Sure, you love your small business; it allows you to work on your own terms, control your hours, and pursue your passion. But there’s one problem: you constantly worry about money at the end of each month. If you can’t manage your expenses, no amount of passion can save your business. Try these tips to avoid overspending and get back to the work you love.
Change Your Workforce
Think about it: do you really need permanent staff? Salaried employees incur more liabilities and taxes (and even more office drama) simply by working with you every day. Hiring outside workers allows you to customize skills and labor to each project without committing to long-term employees (and if one doesn’t work out, you deal with fewer hard feelings, too). Temporary workers come in many forms; try virtual assistants for administrative tasks, independent contractors or temp employees for specialized projects, interns for menial or hands-on work, and commission-based workers for sales jobs.
Take Marketing to the Web
If you haven’t made an effort to build an online presence yet, drop everything and start now. Many of the best outlets for reaching your customers online cost little or no money — plus, you can react quickly to business trends and talk directly to regular and prospective clients. Build your own website and reference it on company letterhead and emails (and anywhere else people will see your business name). Speaking of email, abandon your paper mailers and send email newsletters with sites such as MailChimp. Build social media accounts to reach customers on their level instead of using outdated print ads. If you need money for big projects, try crowdfunding through sites such as Kickstarter. And if you only run a physical storefront, consider selling items online with the help of PayPal or Amazon.
Slash Small Expenses
Image via Flickr by reynermedia
The little things do add up quickly — and if you paid attention to them, you could avoid hundreds (or thousands) of dollars in monthly expenses. Before you make any cuts, check your monthly budget for wasteful activity and ask staff where they see leaks in company spending. Don’t neglect the minute details; some business owners found savings by replacing bottled water with a water cooler, using scanned documents instead of faxing them, or substituting Styrofoam plates with dishes and silverware. These small changes can greatly reduce your environmental impact while lowering monthly bills.
If your business requires extensive travel, you know that costs can add up quickly — but a few small changes can dramatically cut your monthly travel expenses. If you fly out-of-town often, you may benefit from airline and hotel loyalty programs, as well as credit cards that accrue points or miles. For road warriors, try rent-as-you-go services like Zipcar instead of purchasing a company vehicle that sits idle for most of the month; ride-share programs such as Zimride can also lower gas and maintenance fees. Research extra tax breaks outside of typical travel expenses, since you may be able to make partial deductions from meals or tips on the road. Of course, staying at home cuts more travel costs than anything; try video chats with Skype or FaceTime to avoid a suitcase altogether.
Manage Money Online
Between credit cards, everyday expenses, and taxes, losing track of payments could land you in trouble. By using your computer and smartphone to watch your monthly funds, you’ll ensure you won’t forget a single dollar. Download FREE financial apps like Mvelopes in order to help you stay on top of your personal finances and always be on the same financial page with your spouse, regardless of where you are!
Turn that passion for your small business into action; you can make dozens of adjustments to lower your monthly costs without sacrificing excess time or money. With changes to your employees, marketing, travel, and finance management, you can get back to focusing on more important work.