It’s the little things that add up – and for small businesses common business expenses can make an uncommonly large dent in your end-of-year profits. So to stay on top of those costs, here’s a list of the top ways to save money on the most common business expenses you’ll encounter.
#1 – Do you really need an office?
When you’re just starting out and depending on the nature of your business, there’s a good chance that you won’t have an immediate need for an office. Most small businesses start from home, but if you do want to avoid ‘taking your work home with you’ then consider sharing an office with other small businesses.
#2 – Could your co-workers Telecommute?
If your business is internet-based or primarily a computer-based enterprise such as software design, web content writing or other creative industries, a simple way of cutting down on your office space costs is to let your co-workers telecommute from home. Remote working can represent a significant cost saving, which is particularly relevant for young businesses.
#3 – Co-working offices and ‘incubator’ space
The concept of co-working offices and ‘incubator’ space is a popular one – these are small rental office areas in a larger complex that provide the very basic equipment for you to get your business started (a desk, a chair and a telephone line is usually about it!) These are considerably cheaper than a conventional office, but be prepared to share your space with lots of other start-ups!
#4 – Do you really need a leather chair?
Keep your furnishing costs down to a minimum to start out. A leather chair might be nice, but do you really need it? Check out reclamation yards and recycling centers for second-hand desks, chairs and basic equipment for a fraction of the cost.
#5 – New tech – VoIP, mobile phones and the paperless office
New technology can represent a great way to save money, so investigate using a VoIP phone system rather than a more expensive conventional land line provider. Ask your mobile phone provider for a better deal on your current tariffs, as you may qualify for discounts you didn’t realize you were entitled to. Digitize as many of your processes as possible, reducing the need for paper, photocopying or scanners.
#6 – Sort your software
Most of your basic office software is provided free by your operating system (such as MS Office), but look out for an accounting software (such as Intuit QuickBooks Online) and other essentials. By checking around on the internet you may be able to find the majority of your start-up essential software for free!
#7 – Watch your travel expenses
Travel costs can quickly mount up so take advantage of special offers from travel agents, collect those Air Miles and book early to grab ‘early bird’ discounts. And always remember to save your receipts!
#8 – Hire a good accountant!
This is one expense you shouldn’t skimp on. A good accountant will be able to make sure you get your tax returns in on time and that you only pay what you have to. Combine this with good accounting software and your finances are in safe hands.
#9 – Insurance and legal costs
Talk to the experts when it comes to insurance and legal costs, and make sure you get good quality, professional advice from the very start.
#10 – Smart marketing – keep your marketing costs down
Utilize free marketing tools as much as possible such as email campaigns, social media, blogging and online techniques. But if you do decide to use ‘traditional’ channels too, don’t let costs run out of control. Split your costs with a willing business partner, work on encouraging your customers to do a ‘word of mouth’ referral campaign and keep design costs to an absolute minimum by using your own talents and graphics software to create your own advertising campaign.
Carlo Pandian is a business graduate and blogs about finance, small business and technology. He is a regular contributor for Dynamic Business and loves sharing tips on bootstrapping, marketing and social media networking.
Image courtesy Ano Lobb. @healthyrx