Ask the Advisor is a PaySimple column featuring reader-submitted small business questions answered by our panel of business professionals. If you would like to submit a question, or become a PaySimple business advisor, please read the information at the bottom of this article.
This week’s question is answered by Will Myers, from Money Crashers, a personal finance website.
“I just started my new business. How do I keep my costs from ballooning out of control?”
Firstly, if you’re a new small business owner, you should be applauded! It might not seem like this is the most economically friendly environment in which to launch a new venture – and even though you can still succeed, you have to monitor and cut costs as much as possible. Here are seven ways to do so.
1. Take Full Advantage of Social Media Marketing
When it comes to the marketing of your business, you have plenty of options – most of which cost money. One that requires more time and effort than dollars from your business, is social media marketing. Start by launching accounts on Facebook and Twitter, and build your audience there with engaging posts and pictures about your services and skills. Then, as time permits, explore other options such as Pinterest, Google Plus, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. All have a variety of different benefits. Just be sure to care for your accounts by responding to all comments, and share only your best and highest quality content frequently.
2. Reduce Office Supply Costs
Around back-to-school time each year, many office supply retailers offer plenty of supplies you can use for your business, either heavily discounted or for free after a 100% cash back rebate program. These sales may happen at other times of the year as well. Sign up for the rewards program and the email newsletter. Typical items for free with a cash back rebate include printer paper, batteries, pens, pencils, and notebooks.
3. Barter Your Skills for Services You Need
Need help with your social media strategy? Instead of paying for professional help, post that need (or any other) on a bartering website. Just understand that you need to offer something in return. Select an area you know a lot about – web design or accounting, for example – and get what you need by offering your own expertise and skills.
4. Educate Yourself on Tax Breaks
There are plenty of tax deductions available for new small businesses – so don’t miss any of them. If you work from home, you might qualify for the home office deduction – just be sure to carefully research the requirements. Some business travel expenses can be written off, as can the costs of purchasing some furniture and office equipment.
5. Remain a Solopreneur as Long as Possible
If you launched your business solo, keep things that way as long as possible. By effectively managing your time and investing in the right tools, you can be the customer service rep, the accountant, and the marketing wizard. However, if you bring on an employee before you truly need one, they may end up costing you more than you can afford.
6. Cut the Cost of Other Advertising Efforts
If you have the funds to advertise your business beyond social media, be prudent about how you spend your money, and partner up with another local small business owner. For instance, say you launched a housecleaning business and you know of a handyman service near you. By creating dual advertising initiatives, both you and the other owner save big time, and can reach many more people than if you advertised solely on your own.
7. Green Your Business
Go paperless, purchase energy efficient appliances and tech for your business, have your office audited for energy savings, and allow telecommuting if you have employees. All of these methods save money, and also allow you to do your part to improve the environment.
Once you start to see a bit more money in your business checking account, make sure those funds are allotted to areas where your business needs them the most. Can you beef up your marketing? If sales are going rather well, can you purchase more inventory? Take a good hard look at your business and make the right choice when it comes to spending these new savings. When you do it right, your business will certainly benefit.
What additional ways do you save money running your business?
About the Advisor
Will Myers is an entrepreneur and online business owner who shares his thoughts on technology, finance, and e-commerce.
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