Simple changes to help you save money in crucial start-up stages of your business.
It is common to slowly slip into debt during the start-up stages of a small business, do you want to become another statistic? There are plenty of books and articles showing you how to save money in every aspect of your life but when focusing on saving money in starting your business you may have to get a bit creative. These tips on saving money in the start up stages of your business can be crucial to your business’s success.
It is important that you remember in the beginning stages that you shouldn’t spend money that you do not have this includes credit cards. Putting off making big purchases until you have a steady flow of income is essential.
1. Buy Recycled Printer Cartridges:
Buying recycled printer cartridges is an easy way to save you money. You can check your local listings to see if there is a local supplier near you. You can also find information about recycling and purchasing your cartridges with Eco-Office, they have a list on their website of suppliers that may be in your area.
2. Business Card Printing:
One of the first things a new business owner does is purchase business cards. Many people don’t think about how they can save money with this purchase. A good way to save money is to purchase business cards online rather than a local printing company. Business card printing can be expensive so purchasing in bulk and keeping it simple to start can help you save in the long run. This is a vital marketing technique and should be one of your first purchases.
3. Free Software:
Depending on your business it will be necessary to invest in some type of computer software. A big mistake that new business owners often make is purchasing multiple computer software without doing any research. When you are first getting started it is cheaper to go to the manufacturer’s site and check out the software, most will offer free downloads. You can also check out download.com, which offers many different software options for you to try.
One of the most exciting things about starting your own business is being able to have your own office. That explains why so many new business owners jump into an office contract and is having to figure out how to make those monthly payments. My suggestion is to start out of your home, it may take a little transforming but it will be worth the money you save. By setting up a desk and adding a few office supplies you will be surprised how quickly you can turn that nook in your house into a full out office.
5. Used Office Supplies:
Even though you are starting out with a home-based office you will still need certain appliances to make your business run, even from the beginning. These items are better purchased used. Office supplies such as printers, paper cutters etc. still work perfectly used but the price is cut in half. You can use Google to find office product warehouses in your area that have everything from office furniture to printers and scanners. There are also used office supply websites that offer the same products but, you will have to pay for shipping.
6. Contractor vs. Employee:
An option that many business owners do not consider is hiring an independent contractor as opposed to an employee. When your business is first getting started there will be dips in business, if you have hired employees you will still have to pay them even thought business is slow. When you have a contractor you can hire them on a need basis. A couple perks to an independent contractor is that you only pay per job and they are responsible for filing their own taxes.
7. Business Account:
In starting your business it is important that you open a business checking account so as to keep your home and business finances separate. There are many options to choose from but some banks will offer incentives when opening a business account. Chase offers free money wires and no minimum balance, they have also offered 100$ gift cards in the past when opening a business account. I suggest going in to a few different banks and getting information on their business accounts and what incentives they currently offering.
8. Shop Around:
One of the worst things that you can do when making a purchase is not shopping around. When you are looking to make a purchase whether it is big or small make sure you shop the competition. A good way to do this is to research three different forms. I like to check online, a local well-known store and a smaller local store. Larger commercial stores in your area may be more expensive because of the brand name, where as a smaller local store can be cheaper because of fewer overheads, online prices can vary depending on the company and where it is being shipped.
Marketing is a key form of selling your business to your potential clients. Some business owners go over the top with marketing right out of the gate. Marketing techniques that are free or relatively inexpensive is important to focus on. We have already discussed business cards; another example is word of mouth, when a client is happy they will tell their friends. There is no better marketing then word of mouth and it’s free! Another option for marketing is investing in clothing with your name/logo. Handing out clothing is always a good way to market your business, everyone likes clothing and you are getting a walking billboard.
One of the most important things that can save you money is finding a mentor. A mentor can save you money in so many ways from your office and marketing to who you hire. A mentor has been in your position and you have the benefit to learn from their mistakes. A good way to find a mentor is joining common social networking sites and networking with others in your industry. My suggestion is to join twitter; LinkedIn and Facebook under your business name and start adding friends!
These are only 10 ways that you can save money when starting your small business. These few thoughts are meant to get you thinking about being creative in your spending and saving when you can. These simple lifestyle changes could be the difference in your success.
This post was brought to you by Rachel from BusinessCards.org
Great post, some useful points raised. Regards point 5 I think it’s also worth mentioning that as well as saving money by purchasing used office supplies you can also save £££’s by avoiding the big office supplies brands. All the popular items such as folders, pads, paper and pens will be available in low cost Own Brand or White Boxed versions from any good office supplies company.
Search Google over what mistakes or bad investments your competitors have done. (They usually talk about their mistakes sometimes in blogs and magazines) and don’t do like them.
“Only the foolish learn from experience — the wise learn from the experience of others.”
Be the wise man.
Great post again LuluGal!
I wanted to add something to #2, business card printing. I have recently purchased my own business card paper and made my own cards. This saved at least $50…at least. I also shop around a lot as you suggest. People can save a lot of money when they shop around and don’t spend at the first chance.
There are so many ways for a small business to save money but unfortunately most new business owners don’t know about, thanks for sharing some of these ways
It didn’t used to be that you could get good free software back in the early 2000s and late 90s but thats not the case anymore! So many open source options out there, that its awesome for business and everyone!
I have to agree with your idea of marketing in a frugal way too. With my business, word or mouth and referrals are what bring in sales. Many companies who can master this tactic will not have to spend any money on marketing at least for a while.
Those are some very good tips, Rachel. A lot of people’s spending does spiral out of control at the outset of a new business, leaving them with not much left to go on with. I especially agree with the free software point. There are a lot of free alternatives to traditional software that many just don’t know about. They end up paying a lot of money for say Microsoft office instead, for example. Also a great tip about having a contractor instead of a full-time employee. It’s best to avoid as many liabilities as possible at the start-up phase of the business.
In addition to the tips given above: try bartering! Bartering allows you to improve cash flow and to acquire stuff you would normally pay a lot more for. If you can provide some kind of product (excess inventory?) or service (excess staff?) that another company needs, you can trade it for something you need. Using Barterquest.com for example you can gain more customers (B2B & B2C), get rid of excess stuff, use your capacity more efficient, preserve cash flow and get goods and services at the wholesale price it costs you to produce what you give in trade. And it’s not limited to trading one-on-one: you can pay and get paid with the onsite currency (one point = 1 dollar) which you can spend on buying goods or services from any member of the network.
This is a must for start up companies and even for smart larger companies.
great to know you allow guest posts
I have found that I save a great deal of money on printer ink by simply going to a place that can refill my empty cartridges. Saves me a ton.