It’s a great time for small businesses to rise up and compete with larger corporations. The digital world has leveled the playing field in so many ways that you no longer have to have a cache of resources to survive. You do, however, have to maintain money smarts, or you’ll join the boneyard of those small businesses that don’t take saving money seriously. Here are 4 places where your business should skip the steak and go for the salad.
Small businesses are popping up all over and many of them are succeeding. Due to current modes of communication, it’s never been less expensive to advertise. Where businesses used to be forced to buy space in a newspaper, today, you can post for free online. Here are ways you can save money on advertising:
Set up a company page on Facebook
Set up your company page and then ask people to ‘like’ you. You’ll be able to keep your friends in the loop on what you offer and when you have promotions. Be careful not to carpet bomb your friends with ad after ad, but don’t be afraid to let them know what and how your business is doing. Keeping your business in the forefront of their minds will help your friends to refer you their acquaintances.
Get on TV
Local cable stations often host shows that feature local businesses. Check with different shows where you think you would fit and offer to do a demonstration or give quick tips for something on their show. For example, if you run a dog grooming facility, offer to give quick tips on keeping pets cool in the summer. If you’re a hairstylist, offer a quick tutorial on doing a hairstyle that makes it easy to go from day to night looks.
Find out what the expert magazines are in your field and send in an article for publication. If you can tell your clients that you’re published in the premier publication in your field, that’s great advertising.
Find other vendors in the community who are in fields that need your expertise. If you’re a wedding photographer, talk to people who rent out wedding spaces. Ask them to hand out your card to their clients. Ask vendors of wedding dresses to feature you on their web site or blog.
2. Save on Office Overhead Costs
Many small businesses that fail attribute their failure to the costly start-up expenditures. They got too carried away with the excitement of making everything perfect and spent too much money out of the gate. Instead do these things to cut back on spending at the start. You can always upgrade later if you still want to.
From furniture to ink cartridges, it saves money to recycle. Before spending thousands of dollars on brand-new furniture, check out your local thrift stores. Often you can find furniture that is in great condition at a fraction of the price of buying new. You may not have as much control over color palette, but flexibility could keep your business afloat. Buy recycled print cartridges and other office supplies to save money as well.
Rather than spending the time and money to reinvent the wheel, find free software, forms and other tools online. Chances are if you need it, you’ll find it online. And there’s probably an app for it out there.
3. Tax Preparation
Get ahead of the tax game early on and you could end up saving your company a lot of money when it comes to April 15.
Keep track of everything
Even though you don’t need to keep receipts for under $75, you still need to keep track of everything, because it could add up. Likewise, if you are traveling for business, keep track of hotel costs and eating bills. They can all be deducted from your taxes.
Sometimes new businesses are taxed at a higher rate than its neighbors. You can go to city hall, find out what the neighbors are paying and broker for a better rate.
Hire your kids
If you children are 14 or older, they can pay their own taxes at a much lower rate than yours. If you transfer business income to them for a college fund, for example, it will be taxed at a lower rate.
4. Financial Responsibility
In more ways than one it does pay to be financially responsible. Being irresponsible will add up beyond the cost of the initial mistake.
Don’t put it on plastic
Charging up a credit card to pay for business expenses is a bad idea especially if the card has a high interest rate. Instead, try to save up extra cash before you start up your business. Or, get a business loan at a lower interest rate.
Pay on time
A business is dealing with a significant number of bills from month to month. If you’re late and you begin incurring late fees from several places, you’ll soon find yourself in a dark spiral that will cost you.
Barter if possible
Swapping services or goods is a great way to keep your cash expenses low.
Get a Tradequote for a service and then offer the same value in goods or services from your company in trade.
With the democratization of information afforded us by the digital world, it’s never been a better time for small business to thrive. The same rules apply today, though, as they did when paper ruled the world. You’ve got to be conservative to avoid financial disaster especially in the first formative years of your business.
About the Author: Amy Nielson is an avid blogger who writes often for insurance sites. You can follow her on Twitter @NielsonAmy.