Starting a business is a nerve-wracking, yet exciting experience. In the 2018/2019 tax year, over 670,000 new businesses formed in the UK alone. Many people are put off by the costs involved before you can even start making money. If you’re smart and keep good financial cost management, then there are many ways to save money when you’re starting out. Here are 10 cost-saving ideas to inspire you with your new start-up.
1. Apply for start-up grants
Most businesses need a bit of start-up capital to get up and running, even if it’s only some money to set aside to pay the bills while you’re waiting for money to start coming in. This can be savings, a personal loan from somewhere like www.plenti.com.au, or a business loan.
You could potentially be eligible for a number of business startup grants too. Local councils and various national agencies run funds for new business ideas to help get them off the ground.
A quick Google search will likely bring up some of the main options open to you. If you can’t find anything online, ask your LinkedIn network. There will likely be someone there who can point you in the right direction.
Keep in mind, though, that some grants make you jump through a lot of hoops to get the funding. But, even a small sum can give you some breathing room, so it’s usually worth the effort and time.
2. More cost-saving ideas: Outsource tasks online
People either love or hate online marketplaces. Platforms like People Per Hour, Fiverr, Upwork, and similar have exploded in popularity as the gig economy has increased. While this fierce competition has created a race to the bottom in terms of pricing (and sometimes quality), there are still a lot of talented people on those sites.
There’s a skill for almost every job you can think of, including:
- Web design
- Social media
- Virtual Assistant
- Graphic Design
3. Consider interns
Interns can be a great asset to your new start-up. They are eager to learn and cost a lot less than most professionals.
Don’t try and convince someone to do it for free, though. That’s not good business practice and in some cases is illegal.
To get the best out of your interns, it should be a two-way process, with them learning valuable skills and experience from you. Hopefully, you will be able to grow and train them to the point where you can’t imagine the business running without them. At that point, they can become permanent members of staff.
4. Trade your services
Business start-ups share a sense of camaraderie that’s unique in the business world. Working together to help each other is not only one of the most clever cost-saving ideas but it’s also a great way to develop a lucrative referral scheme.
In the beginning, you can trade your services. For example, they could build you a website, and you could provide them with a marketing plan or a different service you offer. If you work well together, then you could agree to provide case studies and testimonials for each other and even cross-promote on social media.
5. Use social media to promote your business
As part of your initial business plan research, you will likely already have a good idea of where to find your target audience online. Social media companies are always tweaking their algorithms to push you to take up their paid advertising features, but you can still make headway developing and promoting channels of your own.
6. Attend networking events
Although networking events are virtual in the wake of COVID-19, they are still a fantastic way to get your name out there. The events are usually free or have a small attendance fee.
Mark the dates on the calendar to get in the same virtual room with potential clients or others who can refer you. And, while you’re awaiting the date, practice your networking skills, work on your elevator pitch, and make sure you have enough business cards.
7. More cost-saving ideas: Use freemium software
Businesses run online. Even those companies that sell products directly to customers in shops or stalls will still run their inventory, promotion, and banking through various types of software.
Many of the most popular software programs and apps have free versions, which still have a lot of great features suitable for a new startup. They are counting on your growth to the point that you will buy a subscription because the software impresses you so much that you won’t consider moving to a different one.
Look out for freemium versions of software to save money. Here are some great examples:
- Ecommerce software – Shopify
- Email marketing – Mailchimp, SendInBlue
- Social media scheduling – Buffer, Hootsuite
- CRM software – Hubspot, Capsule
- Project management – Asana, Trello
- Accounting – Crunch
8. Don’t pay for business banking
Unless your business is predominantly cash-based or has a lot of overseas transactions, you can steer clear of the traditional business bank account. There are a number of fantastic online options that you can open in only a few minutes and run entirely through apps.
Many of them have built-in invoicing and expense functionality too. Some of the most popular business accounts are:
9. Ditching the office: Another of the top cost-saving ideas
As much of the country suddenly found themselves working from home last year, many companies have embraced this style of working. Some companies have even dispensed with offices altogether and gone entirely remote.
If you’re not selling direct, ask yourself if your new start-up needs an office. The savings your make on this strategy can be huge.
You’ll also open up your potential talent pool when it comes to recruiting. There’s still the opportunity to get together in co-working spaces and company meetups so that you can still form a bond with your employees.
10. Lease your equipment
New computers and other equipment can be expensive, even if you search around for bargains. To save money, look at alternatives, such as buying pre-used items, or leasing.
A great thing about leasing is it allows you to upgrade furniture, supplies, and other items every few years without the expense of buying new models outright. You will also be a low fixed cost on your monthly expenses.
Conclusions on business cost-saving ideas
All successful businesses have a tight grip on their day-to-day finances. Adopting this mindset at the outset of your business journey will not only save yourself a lot of money but also develop very good financial habits that will serve you well in the long run.