by Tony Campbell, founder and managing partner at WhichVoIP.com
Setting up your own business involves a lot of start-up costs, many of which you may not have even been aware of when you first launched. If you go into business without fully preparing for these costs, you may find that they take you by surprise, which can cause you unexpected problems.
Here are some ways that you can make some small but important savings in various areas of your business to ensure your money goes further when you are just starting out.
Save on Your Printing Costs.
Printing is one of those things that nearly all businesses have to do, but the costs over the months and years can add up when you consider not only the equipment but also the constant need for paper and toner. However, there are ways to make savings.
You could start by creating a printing policy that encourages staff to print documents as a last resort and to use draft mode for all but the most important documents. Help them to do this by installing software solutions that make it easier to communicate and share documents online rather than by printing documents.
You could also encourage staff to reuse paper by printing on both sides, and you may be able to make even more savings by seeking out the best places to buy toner at the best prices. Techradar.com provides more advice on saving on your printing setup.
Know When to Outsource.
Outsourcing is an extra expense, so if there is no need to outsource a task and you can do it yourself, then this is often the best option if your budget is tight. However, there are situations when you may benefit from outsourcing certain tasks.
For example, if you do not have the skills in-house (e.g. web design, online marketing) but you want to ensure a professional end result, outsourcing may be a good investment. It could also allow you to spend more time on other more important areas of your business, so always weigh up the pros and cons.
Use Free and Cheap Options where Available.
Always be on the lookout for free and cheap alternatives where they are available. For example, some of the most popular software often comes with a free version, and you may be able to start with these instead of spending money on the full versions. If you don’t absolutely need the premium versions, don’t spend money on them. You may find other free or cheap alternatives for banking, business cards, email services, and more, so always keep an eye open for savings.
Save On Your Phone System.
Setting up a telephone system can be an expensive undertaking, but it needn’t have to be. A landline system can be the most expensive option because you will need equipment like PBX hardware, and you will also have to pay maintenance costs. For small startups, this is often not feasible.
Another more affordable option comes in the form of a VoIP system. Voice over Internet Protocol works over your internet connection, and it is often more affordable than a landline system. It comes with a wide range of advanced features, and you can also use a hosted solution so you only pay a monthly expense. This makes it particularly flexible.
Make sure you compare providers because they all offer different things and they come at different price points. Use a service like WhichVoIP.com to help you find the most suitable option for your business.
Rent Reasonable Office Space.
You may simply not have the funds for a large office, so stick to somewhere small, affordable, and functional instead. After all, you can always move into new space when your business becomes successful. The same goes for office equipment. Could you make more savings by using secondhand chairs, desks, and even computer equipment?
Save on Energy Costs.
Gas and electricity can become a large outgoing for small businesses, so shop around to find the best deal, and this can save you lots of money over the coming months and years. Don’t pay a dollar more than you need to for your energy costs, and review your contract every year to find out if it is worth changing it.
In addition, encourage more sensible use of energy. There are many ways to save energy at work, including switching off lights and turning off computers, and these can all help to make savings over the course of a year.
Keep a Close Eye on Your Cash.
These are all ways that you can make savings when you are starting your business, so try to follow as many of them as you can. Entrepreneur.com has some additional suggestions on how to use technology to cut your business expenses. Perhaps the most important thing of all is to simply ensure you keep a very close eye on all the money that you are spending. Check your accounts regularly and work out where you are spending the most money, and constantly think of new ways that you could be making savings. That way you will always ensure that you are only spending what you need to.
Tony Campbell is a founder and managing partner at WhichVoIP.com, a leading resource for information and advice on technology solutions. Tony is an Internet/tech entrepreneur and has spent over 20 years working in networking and telecommunications. Follow Tony on Google+.