Starting up a new business is both exhilarating and terrifying – but it doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. With online tools and a solid business plan, you can cut your start-up costs to a more affordable level. This post has been created in collaboration with Nokia Networks to explore the ways that technology and other tools can reduce your costs.
1. Start tracking from the beginning
You don’t have to wait until you’ve made it to start accounting! One of the first ways to stay in control of your finances as you start up your business is to track every penny that you spend. Keep meticulous records from the beginning and you’ll be better able to create a realistic budget going forward. You’ll also be able to see which costs can be cut. Think about office supplies, furnishings, and consultant fees as well as utility and computing costs. Be sure to save your receipts so that you can make deductions when tax time rolls around.
2. Consider working from the cloud
When you’re just starting out, computing is all about scalability. Use the latest technology to find an IT solution that works for your business at any size, like cloud computing. Cloud computing comes in all shapes and sizes, from programs you probably already use like Google Drive and Dropbox to more involved platforms like Heroku or Red Shift. Programs in the telco cloud from Nokia Networks or other providers offer a single platform to manage multiple services. The good part about the cloud is that you can scale it up or down as your business grows, to save money when you are working from a tight budget.
3. Shop around for the best prices on inventory
If you’re starting an e-commerce business, you can sell pretty much anything these days. Sourcing your inventory is a big piece of the puzzle when it comes to working out an affordable budget. There are a number of sources to find stock, from DIY crafts to charity shops if you’re looking for cheap alternatives. Get creative to enjoy wider profit margins.
4. Hire a contract accountant
When you’re on a tight budget, you don’t want to spend a ton of money on a full-time accounting department. On the other hand, if you don’t have any accounting savvy or expertise of your own, it is worthwhile to have an expert eye. Accounting or tax filing mistakes can end up costing you big-time. Hiring a contractor is a happy medium. You can hire a contractor on an as-needed basis, to set up accounting systems for you and answer any pressing questions. This way, you’ll only be paying for the services you need.
5. Prioritise your costs
Before you get launch your business, make a list of all of the things you’ll need. Budget for these, and then rank them in order of importance. You may not need extensive computer or office equipment at first, in comparison to inventory and personnel. Delay costs that aren’t urgent to keep your budget realistic.
6. Use online forms of marketing
If you’re just starting out, you may feel that you don’t have the type of budget that allows for advertising costs. But this is one of the biggest mistakes that new businesses make. If no one knows about your new business, how will you possible start to sell? Word of mouth from friends and family only goes so far! Online marketing is a cost-effective way to get your business off the ground. Look at services like Google AdWords for pay-per-click advertising, or brush upon your search engine optimisation techniques to let the search engines find new clients for you.
7. Outsource some of the work
Finally, don’t be afraid to set aside part of your budget for outsourcing. Like hiring contractors, sometimes an outsider will be able to save you money in the long run due to their expertise. You can focus on the day-to-day operations of your business and ultimately be more efficient in reaching your goals.