When you're a small business, you don't have the resources the big players do. Here are five easy ways you can save money.
Statistics show that seven in 10 businesses fail, and, no doubt, cash flow, or the lack thereof, plays a huge role in one's success.
No matter how creative, hard-working, and intelligent a business owner is, if cash is scarce, there is no way a business can grow. Many small business owners find themselves in the same boat: chasing investors, believing that's the only way they can get extra money for office laptops, furniture or other necessary items they require for their business.
Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes business owners make in the beginning is not using the right money-saving strategies. Here are five ways you can cut business costs without hiring unqualified workers or making risky moves.
1. Use open source software.
A lot of businesses invest in expensive software that can be easily replaced by free ones. One of the best examples is Microsoft Office Suite that starts at $499 for professional use and is available for one computer. Multiply this by 10, and you've got a hefty bill to pay just for one piece of software.
On the other hand, you can opt for Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, which have most of the features that Microsoft Office offers. Plus, they're free. Some software can't be replaced with free software, but if you're going through a rough month and can't afford to pay the monthly subscription for your software, there is a solution for you as well. Trial versions for many software apps can be downloaded at Softpedia.
2. Downsize your office space.
Downsizing is never any fun, especially if you have plenty of files and documents to store. A smaller office space doesn't have to be a permanent solution, and even if it is, you can free up some space in your office by storing documents or furniture is a business storage unit. Another option is to use flying shelves instead of chunky cabinets to maximize the space available.
3. Hire freelancers remotely.
Perhaps the biggest money-saver is hiring freelancers remotely. If your workers can do the same job that they do in an office from the comfort of their own homes, why would you pay rent, buy furniture and pay for utilities? But the biggest winners are the business owners who can now cut a large part of their business expenses by not investing in office space.
And despite common belief, there are ways you can keep your workers motivated without meeting face-to-face every day. They are plenty of free applications out there that can help you set up weekly meetings. But if you aren't into fancy software, and you want to keep things simple, you can just use Skype.
4. Keep your workers accountable.
Many of us are guilty of this one. We are often busy but not productive. Your workers aren't any different, and they go through many of the same struggles. Being focused on one thing for eight hours per day, every day is no easy task.
According to an article published by Inc., the eight-hour workday makes sense only if you work on an assembly line, not if you do intellectual work.
Rather than require your freelancers or employees to work eight hours each day, advise them to track their productivity and figure out how many hours they can actually concentrate on one task. Often, employees can stay focused and accomplish the same amount of work in less time.
Further, there are many apps available that can help you track where your workers go online, how much time they spend on certain websites and how much time they actually spend working.
5. Re-think your marketing strategies.
Small businesses and startups can't copy what bigger players do when it comes to promoting their products and services. Investing in branding and outbound marketing tactics that might take months to see a return on can seem impossible when you need to pay the bills this month.
Instead of putting your money in advertising, take a simpler approach: Advertise your services on websites like Craigslist. Ask friends and family if they need your help or if they know someone who needs it. Go and search for Facebook groups that are linked to your industry and post on there. Facebook ads are also relatively inexpensive compared to other social media platforms.
In addition, for just a little bit of time and money, you can create a website for your business on platforms like Wordpress or Squarespace where no coding skills are needed.