At the end of the month, do you ever find yourself wondering where all your money went?
When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re responsible for everything your business pays for. Rent for offices, pay and benefits for employees, office supplies and technology… These are all your financial responsibilities and the costs can really add up.
If you want to be able to grow your business while keeping yours costs low, you don’t need to cut corners or scale back. You just need to take a few simple, smart steps to reduce your overhead while maintaining, or even increasing, productivity in the office.
1. Keep your Spending to a Minimum
When you’re first starting out, you need to keep all of your costs as low as possible. It takes some time to start bringing in a steady flow of income and you don’t want to accumulate business debt. It can take some time to build a customer base and get your company’s name out there. During that time, you need to think as frugally as possible.
For example, do you really need every kind of office supply right now? Just buy what you really need, and skip anything that’s not completely necessary.
If you need software for your business, look for free programs online that offer equal functionality. Instead of Microsoft Word, for example, you could give an online word processor like Google Docs a try. If you want a permanent program on your computer, look for LibreOffice, an open-source piece of software that offers a complete Office Suite. Doing a little research online about products like these can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Buying office furniture can easily push your budget way past the breaking point. Look for used desks and chairs, possibly from companies that have recently shut down. You might be able to get them for a fraction of the original cost.
Instead of hiring an employee, there’s also the option of engaging virtual staff who work as subcontractors and won’t require payroll or benefit costs. A virtual assistant already has their own equipment and programs at their disposal. You won’t have to supply them with a desk, a computer, office supplies, etc. Additional cost savings come into play because a good VA is already an expert at what they do and require minimal training. Hiring a VA can be a great way to cut down on all of those small office costs that can really add up over time.
2. Outsource the Small Jobs
As the owner of a business, it’s your job to keep an eye on the big picture. Interacting with clients and setting up deals are important and time-consuming tasks. You probably don’t have time to also take care of your website, keep an eye on payroll and bookkeeping, data mining, and internet research. Doing these small but necessary tasks can take a lot of your time, and time is definitely money in a small business.
Hiring a virtual assistant to take care of these small tasks can save you a lot of time and energy that’s better spent elsewhere. When you’re in the middle of one of these small jobs, just ask yourself, “Isn’t there something more important that I could be doing?”
3. Hire a Virtual Receptionist Instead of a Full-Time Secretary
Having a secretary is just fantastic. They can drastically cut down on your stress level by answering calls, sending emails, taking messages, and screening whoever wants to see you. The problem, of course, is that a secretary can be very expensive. Not only do you have to think about salary, you also need to think about their benefits, the cost of their training, sick days… For a small business, it probably isn’t worth it.
Thankfully, you can get a similar level of office support from a virtual assistant! A great VA can answer your calls for you, manage your emails and your calendar, and work as your human resources representative, all remotely. You don’t have to pay for training, as they’re already proficient. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that the office is in their safe and experienced hands.
4. Cut Down on Office Space
This point is supported by the previous two tips. All over the country, rent is skyrocketing. Commercial, residential, and across the board. If you’re just starting your small business, you probably aren’t going to be able to afford a large amount of office space, but if you have multiple onsite employees like a tech support person and a secretary, you’re going to need physical space for them. This can lead to a drastic increase in rental costs that can add up to thousands of dollars over the course of a year.
If you hire a virtual assistant, however, you can get the exact same workplace support without even needing them in the place of work! You can save a ton of money, possibly even finding a nicer office, because you don’t need a tremendous amount of workspace when your team works remotely.
5. Use Digital Marketing
Marketing and advertising can be some of the most costly expenses for any business. Getting your name out there isn’t cheap! When you consider the cost of print ads, radio, even television, it can end up extremely expensive. So, have you ever considered upping your digital marketing efforts?
Digital marketing can give you a far greater return on your advertising investment. Having a great webpage acts as a digital storefront, introducing your brand to hundreds of online prospective customers every day. Tweeting and using social media networks can allow you to connect with your clients in a way that traditional advertising just can’t. What’s more, you can leave your digital marketing in the hands of an experienced VA, saving you money on hiring an expensive firm. Hands down, digital marketing will give you the best bang for your buck.
If you’d like any help keeping the costs of your business down, please give me a call. I’m an experienced online business manager and a resourceful and flexible online business consultant. I’ve worked with many small businesses over the years as a virtual assistant and office manager, helping them achieve their potential at a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee. Let’s talk about you and your business’ future success!