Starting a business is a tough battle for survival; maximising your money-earning potential is absolutely crucial during the first couple of years of business and beyond. Simple but effective money saving exercises can be the difference between success and failure.
Here are 10 money saving techniques your start up can implement today with immediate results.
1. Find skilled freelancers. Utilising the skills of specialists can help project your start up and improve the quality of your services/products. Online services such as People Per Hour are packed with skilled freelancers, offering their services for very reasonable remuneration. From building your website to designing your letterhead, the site’s freelancers have the skills to help you navigate the important early steps of your start-up business.
2. Take on an apprentice. Alternatively, if you need an extra pair of hands to help with the day-to-day running of the business operations but want to keep costs down, apprenticeship schemes offer affordable employee options. Government schemes encouraging businesses to take on young apprentices can offer start-up businesses a £1,500 grant – helping to cover wages.
3. Cut down delivery costs. Especially helpful for eCommerce business with high delivery overheads – Rapid Parcel compares and contrasts courier prices. Delivery prices can change wildly from one courier to the next, so finding the most cost-effective option can lead to great savings. A fluid approach to courier services can see your business operate with minimal overheads – allowing you to pass the savings onto customers or increase your profit margins.
4. Take to Twitter. Although it can be more time consuming than traditional forms of marketing, Twitter can provide an exceptional and (most importantly) cost effective form of advertising. By following trends relating to your services, you can pinpoint potential customers and appeal to them directly or as part of a greater outreach. Personalise your Twitter marketing, providing value and entertainment in your outreach.
5. Use free services and software. The internet has helped develop a healthy and open marketplace for many services and products. Many useful business tools such as Skype and Dropbox can be acquired simply and free of charge, helping you manage your business effectively and efficiently without any unwelcomed overheads. Every time you think you need a piece of software, search for a free alternative.
6. Work from a virtual desk. Even though a Mr Burns-esque office with balcony overlooking your grounds may be an appealing option, it can be far more cost-effective to work from home or even bed. Even if you take on employees, you can all work remotely – communicating with one another via Skype or email. When meeting customers/clients/potential partners; arrange to meet in the lobby or bar area of a top class hotel – this helps you impart a professional aura at the cost of just a round of lattes.
7. Be time efficient. Your time is arguably the most important commodity when starting a business and you need to value/safeguard this accordingly. Set yourself time restrictions to strictly adhere to. A long, lazy business lunch can waste important hours spent liaising with more potential customers/clients and could be considered a poor use of your time. Set a Schedule Planner on your phone and stick to it strictly.
8. Claim back the VAT. You can claim the VAT back on a wide range of business expenses so it is important you get into the routine of retaining all receipts. Even receipts for small expenses such as stationery should be filed away and claimed against. These small savings can soon amount to large savings and be the difference between a profitable and non-profitable organisation.
9. Build bridges with other businesses. New businesses in particular can benefit from the old mantra: ‘safety in numbers’. Find similar sized businesses in related industries and work in tandem, benefitting all parties. For example: an independent protein shake retailer can partner up with the owner of a small gym, both recommending the other’s services to customers. This helps appeal to relevant audiences at no extra cost.
10. Be personal, available and trustworthy. Customers are only likely to show loyalty to businesses they feel they can trust implicitly. Whilst your start-up may not have managed to build up a reputation for trustworthiness during its short existence, make yourself available to offer advice and guidance. By demonstrating expert knowledge in your field, customers will be more likely to place their trust in you. Additionally, be personable and available to customers – this is one advantage small businesses have over the big boys.