When running an online business, the primary goal is to make as much money as possible, right?
Well, that’s part of the equation, but a savvy online business person realizes that cutting costs is not only imperative in the early stages, but it’s one of the best ways to improve margins for freeing up cash to use on other areas of the business. Entrepreneur Magazine has some wonderful ways to start cutting costs from the start of your online business, all the way to when you start hitting the maturity stages. Some of the tips include asking people you know for help, buying recycled printer cartridges and getting free software.
All of these suggestions are wonderful for the online business owner, but what about specific resources and tools that can start cutting your costs immediately?
Lucky for you we’ve put in the legwork and located some handy options for you to choose from, along with some other suggestions that can assist in shaving down the amount of money you spend for use on your business down the road. Keep reading to learn more about these resources for the online entrepreneur to cut costs.
Find Time Inefficiencies with Harvest
The Harvest software is a simple time tracking tool that can be used to see exactly how much time you, and your employees, are spending on certain tasks. It’s combined with an invoicing and reporting system for the ultimate ecosystem to locate and eliminate inefficiencies.
For example, let’s say you have your customer service reps track how much time they spend on the phone with each customer. You may find that one customer is sucking up lots of phone time, prompting you to discuss how you can get that person off the phone a little quicker.
Google Drive (Or Any Other Cloud-based Storage and Sharing System)
Google Drive, and other similar solutions like Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Drive and Box, provide several tools for you to cut your costs, including a storage system for eliminating the need for paper in your organization.
Your workers can collaborate through Google Docs and Spreadsheets, track real time changes and place all their files in organized folders. Not only does this keep everyone more organized, but most of these storage services are free (and rather affordable once you pass a certain storage capacity).
A Freelance Work Website
Sometimes your eCommerce business could use a logo design, data input services or even a nicely produced introduction video to place on your homepage. All of these can get rather expensive if you were to hire someone full time or pay one of your current employees.
A better solution is to go with a freelancing site like Freelancer, Elance or Upwork. The freelancers usually work for reasonable rates, and you don’t have to worry about long term salaries or giving away benefits.
Completely Free Image Sites
At some point you’re going to need stock images to put in your promotional banners or to place in your blog posts. Grabbing random photos off Google is often illegal, and paying for stock photos gets rather pricey. Consider one of the following sites instead, since they each give away beautiful photos for free, and you don’t have to credit the photographers.
Payment Gateway Comparisons
Every eCommerce store requires a payment gateway to process payments and make the checkout process nice and easy for customers. Unfortunately, the payment gateway world is confusing and tedious to research.
The problem is that if you choose the wrong payment gateway, you could end up spending way too much money and never even realize it throughout the existance of your company. We recommend going to this payment gateway comparison page to check out what some of the most popular options have to offer your business.
Invest in a Backup System
Imagine working a countless amount of hours on your website only to wake up one day to find that your site was hacked and you lost all of your information. Recovering this data is going to cost you a bundle, but when you implement a system like CodeGuard you can sleep easy knowing that everything is backed up.
Consider an Inexpensive Collaboration Tool Like Trello
You and your coworkers will have to collaborate with each other in order to set up marketing plans, new product launches and promotional ideas. Plenty of collaboration tools exist, but none of them are as clean, or affordable, as Trello.
Trello is completely free to start, and it allows you and your team to create tasks, make comments, upload files and more.
Get Rid of the Bulky POS and Try a Mobile Payment System
Let’s say you run a physical store in addition to your online shop. Having a traditional point of sale system is not only expensive, but bulky and difficult to manage. As an alternative, you can go with a tool like Square, which plugs into your smartphone or tablet for swiping cards and processing payments within seconds.
Opt for an Affordable eCommerce Site Builder Like Shopify
If you’ve yet to build your eCommerce site, think about selecting an online store website building tool like Shopify, Bigcommerce or 3dcart. Each of these provides a full package of website building tools, all of which are catered to uploading products, showcasing your offerings and processing payments with ease.
The cool part is that you can start by paying as little as $10 per month, then upgrade to a more common plan from $30 to $80 per month. The transaction fees are generally zero, and solutions like Shopify have plenty of free apps to activate on your store.
Over to You…
Now that you’ve had a chance to see some of the best resources for cutting costs in your online store, let us know in the comments section which of these you plan on implementing for your eCommerce business. If you have any other suggestions for cutting costs in the eCommerce world, feel free to mention them below.