How to Run Your Business Cheaply Without Seeming Like a Tightwad

You pounded the pavement. You’ve jumped through hoop after hoop to get your financing in place. After all of that often humbling and sometimes even humiliating work (nothing dings the ego more than a potential investor making wisecracks about your ideas or how you’re dressed), it’s natural that you want that financing to go as far as possible. So how do you stretch every dollar as far as you possible without cutting important corners or, worse, giving off the impression that you are cheap?

running a business from ipad
photo credit: mikecogh via photopin cc

1. Hire Independent Contractors instead of Employees Whenever Possible

Independent contractors and freelancers are more cost effective than traditional employees because you only pay for the work they actually complete. You don’t have to worry about paying an employee who only works when he knows you’re looking and is playing Candy Crush when he thinks you aren’t. If a contractor isn’t working, she isn’t getting paid. Period.

Beyond that, there’s also the internal factor. With employees you have to have someone on hand to manage their payroll, tax deductions and various tax payments (social security, Medicare, FICA, etc). Independent Contractors are also in charge of their own taxes and bookkeeping. You need only cut them their checks.

Another perk? Independent contractors don’t get benefits. When you don’t offer benefits (particularly medical) to your employees you look like a jerk. Freelancers and independent contractors, on the other hand, pay for their own benefits.

2. Let Your Employees Telecommute

Telecommuting employees don’t require individual office spaces. This means that you can manage your business from a much smaller space. A smaller space means a cheaper lease, lower utility bills, etc.

Even better, allowing telecommuting means paying lower salaries. It’s common for employees to agree to a lower pay rate in exchange for being allowed to work from home (even if it is just for a portion of the work week). You get the same amount of work done for less money.

Allowing your employees to telecommute for at least a portion of their work week is going to be difficult. Because you’re the boss, you want to be able to check in whenever you think it’s necessary to ensure that your employees are staying on task. Thanks to software like megameeting video conferencing and other co-working programs, though, telecommuting (and managing telecommuters) isn’t nearly as difficult as it used to be. You can still have daily meetings and see what’s happening on your employees’ computers whenever you want.

3. Digital Tablets are Better than Paper Tablets

Furnish your employees with company owned iPads or Tablet computers. Apple and Microsoft have programs in place that allows business owners to purchase these devices in bulk for a discounted rate.

It’s expensive now, but wow – what a tax deduction (these tablets, after all, should qualify as a work related expense)! The fact that using tablet computers, emails and messaging will save you thousands of dollars every year on printing and copying expenses is just an added bonus.

Plus, it makes you look like a really awesome boss.

Anybody can stick to a budget. Every business owner is sick to death of hearing “you have to spend money to make money.” Really, the trick to stretching your funding as far as possible is not just spending money – it’s spending money on things that will save you money later. You already know about buying in bulk, using motion detecting lights in your offices and a plethora of other basic ways to save money.

Now it’s time to get creative. These are some budget savers that can help you tap into that creativity. What are some of the things you’ve tried that have worked (or not)?

About the Author: The article is written by Tara Miller