Owning your own company can be a dream — from making your own hours and choosing your own staff, to even doing something you love. However, owning a small business can also be really exhausting, difficult, and time consuming. If you’re still looking into self-employment, doing your research first will help. However, if you already own a small business, your next task might be determining how you can save time and money on that business. There are many easy ways for small business owners to save time, including choosing the appropriate staff, picking deadlines, and using programs that are designed to help business owners save time, like Zirtual assistant. Many of the tools that save time also save money, and Zirtual’s assistants are a great example of this. Read on to learn five ways you can save money for your small business, and hopefully, save some time too.
1. Zirtual assistant
Many companies are now allowing employees to work remotely, and even some big corporations are encouraging this because it can save money. As of 2013, Zirtual assistants were going through a seven-step hiring process including background checks, personality tests, and social background checks; the staff at Zirtual know their employees and can match them with clients effectively. Plus, they only hire 3 percent of applicants, and employees have four weeks of training before they work for their first client.
Zirtual assistants are affordable and college educated; they can schedule meetings, pay bills, book travel, and complete several other tasks that you might normally hire someone to do in your actual office. Zirtual assistants cost $8.75 per task, or $35 per hour. While $35 per hour might sound like a lot, if you have a highly efficient worker who can complete ten hours of work per week from a remote location, you will save a lot of money over paying someone hourly to come to your office full-time, and you might save time as well because you can Skype or email.
If you’re lucky enough to work entirely from home without an office, you’re in a great spot. However, many people need an office at least part of the time, and if you have a very small business or employees who primarily work remotely, co-working can be a great money-saver. You can share an office with someone else who only needs it a few hours a week, or even full-time if both of you have small businesses. Some people look for businesses or individuals who share their business interests and enjoy working in the same space, although not actually collaborating. However, you don’t have to even be in the same business field to share a space with someone else.
Check out ShareDesk if you are curious about co-working; the site allows users to search for office space and meeting rooms. If you have a space in your home where you can work without renting a space, you will save even more money. If you are concerned that you need office space for your employees but you don’t actually have workers who sell something face-to-face, consider remote workers.
3. Save on advertising and marketing
When you are first starting a business, getting your name and product out there is extremely important. However, because social media has become so popular, many businesses are succeeding primarily by using Facebook and Twitter to have a social media presence. In addition to using social media for marketing your business, you can also save money by choosing less expensive advertising methods than many big businesses do. Create a website and include your website address on your letterhead or in small ads in local newspapers.
YouTube is another popular way for companies to advertise in a low-cost manner that often amuses and therefore attracts customers. Lastly, utilize your verbal powers; the more you talk to people about your business, the more they will share with others (as long as your business is talk-worthy.) Also, impress your clients, big or small. Effective customer relations may improve your customer base much faster than any advertising campaign can.
4. Establish a good relationship with your vendors
If you can establish and maintain a good relationship with your vendors, you may save a lot of money by showing vendors that you are loyal to them. If you have a long-term relationship with specific vendors, they will be more likely to negotiate prices with you. If you are just starting out with a new vendor, there are many ways you can establish a good relationship. Start by highlighting key parts of your business and your goals so that they know what items are important to you. If you have employees, be sure to have the same person deal with a particular vendor each time if possible. Also, request progress reports, keep written track of everything, plan in advance as much as possible so that vendors have time to meet your needs, and be reasonable with your requests. If you keep up a good relationship with your vendors, you will save money in the long-run, and probably time as well if you have vendors you can depend on.
5. Save on the small things
We all know that the small things add up, especially if there are a lot of small things. If you have an employee who can devote some of their time to looking for great deals, make that a regular part of their job duties. If you can’t afford to have an employee focus on money saving tricks, do it yourself. Even if you only save a little at first, your savings will add up. Certain companies will offer free shipping or discounts on bulk orders. You can save money by purchasing recycled paper or refurbished computers. You can also save money by avoiding costs for things you can do yourself — like cleaning your office or delivering something to a client or vendor yourself.
There are many other ways you can save money on your small business. Shop around for insurance, use email instead of snail mail when possible, hire interns instead of staff when possible, and be smart about small business taxes.