For the first few years of operating a startup, it’s essential that you curb your spending as much as possible.
It can be tempting to kit out your offices with expensive computers and other equipment to make sure you look the part and throw lavish parties to make connections, but the truth is that the first few years of any business are a precarious time. It’s essential that you curb your spending so that you can invest as much as possible into your core business. This is the only way that you are going to grow something successful.
Luckily, there are some easy ways that startups can save money that won’t compromise how you run your business.
There are lots of business tools out there that can help you to run your business more effectively, and it can be tempting to start subscribing to them all. Before you do that, though, have a look at the tools that are available for free.
Some of the best free tools for startups include:
- G Suite: G Suite is a cloud offering from Google, including documents, spreadsheets, email, file sharing, and slides. Everything you create in G Suite is automatically saved to Google Drive, and it autosaves every few seconds, so you don’t have to worry about losing anything. It’s also incredibly easy to share documents from G Suite, which makes it perfect for collaborative working.
- Google Analytics: If you’re trying to build a web presence (and who isn’t?), then Google analytics is a must. It allows you to analyze visitors to your website so that you can design a more effective SEO campaign. You can see where your traffic is coming from and how long visitors are spending on each page.
- Calendly: This is the perfect solution to those endless back and forths trying to schedule a meeting! Calendly allows you to set times when you are available for calls, which clients can then use to schedule meetings with you. It also integrates with tools like Zoom.
- Mailchimp: Mailchimp is the go-to if you are running any kind of email marketing campaign, and it’s free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails.
- Zoom: We’re all probably pretty well acquainted with Zoom by now! It’s a great tool for small businesses to arrange one on one meetings and meetings with up to 100 participants. The only caveat for the free version is that meetings have to be kept under 40 minutes. Who wants a meeting longer than that anyway?
One of the most difficult things about being a small business owner is that suddenly you have to become an expert in everything. Not only do you have to develop your business idea, but you also have to do your accounts, look after your staff, manage your buildings… the list goes on!
If you want to save yourself time and money, a really good way to do this is to outsource functions like HR, IT, and marketing.
G&A Partners are HR consultants Austin who offer an outsourced HR service for businesses. For a fixed monthly fee, you can have access to the HR expertise that you need without having to shell out for recruitment costs and pay a full-time wage. Small businesses often find that outsourcing their HR requirements is much more cost-effective than recruiting HR staff because you only pay for what you need. Not only that, but you also have ready access to experts in the field, rather than trying to work out the intricacies of payroll and employment law yourself.
Outsourcing means that you save time which you can use on the work that will improve your business and increase your profitability.
Don’t build custom software too early
Businesses can benefit from custom-built software because it means that they have a platform that has been custom designed for them, which is of benefit to them and their customers.
However, it’s worth holding off before investing in your software build as a startup. Although you may think you know exactly what your business needs from its software, the truth is that things you hadn’t previously thought about will always come up once you get started.
Rather than forking out to build your own software, only to have to fork out again to get it redesigned, it’s better to use existing software to start with. Using existing software for a decent amount of time gives you the opportunity to see what is working well and what isn’t. You can then feedback this information into your custom software design a little way down the road so that you don’t spend quite so much time and money working and reworking.
Don’t ask, don’t get
It’s always worth asking for a discount from other businesses because you never know what they might be able to offer you.
The key is to be polite and make it clear that you value what the business has to offer before asking for a discount. Be honest about what your budget is rather than attempting to lowball other businesses for no reason, and they are likely to work with you to come to an agreement. Complaining about the price intimating that you could get their product cheaper elsewhere is not an approach that’s likely to work – you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, after all.
Apply for grants
There are a lot of grants for small businesses available, which definitely warrant some research because they can go a long towards your startup costs. This is particularly true if you are running a green business, creating an innovative product, or if you are a charitable or nonprofit group.
Check your local government website or charities that are related to your sector to see what grants are available.
When you are applying for grants, it’s important to remember that there are likely to be a lot of applicants and only limited funds available. Be sure that you complete your application thoroughly and provide all of the information that is required of you. You can consult with your accountants and other experts to help you.