Five ways for start ups to cut costs and save time

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Date: 20 April 2020

A man uses scissors to cut a card with the work expenses written on it in half.

Launching your own startup opens up a world of creative possibilities. Being in charge of your own company, making money doing something you love, and running the business in the way you want - it can be a dream come true.

But starting from scratch is always hard work, and most businesses find the first few years extremely financially challenging. So, we're always looking for ways to tighten the purse strings, cut costs, and find affordable, long-term solutions to everyday expenses.

If you'd like a few smart ideas on how to save time and money as a startup business, check out our top tips below.

1. Make the most of available technology 

As a small business owner, you'll likely find yourself doing a million little tasks which are technically out of your remit. This will take up a lot of time, and because it's taking you away from the thing you do best, it will be costing you money too.

But luckily, modern technology solves many of these problems and can make your life a whole lot easier. So make the most of social media for your marketing and customer outreach. Look into bookkeeping, accounting, and word processing software which will make your admin tasks a little easier. And get familiar with cloud computing formats to connect and communicate with employees.

Invest in a website which supports your customers. If important information about your business is easy to find online, and communications are easy, you'll avoid having to answer every tiny query personally! 

2. Outsource specialist tasks 

Sometimes you need more than a helpful app or piece of software to take care of specialist tasks within your company. Once your business reaches a certain size, you might hire your own in-house IT support, HR department, accounts specialist or secretary.  But until then, the easiest way to save time and money here is to outsource these tasks to independent companies who specialise in supporting small businesses.

Hiring an IT support company to take care of all your tech issues, will help keep all your systems up and running, solving problems quickly and finding the most efficient methods to run your business. This takes pressure off your shoulders and frees up your time (or the time of your IT staff) to focus on the important stuff.

You can outsource all sorts of time-consuming tasks like content marketing, finances and bookkeeping, payroll, scheduling and admin, for an affordable cost which will ultimately save you money in the long run. 

3. Go green

"Go green" has become a bit of a buzz-term in the small business and startup world. But there is a reason for this. Not only will going green reduce your personal impact on the environment - it will also save you a lot of time and money, and help you run a more efficient business.

Generally speaking, if it's better for the environment, it will reduce waste and reduce expenditures for you. Do you spend money printing out documents which are thrown away after a couple of weeks? Go paperless, rely on digital copies and discourage employees from overzealous print-outs.

Working in a brightly lit office building? Switch to LED lightbulbs. They'll last longer and reduce your energy bills over time. It's a smart money-saving move all-round to employ an energy-saving initiative at work, reducing water usage, switching off devices at night, car-pooling, or providing walk or bike-to-work incentives.   

4. Talk to your employees about their hours 

Efficiency is about using the best of (and not wasting) your key resources. There is no more important resource than your employees. And there may be a more efficient way to get the best out of them, which is more beneficial all round.

It is worth having a conversation with your employees about their working hours. If you're paying them for five days a week, but they're only working efficiently on three or four of those days, you're wasting money and you're wasting their time.

And they might prefer to have that extra day off occasionally, even if they make a little less money. It can be a difficult subject for them to breach with you, but if you take the initiative and start the conversation, you could find a situation which works better for everyone.  

5. Everyday expenses 

All small businesses have everyday expenses which may not seem like much on the face of it, but over time can become a significant portion of your budget.

There are a couple of super simple tricks for cutting costs here. First of all: don't be afraid to ask for a discount. If you're buying certain products or services in bulk, ask the retailer if you can cut a deal. This won't always be possible but there's no harm at all in asking.

Similarly, see if you can switch to own-brand versions of products you use frequently. You often pay two or three time as much for a branded item than an own-brand equivalent with the same ingredients. The switch will save you some real money over time, without any inconvenience at all.

Copyright 2020. Article was made possible by site supporter Jeremy Bowler

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