Going at it alone? Managing your outgoings as a young company is hard. There will be loads of up front costs to manage, especially if you take on staff early on. You might find yourself in the red very fast. Spending money as a young business is a skill that takes time, but there are some things that you can start to do right now. Here are some key things that you can do to save money when you enter the business world.
Rough It & Don’t Sweat It
We all know that a good environment to work in is the best way to produce quality work. But in the initial stages of starting your business, cut the costs and rough it for a little while. You will have plenty of time for fancy zen gardens later on in your career.
- Don’t opt for expensive private office space if you can make do with a co-working space at first. Co-working spaces are very easy to come by and there are loads of great options out there. Instead of always working in your bedroom, you could be at a desk with other entrepreneurs five days a week.
- Weigh up the benefits of having a polished work environment. Will it really make a difference to clients at this stage? If your office isn’t up to scratch, you can have meetings in rented rooms or neutral public spaces instead.
- Kit out your office space on a budget. Opt for second hand desks from a discount store or craigslist.
Let Go Of The Little Things
Monitor all of your outgoings, paying special attention to the little costs. Stuffs adds up, and most of it is not essential. Did you really need that vanilla latte from Starbucks? You could have just made your own.
- Learn to recognise what costs are necessary, and which ones can be trimmed. You might need to spend money on impressing an important first client, but make sure you’re spending it on the right things.
- Think substance, not frills. Make sure you invest in kit that will allow you to do your job better, not just look good.
Get Smart With Supplies
Be smart with your supplies to save money.
- Consider renting expensive equipment like computers at first, but be aware of hidden costs like interest. A lease might be a better option as you will eventually own the kit yourself. By renting, you are paying for a rapidly deprecating asset with no guarantee of ownership.
- Try to buy all stationery and office supplies in bulk. This will save you lots of money and will keep you stocked up.
- Buy stuff ‘in advance’. Plan for the future when shopping and use deals to get supplies that can sit and wait for the next step. In start ups, there is rapid change and you will need it before you know it.
Your Contacts = Free PR
See who is already around you.
- Don’t neglect the power of hyper local PR (word of mouth) and get active in your local community. Give back and let others in on your business journey. Offer support and advice and focus on creating a positive ‘brand me’.
- You probably already know loads of useful people, but maybe you weren’t asking the right questions. Put your start up out there more and see what comes back.
- Don’t ‘milk it’. No one likes a desperate and clingy entrepreneur begging for referrals. Use caution and trust your gut.
Become Your Own Marketing Guru
Cut costs by doing your own marketing at first. Eventually you might need to outsource, but get good at marketing from day one. See it as part of your branding exercise and don’t get bogged down in vacuous jargon. At its core marketing is about what you do best and how to best communicate this.
- Get all your touch points like your business cards and website sorted early on. Start somewhere simple and let it grow from there.
- Attend conventions and spread the word about your company.
- Set up and handle your own social media accounts.
If you are not quite ready to hire full-time staff, offer out work experience placements or internships to get another pair of hands to tide you over. Just make sure you’ve got an experience worth giving to someone.
- Internships aren’t excuses for free labour and you should always pay people for their time.
- Make sure you can handle all the responsibilities of managing interns.
Embrace the Outsource Mentality
Don’t waste your time and money completing tasks at a slow rate. Look to freelancers to keep your business running smoothly. Freelancers can take on your writing or coding, or you can outsource your admin tasks to a virtual PA.
- Don’t give away everything straightway. Learn how to manage business secrets and get non disclosure agreements over anything that is your IP.
- Managing outsourcing contracts and freelancers takes up a lot of time. Don’t forget that you’ll still need to manage and guide people, even if they are ‘virtual’.
- Temporary contracts are great, but they don’t build trust or commitment. Be clear on where you stand and don’t expect the Earth if someone only signed up for a square mile.
Starting your own business shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. You just need to be smart with your money and learn how to keep costs to an absolute minimum. Once your business grows, you will be able to expand and build a strong and successful company. Attitude is everything so treat every penny as if it was your own, and you will cut costs in no time. Is there anything you have done to save money when starting your own business? Let us know in the comments below.