All small business owners and startups know that it takes more money than you think it should just to get your business up and running. Getting all of the components working together, with your supply chain and inventory management operations running seamlessly, can take a while and the initial investment in technology and equipment can take more than a chunk out of your startup budget. Then, when your business starts to take off, growing pains can keep your profit margins from increasing, especially if you plan to open your own office or invest in warehouse space with a large overhead. While tech startups and Software as a Service (SaaS) companies may not need to invest in storage spaces or packing and shipping supplies, there are still a lot of ways your company can be wasting money. Streamline your company’s operations by implementing these things that help you grow your business without spending money.
- Join a coworking space, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time and money setting up your office and you can actually focus on your business. With coworking becoming the new norm in office settings, many businesses set up shop in shared office spaces and remain there as their needs change. Most coworking spaces offer flexible monthly rentals in upscale buildings with all the amenities you need plus great motivated settings.
- Cut your overhead labor by automating some of your non-producing functions. Chances are, you can hire an accountant from your coworking network that will work on an “as needed” basis. Sales reporting, order monitoring, and record keeping can be sometimes accomplished with integrated software unless you ship a lot of products, then you may want to consider a 3rd party logistics company that can automate your supply chain and take over your customer care services.
- Encourage your staff to try more efficient ways of doing things. We’ve all heard, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but we can all look for different ways to perform certain tasks that save time and money. It might just be a way to bundle supply ordering or automating parts of your fulfillment operations.
- Fine tune your marketing message. Less is more today in marketing messages. A well-designed logo can go a long way to getting your products more exposure. Graphic designers will tell you that a good logo can be drawn in the sand. Look at your marketing initiatives. Are they positioned where your brand base will see them? Join forums if your customers are asking each other questions about using your products and post to these forums as an expert advisor. If you’re a restaurant, get your business into area directories to attract visitors and locals alike.
- Get the word out. Get involved with your brand base. Join LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other outlets where you can publish articles that highlight your services or products. Download industry magazine and newspapers’ editorials. Submit articles about your products or services. Send press releases to your local newspaper and feature articles on your website when you host an event, launch a new product line, or surpass a milestone.
- Be the face of your company. Offer your advice when local media needs an expert in your field. Create your own video blog on your website or host your own educational events and offer attendees a discount or a coupon to use to purchase your products. Network within your community.
- Feature promotions on your website and position them on your homepage or somewhere your potential customers will easily find them. Offer limited time specials and end-of-season clearance items. If you have returned items that you can refurbish at a low cost, sell them for deep discounts rather than counting them as losses. Post these specials on your Facebook page, as well as on your website.
- Focus on the services or products that sell and turn over other responsibilities such as your content management and other marketing initiatives to other associates who can turn them into profitable entities. The learning curve on trying to master aspects of your business that aren’t exactly in your wheelhouse wastes time you could be spending developing a new line of products. If you’re the principle and the crew of your business, hire freelancers to help you with content and design for your web presence. While not free, a professional-looking, high functioning website will pay for itself and help your business grow exponentially. You can’t be an expert in every aspect of your business and keep growing.
- Reward your employees for good work in adhering to deadlines on time-sensitive issues, meeting budget timelines, serving your customers well, and increasing your bottom line. A little appreciation goes a long way. Your team will appreciate small bonuses and be willing to go the extra mile to help your company grow.
- Give away promotional items on your website or at your physical location. Send them with your invoices and deliveries. Along with coasters and pens, these freebies can also be coupons, how to videos, or tips on getting the most out of your products. If your business centers on kitchen equipment and appliances, you could offer recipes or access to a downloadable recipe book.
Streamline your business, taking stock of and replacing processes that don’t work with more efficient functions can help you grow without spending money. At Venture X, our shared office spaces can lower your company’s overhead in many ways. Working in an energized environment, among other like-minded professionals, growing businesses take advantage of built-in networking opportunities. Plus, collaboration possibilities abound in upscale office environments that feature many different shared desk and private office spaces, as well as comfortable places to take a break. Contact Venture X in your area to schedule a tour. Grow your new business or move to the next phase of your successful enterprise, saving time and money along the way as a Venture X member!