When it comes to successfully running a small business, time and resources seem to be the two things that are always in short supply. While we all may have the same 24 hours to work with, each business owner has their own individual budget. Being able to make ends meet with less, and expertly managing a small budget, will be the difference between success and failure for many entrepreneurs. The following are 8 tips for successfully running a small business on a budget.
1. Budget Each Department Separately
Expenses in even a small business can and should be categorised. For example, marketing, insurance, personnel, and IT are all costs that can be budgeted separately. This will enable you to more easily stay organised and see more precisely where your money is going. It will also be easier to see how effective your expenditures are in each department and where costs can be cut if necessary.
2. Update Your Budget Regularly
A budget should be analysed several times a year, even monthly if possible. You’ll quickly see where the most money is going and if there is any wasteful spending. A business can change rapidly. Cash flow projections, revenue, and profits should all be updated at least every few months. Evaluating your budget only once or twice a year can mean a lot of wasted money if the needs of your business have changed.
3. Implement Creative Marketing Strategies
There are plenty of low-cost and even free methods for marketing and advertising. A few include starting a blog, posting online videos, and learning how to place ads in unusual locations to garner the maximum exposure for a low cost. Including advertisements with invoices and other items that are normally mailed out is another way to market without spending any extra money. Even bartering services or products for advertising space can be an option.
4. Find the Most Cost Effective Supplies
Since the cost of office supplies can quickly add up, most small businesses will find it necessary to incorporate cost-cutting when appropriate. It’s important to use vouchers when they’re available, to shop around to find the best deals, and to ask for discounts from retailers you regularly do business with. The same goes for out of office purchases too. For example, when attending a conference or exhibition, you want to purchase exhibition stands that can be remodeled and reused.
5. Work From Home If Possible
This isn’t possible for every business, but it can be done more often than people may realise. An office space really isn’t vital for everyone, especially if everything can be conducted on a computer. This will save you so much money and it may even be more practical for you and your company.
6. Use Free Trial Software
Nearly every business needs software and apps to operate efficiently. One way to cut costs is to check if a company offers free or low-cost trial software. Several manufacturers offer free downloads. This will not only immediately save money but you won’t spend a lot on software you haven’t had a chance to use first and that may not work well for your business.
7. Save on Utilities
Just keeping the thermostat a few degrees lower can quickly add up to significant savings on utilities. Using a scheduled thermostat will enable you to keep the temperature comfortable for employees and customers during the day while turning down the air or heat at night to cut costs. Turning off all unnecessary equipment at night will also save money.
8. Reduce or Eliminate Paper
Going green isn’t just good for the environment, it can also save on office expenses. Use services that offer free or reduced costs for online storage space. You’ll not only save on paper, but on printing costs and the time it takes to file documents. When you do need to print make sure to get recycled cartridges.
Running a business on a budget does not mean that you have to completely cut everything out. Reducing your spending across several aspects of your company will allow you to save considerable amounts, whilst still having everything you need to run successfully.