Editor’s note: Enjoy this article from Mary Baker, from Get Your Biz in Order. She’s got some rich tips for small business owners who want to spend wisely.
As entrepreneurs, we all like to see our revenue grow, right?
If you’ve ever started your own business you know that increasing revenue doesn’t come without an investment of hard work; and burning the candle at both ends of the stick from time-to-time!
Every business requires working hard to get it up and running, even if the objective is to eventually produce passive income.
You can find many articles, books, and publications about how to run a business. Unfortunately, no one ever explains how to grow your business more efficiently.
There are plenty of ways to save money without working harder and investing more of your hard earned money. You just have to think outside the box and get creative with your spending.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some ideas to get you started.
Save Money in your Business without Working Harder
1. Free advertising – Don’t waste postage. Include your advertising with other mailings when it makes sense. If you’re sending out invoices include promotional advertisements, such as a brochure, or business cards, in the same envelope. Have some type of advertisement on everything that goes out of your business, for instance, you might also have a coupon printed on the bag you provide to customers at the point of sale.
2. Joint venture advertisement – Split advertising and promotion costs with other local businesses. Jointly promote each other’s businesses with specials. In some situations it may make sense to share your mailing list with a business that sells matching goods or services. Obviously, make a wise and ethical decision. Sharing such lists may not work in all situations.
3. Ask your clients for referrals – The cheapest way to get new clients is by referrals from your current clients. People will tend to use your goods or services if they are referred by someone they know. Create some type of referral program for your business and let your clients know. They will be more than happy to get something extra from you for free. Sometimes all you have to do is ask!
4. Be an expert – Teach a class at the local library or write an article for the local paper will highlight your skills, position you as a subject matter expert and will bring attention to your business. Everybody wants to do business with the local expert!
5. Start chatting or blogging – Find groups that cater to your audience, and join the crowd. Start posting on social media or blogging about your product or service. As you add value online, people will visit your website or brick and mortar store because of your expertise and the value you bring. Don’t forget that blogging and social media posting are free advertising for your business.
6. Buy used equipment and furniture – Save half the price by buying used computer equipment, copiers and office furniture from office supply stores. Craigslist is a good source for used office equipment and furniture.
7. Free forms – Instead of paying for office forms at the store or spending your precious time creating them, you can find free forms online that you can download, customize and print. Free forms not only save you time, it saves you money because now you can invest your time on other things in your business that are focused on growth. Just Google the free forms you’re looking for.
8. Be mobile – If you can operate your business mobile, why rent an office? Going to your clients’ locations instead of them coming to you this will save you money in overhead cost in the long run. Many people office at Starbucks these days which has free Wi-Fi.
9. Save by membership – When looking for discount, check the groups you are a member of which may have discounts to major stores and services. For example, I’m a member of a group that has a contract with UPS where I get a discount for shipping services.
10. Hire temp help – Instead of paying for employees who are sitting around doing nothing when business is slow, hire temporary employees during your busy season. You can pay temporary employees less than you pay your permanent employees. Also consider hiring freelancers on sites like freelancer.com or odesk.com.
11. Hire free help – Get free help by hiring local college students as interns. Your local colleges have a list of students that needs to fulfill graduation requirements by working intern hours. The best way to pay them is writing a letter of recommendation for them when they are applying for a job.
12. Use independent contractors – Use independent contractors when you can, but be careful they are not employees. You will save money by not paying employment taxes or any fringe benefits for contractors. You can save employment for when your business really takes off and grows well down the road.
13. Free information – Rather than pay for a course to learn something new about your business, use your local public library to get information. The library is free and usually has the most up to date information on any industry. The library offers free computer courses that you and your staff can attend. You can also follow blogs in your field of business as well as well as use Google to conduct research.
14. Use the barter system – Exchanging your product or service with another business helps with your cash flow. This frees up your cash for you to do other things in your business. “A dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow.”
15. Never take a cash advance – Never take a cash advance on your credit card because it will cost you more than the cash you are taken. Why pay more for the money you are getting? If you need to take a cash advance that means you cannot afford it, it’s that simple. Don’t waiver on this. With many businesses failing in the first few years, you certainly don’t want debt working against you.
Now it’s your turn! As a business owner, or even someone who is aspiring to be one, what are some creative ways to save without investing more of your own time and money?
Mary Baker, from Get Your Biz in Order, is the founder of “Get Your Biz in Order” she teaches business owners how to increase their businesses’ net worth without working harder. Mary is the “financial social worker” to business owners who need to get their business in order, financially and functionally.
Photo credit: Giorgio Montersino