Congratulations! You’ve started or put together the finishing touches on a new and exciting business venture. You’ve FINALLY started the real first step to becoming an entrepreneur and going your own path.
But that’s just the first step—the real nitty-gritty begins now. Starting a business requires ACTION, time, bother, and requires getting your finances together. Depending on the nature of your business, you might even have to outsource an accountant, or a marketing agency to help you out.
It’s all a matter of organizing, mapping out your budget, and above all, sticking to it. Startups often have to work on a shoestring budget, but you can always employ some creative budgeting ideas in order for you to get your dream off the ground, and have it run with the most impeccable precision—or at least be on the right track to doing so.
Having a limited budget when you start a new business might be challenging, but this should not prevent your business from operating and thriving in the long run. As long as you can effectively manage your finances, it won’t be long before your business will attain success in the industry.
Here are some money-saving tips you should definitely consider when starting out.
Opt for Open Source
Startups require computers for every purpose, from project management to day-to-day operations, accounting, administration, and creating presentations—you name it. Technology has made it very easy for businesses to accomplish several tasks at the same time, making it a necessity for all businesses. In today’s digital era, it’ll be challenging for any business to operate, hire people, and engage with customers without the necessary apps and software. However, proprietary software can be extremely expensive, especially when you’re starting out.
Fortunately, there are more open source software options than you can shake a stick at for literally ANY software you can think of—at a tremendously miniscule cost compared to other software or cloud service providers.
If your budget doesn’t allow you to buy proprietary software, spend time to scout for open source software options. You can ask for recommendations from people who are in the industry or start your search online. Starting off with open source software will help you save money and allow you to determine what kind of software you should really invest in in the future.
Go for Second-Hand Office Fixtures
If you maintain a brick-and-mortar office, buying the necessary fixtures at brand-new prices can really make a huge dent on your fledgling finances. With the number of styles of office fixtures available today, it’s easy for anyone to feel overwhelmed and to overspend. This is especially true for people who are buying office fixtures for the first time.
But regardless of the available options, you don’t have to hop into the bandwagon of buying brand-new office fixtures. There are plenty of equipment options such as lighting fixtures, flex seats, and desks you can get for pennies on the dollar at eBay, Craigslist, or your local second-hand store. If there’s no urgent need to buy these pieces, you can even schedule your purchase during off-peak seasons to save more money.
You don’t even have to pay over the odds for newer fixtures like standing desks, because you can purchase an inexpensive standup desk converter at a fraction of the cost, rather than purchasing them brand-new. You can also invest in proper shoe insoles from Protalus.com if you want to improve your posture and reduce back pain. It’s all about making little smart decisions that go a long way.
Set a Budget, Forecast Properly, and STICK TO IT
You can’t run your business on a lean, tightly controlled budget if you don’t set one to begin with. You’ll have to run your business for years in order to see its progress and earn profits—and if you don’t have any budget on Day 1, don’t expect that your business can continue operating for months.
It doesn’t end there, too. Make it a point to regularly review your operational expenses and sales, and incorporate them into your forecasts on a monthly basis. As a startup, you need to regularly check your expenses, compare it to your set budget, and make changes whenever necessary.
Most importantly, stick to it.
Compartmentalize Your Finances
It’s always helpful to compartmentalize so you can prioritize. Clearly demarcating business finances from your personal spending helps you determine if your startup is liquid and generating income, and it will help you get a grasp of what costs you can trim down further.
Minimize Inventory and Supply Chain Costs Whenever You Can
Inventory and supply chain costs can negatively impact your bottom line, unless you closely monitor them.
Check your financial statements closely to see which supply chain costs you can trim for better operational flexibility. Ideally whenever you can.
Determine What Office Space You Need
Startups often struggle with the question of what office space they require, whether they should set up a home office (cheapest alternative), lease out an office somewhere, or buy a property altogether (obviously not recommended for startups on shoestring budgets). After all, your office is your public face to your clients.
If a home office is out of the question, there are plenty of coworking spaces that offer a virtual address, concierge, and business services at a fraction of a cost that a lease or buying a property will entail. This frees up more finances you can use for operational expenses or otherwise reinvest in other aspects of your business.
Consider a Shorter Lease
If you don’t need a big office just yet, try to find office spaces you can lease in the short-term. Do your research, contact your real estate broker, or find them yourself on your local listings to see what options you have. Bonus points if you can find a place that you can easily expand, if your startup will require the office space in the future. Oftentimes, you can save a lot on lease expenses, and get a further discount when you extend your lease to regular terms.
Ditch Using Paper Once and for All
The world is fast adopting a paperless status quo. Not only does it save you money on office supplies (e.g. paper, ink, scanners, copiers, printers, and the like) as well as having to constantly include them in your budget, it saves you and your workers a lot of manhours wasted on such activities, helping them become more productive.
If you must have hard copies of documents, have a set of forms ready to use and fill out instead of having to print them or make copies of them manually to save time and bother. You will see how this will free up finances over the long haul.
Budgeting can be a tedious matter for most startup entrepreneurs, but it is very extremely rewarding. You are training yourself to have a trained eye in determining which costs can go and which ones are necessary, and set your endeavor up for future success in the process of doing so. Make it a habit.