, having a project manager requires you to pay them month after month. On the other hand, getting a piece of software like Zoho Projects, Basecamp or Easy Redmine, all of which are capable of organizing practically any type of business, will cost you a lot less. It’s simple math, really.
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Cut Down on Supplies
Most business make the same mistake of ordering a recommended quantity of office supplies that usually end up being lost, stolen or forgotten in a desk drawer.
I know that a pen and a stapler don’t sound like much, but if you take some time and calculate your expenditure on a yearly base, I’m sure you’ll be surprised by the numbers and you’ll think of at least 10 different ways of how you could have used that money better. Besides, I’m sure that laptops can replace papers, pens and staplers 90 percent of the time.
Grow With Your Employees
Experienced employees are often underpaid in a small office. When that happens, their performance decreases significantly because their knowledge isn’t fully appreciated in your conditions.
That’s not the only reason why you shouldn’t put experience on the top of your list when looking for employees. It’s also overrated. There are many smart people out there who are jobless, who learn fast and who have a lot of energy to contribute. The best thing is that you can grow together. You as a business and they as professionals.
There’s one other way to get help and not drain your funds while doing it. Get interns. It’s a quite obvious solution and a win-win situation. Your interns will get a closer picture of how working in the real world is, and you can outsource the simpler part of your overall work to them so that you can focus on more important things.
Protect Your Interests
Not only do you need to build your empire, but you also need to protect what you have created so far. Small investments like installing security cameras, get a smartphone insurance plan and insisting on having a contract for everything you do and everyone you do it with may not seem like an important thing to do at a given moment.
However, protecting your property, your secrets and binding your employees and partners legally is nothing more than doing smart business.
Go Green and Recycle
Other than being a PR move a really wide audience responds to, going green and devoting a small amount of your time to a simple matter such as recycling, is a responsible and a very adult thing to do. Besides, recycling outdated pieces of technology and office supplies will cut down your overall expenses significantly.
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Keep Your Expenses in Line
If your area of expertise, and your business for that matter, are nowhere close to accounting, my sincere advice is to outsource this task to experts. Face it, it will cost you a lot less than financial failure, and it’s better not to mess with money if you’re not properly trained to handle it.
None of these things are mind-blowing hacks about saving money, but that’s exactly the point. There are none. Instead of rushing into growth hacking and finding shortcuts right away, you should try creating a fairly stable business environment and climb your way up from there.