Starting a home business should be an extremely exciting time for anyone who is brave enough to dip their toes into the entrepreneurial pond, but it can also be a stressful one as you strive to make ends meet, keep your head above water, and keep expenditure to a minimum. Go back twenty years and starting a home business would generally require quite a considerable amount of capital to even get your fledgling idea off the ground. Luckily these days technology can help you build your brand and expand your influence in ways the average entrepreneur from the nineties could only dream of. Here we take a look at some simple ways of keeping costs down when starting your business, and handy tips that can set you on the right path for success.
Firstly, let’s get the boring stuff out of the way. Unless your company happens to be an accounting firm, it is more than likely that invoicing, chasing clients, and even just setting up payment templates isn’t going to be listed as a particular passion of yours. While we would all rather be left alone to concentrate on the more exciting parts of running a home business, there is one equalizer than links us all; we all need to get paid. If you aren’t particularly gifted in the arts of accounting, this can be a daunting and confusing part of your monthly workflow. If you find yourself in this situation, you have a few options available.
You can employ an accountant, or if you are trying to keep costs down, you can look at online services that take the hard work out of your hands, and for a monthly fee provide you with simple tools to help run your home business efficiently and smoothly. Even if you have an accountant that you pay once a year to file your taxes, using online services such as Quickbooks or Xero can help speed up the process for them, and in turn, save you money in the long run.
If you find yourself staring at a desk full of paper receipts, unpaid invoices, and legal documents, take a moment to check out a few cloud-based accounting options that could leave you more time concentrate on running your business rather than being bogged down with all the rigmarole of getting paid. Once you set up your profile, build your templates, and familiarize yourself with the workflow, some of these companies purport to save their clients 8 hours per month in administration tasks. That’s basically a whole extra day to concentrate on building your business rather than spending your precious time dealing with nuances that aren’t your forte anyway.
Cut Out Unnecessary Bills
When you first start up a business, it is extremely important to keep running costs to a minimum, especially at a time when your outgoings are likely to match or exceed your incoming cash flow. A great way to do this is by looking at what bills you could possibly live without. While heating, electricity, and water are all areas that you will need to cover, your telephone and internet charges can sometimes be reduced, or even merged. If you find yourself paying extra for a telephone line you barely use, it could be worth checking out a service that many ISP’s are calling ‘naked broadband’. Naked broadband simply refers to the fact no other services are included in the package. While many ISP’s will try to bundle telephone, internet and TV packages together, naked broadband deals only supply internet to the premises, and nothing more.
With the vast array of VOIP services such as Skype and Viber, the need for a dedicated landline has diminished over the last ten years. [pullquote]Even if you have the need for an actual telephone number that customers can call, Skype and other such services have deals available that allow you to choose a telephone number, and essentially have your ‘work number’ accessible on any device you happen to be working on.[/pullquote] Not only is this cheaper than renting a landline, but you can also pay for unlimited minutes to domestic, European, or worldwide landlines or cellphones.
With the internet now responsible for a large percentage of our communication, do you really need that dusty old telephone that you rarely use anyway? Naked broadband providers such as BigPipe in New Zealand are a great example of, and have a tiered system that varies in price depending on your needs, so even if your home business is one that needs a large digital ‘pipe’ such as that of a video production company, you can easily get a good broadband deal and cut your expenses.
Build A Remote Team
If your home business takes off in the way that you hoped, at some point you may need to take on an employee or two to help the day to day running or the business, or perhaps you have a need for a more niche skill set? You always have the ability to hire someone to fill that particular vacancy, but sometimes you might not have the volume of work that requires a full-time worker on site, or if you are working from home you may not have the space for them in your spare room or office. For times like this, there are plenty of websites that allow for remote workers to be brought in on projects for weeks or months at a time, rather than employing them fully all year round. It also allows you to use the skill sets of remote workers that would otherwise be outside of your expense bracket.
For example, a video editor may require a professional color grade on 4 or 5 videos per year, so paying for this service on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis makes a lot more sense than employing a full-time colleague. Some examples of these sites are Working Nomads, and Upwork.
Use Free Solutions As Much As Possible
You may have been told there is no such thing as a free lunch, and while this is true to a certain degree, there are definitely some online services that can help you grow your customer base and cost nothing. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter allow you to grow your customer base, and most importantly, target your advertising to people who need the services you provide. Once your company profile is set up, you can also use the analytics provided by these services to ‘drill down’ into the finer details of each post you put out, seeing where the traffic is coming from, and how effective your social media strategy is.
Regardless of whether your company is small, medium or large, social media is a hugely popular way of advertising, and while you can also pay for ads on these services, the free platform they provide can be extremely useful to a new venture. For the complete Facebook novice, or even for those who use the site purely on a personal level, there are plenty of YouTube tutorials that can help you make the most of the social media giant, as well as useful SMB-centric websites that explain the best way to go about getting your brand.
For information and tips about starting your own home business, click here!