Unless you’re a big company like Google, Apple, or Facebook – and if you’re reading this, then you’re not – then you’ll most likely have your business finances pretty close to the forefront of your mind. If only, if only we could make sure our money was in a sound position, we could make progress with all those bigger plans we had for our company, I hear you cry. That’ll come, in time. In the meantime, let’s take a look at where you can save money. Remember: a penny saved is a penny earned, and where will that saved penny be going? Right into your profits, of course.
Keep the Undesirable Address
We are certain that a desirable address right in the heart of Manhattan would give your business a boost, and also many more customers. It’ll also leave you bankrupt. OK, most people don’t have such grand ambitions (the location, not the bankruptcy) for their small business, but they do sometimes get into their head that they should have an address that puts them on the map in any small way. But the truth is, in the digital age it’s unnecessary. Keep working from your home or coworking spaces around your city until you’re fully established. If you absolutely must have that cool zip code, make the most of those postal forwarding address services that give you the “location”…without the location.
You’ve got a decent budget for your business, and what’s the first thing you’re going to do when you need to replace the essential hardware…buy loads of cool technology, of course! No, no, NO! That’s the inner chimp in you coming out, and he or she is saying “now wouldn’t that look cool in your fancy new office?” Shut that chimp back where they belong, because you positively do not need to have the latest and best tools to do a stellar job. Instead, buy refurbished computers: they’ll work just as well, look as new, and cost much less. Also, take a look at cloud computing and free, third party software. There’s plenty of great software developers out there giving their products out to the world for free, use them!
Shop Around For Communication
You should always be looking around for ways to get a cheaper deal for your communications (phone, fax, internet) packages. Why? Because they’re always getting cheaper, and new technology is even ensuring you don’t even need a phone line anymore unless you really want one. Every few months, take a look at what you’re spending and then take advantage of any introductory offers with rival providers. It’ll almost certainly save you money.
Company Car? No Chance
We’re sure that, if you’re reading this article, you’re probably not thinking about investing in a company car. Even if you’re in the business of holding meetings all over town, it’ll be a bad idea to get a company car unless you also already need one in your personal life. If you live in any sort of urban area, then public transport and taxis will get you around town just fine. And then there’s also car sharing services, such as zipcar and the like, which is akin to having a vehicle without the costs (and the responsibility!)
What Have You Already Got?
Most small businesses don’t realise that they probably have much more than they think they do…it’s just tied up in other things, such as invoices, stock, and old infrastructure. If you’ve got a large part of your company’s finances wrapped up your client’s wallets, then look at invoice finance providers and get the money without having to wait. Similarly, excess stock is a grand excuse for a fire sale – you’ll reclaim some (not all, obviously) of its worth and clear some space at same time. Also, any old computers and the like should be sold, not thrown away!
Organic Online Growth
It goes without saying, we hope, that you should be putting time and money into marketing your business. But it’s important to use your money in the right way. Most of the things people spend relating to marketing can be acquired for free – all you need to give is your time. Make the most of Facebook, Twitter, et al – they’re not all the marketing you need, but they’re not far off and if you use them wisely, you’ll get all the followers you need without spending a penny. When you do spend money on marketing, make sure it’s to market to a rigorously defined demographic. Throwing money on marketing to anyone and everyone is a waste of money.
It is odd that most people tend to run their company on their intuition…only until they find a weekend hosted by a brilliant guru, and then they’re more than willing to fork over big money to get ahead of the business curve. In reality, you should always be learning if you’re in charge of a business – but you shouldn’t be spending money on it. There are plenty of resources – some free online courses by universities, some online blogs by entrepreneurs – that’ll ensure you’re learning new things. Make the most of them.
This is a big one, because hiring the wrong person can be a huge waste of company money. And when money’s tight, you need to get it right. Before you hire someone, ask yourself if it’s really necessary. It can be more cost effective to hire freelancers to take care of individual tasks, and then sometimes it’s better to hire part-time rather than full-time. You’ll know what’s right for your business, but we’re just saying…make sure you think about it carefully.
What Are You Spending?
And finally, there’s no better way to keep on top of your finances than by actually keeping tabs on where exactly your money is going. Even small expenditures can stack up pretty quickly, so if you’re going through a particularly lean period, take a look at what you’re spending money on and see what can be cut. Odds are, there’s plenty of places you’re leaking cash – make sure they’re patched up.