Starting a business requires some investment capital, but new business owners often have a hard time telling the difference between sound investments and unnecessary expenses. There are many ways small businesses wind up wasting money as a result. Read on to find out about a few ways that small business owners can save money by cutting back on unnecessary expenses.
Using Services Designed for Established Businesses
Small business owners should find services that target their demographics. One great example of this can be seen in phone services. While well-established businesses that already have tons of customers need many dedicated lines, small business owners are better off finding a phone service for businesses that are just getting off the ground.
Choosing a phone service provider that specializes in working with small business owners will give business owners all the benefits of having a dedicated phone service for their companies without the unnecessary expense of dozens of dedicated lines. This will allow business owners to pay for only what they need.
Outsourcing Too Many Tasks
There are some tasks that need to be outsourced to experts. It makes sense to outsource things like copywriting, marketing, and technical support, but it’s easy for business owners to get carried away. As a general rule, if the company’s employees are capable of completing a task themselves, it usually makes more sense to delegate the task to someone within the company.
There are a few ways to determine whether a task truly needs to be outsourced. Focus on outsourcing specialized services and commodity services and before outsourcing, find out if there are any employees already on the payroll who could handle the tasks.
Certain types of marketing are more effective for businesses working in certain industries. While social media marketing is great for companies that focus on providing products or services for younger consumers, a company that makes products designed for seniors would be wasting its money by advertising on Instagram.
Choosing marketing campaigns that will offer maximum return on investment requires an in-depth understanding of the company’s target audience. Figure out who will be buying the product or using the service first, then come up with a marketing plan that will target those consumers. There’s just no sense in wasting money marketing to people who will never become customers or clients.
Too Many Staff Members
Larger businesses can afford to hire managers for every small area of their companies’ operations. For small business owners, hiring too many staff members will leave owners struggling to pay everyone and still turn a profit. Most employees prefer a diverse workload than to focus on one tiny area of the company’s operations.
The best way to figure out if it’s time to downsize the staff is to have each current employee write up a description of what he or she does. If there’s a lot of overlap or it seems like some employees aren’t doing very much work, business owners may be able to merge several roles into one job so they can cut down on costs. This will also encourage employees to perform at their full capacity and make them feel as if they are more valued by the company.
Using Fancy Equipment and Technology
Technology progresses at an astounding rate. Small business owners can wind up in debt in no time if they’re prioritizing keeping up with every technological trend over sticking to their budgets. It’s rarely necessary for businesses that are just getting off the ground to purchase the latest, greatest software, hardware, and equipment.
Purchase only what equipment and software are necessary to get the business off the ground, then upgrade as it grows and thrives. Don’t make impulse purchases or buy equipment based only off fancy but unnecessary features. It can cut into profits and take money away from other areas of the business that legitimately need extra capital.
There’s nothing wrong with taking out a business loan to pay for necessities. In fact, most small business owners need to take out loans to get up and running. These loans come with a ton of interest, though, so business owners should keep their borrowing to a minimum.
If that means growing the business more slowly, that’s fine. It makes more sense to wait until the company is expanding to invest in a larger space, newer technologies, and increased hiring. This can help business owners avoid taking out excessive loans and winding up with exorbitant interest payments.
Purchasing Things that Should Be Built Naturally
This unnecessary expenditure occurs almost entirely online. While it makes sense to pay for marketing services, it makes little sense to pay for things like Facebook likes, email lists, or fake reviews. Some business owners erroneously think working with disreputable services that offer to generate hype on social media and review sites will give them a leg up as they build organic support, but this just isn’t true.
Modern consumers are smarter than some business owners think.
They will not fall for fake reviews or start purchasing from a company just because its page has hundreds of random likes on Facebook. It’s much more cost-effective, and more effective in general, to come up with an effective white hat marketing campaign and wait for it to produce results than it is to rush things along by paying for fake reviews and other forms of online attention.
The Bottom Line
There are some expenses small business owners can’t get around. If business owners run brick-and-mortar stores, they must rent space, pay utilities, buy inventory, and supply their companies with basic software solutions and equipment. Even online retailers and service providers have to contend with certain expenses, such as marketing.
The most important thing for entrepreneurs to realize is that not all investments are created equal. They should focus on purchasing the essentials and should scale their services as their businesses grow instead of buying everything required to run a fully operational, large-scale business when the company still has one employee and only a handful of customers or clients.