When trying to get a business off the ground, there aren’t always many resources available to you. In order to gain some momentum, it may then be necessary to “cut a few corners”. However, it doesn’t mean you have to betray your ethics as there are some elements of business that you can reasonably (and legally) save or save money on to give your business the kick-start it needs to get into Gear to come.
Nine members of the Young Entrepreneur Council offer some suggestions on how to save money in the early days of your startup and why you should do so in order to better serve your customers and grow your business successfully.
Members of the Young Entrepreneur Council discuss the most important money tips new entrepreneurs should know.
Photos courtesy of each member.
1. Use standard solutions for non-critical tasks
Don’t waste your most valuable resource (engineering time) building things that are not at the core of your product. Using off-the-shelf solutions to fill in gaps for anything not critical to your product (e.g. landing pages, marketing automation, etc.) can cost a few hundred to a few thousand dollars out of pocket, but it saves tens of thousands of dollars engineering time. Additionally, your team will appreciate the ability to focus on the most important problems they can solve. – Sandeep Kella, congregation
2. Perfect your product instead of scaling it
Don’t spend too much on expansion or scaling. Focus on putting more and more emphasis on your product or service instead of trying to produce more. Startups can get too excited at times and hire more people, but it’s the last thing you should do. Instead, you should focus on perfecting your product or service. Your original group of employees will also thank you more for holding on to them and growing with them to make them more loyal and motivated to take your business to the next level. – Maria Thimothy, OneIMS
3. Use upgradeable software
The best way to strategically cut corners in the early stages of your startup is to invest in software that offers free and premium options. You can download the free copy and set up your website. Once your business starts, you can upgrade to the premium version of the software. We started our business with mostly free plugins and eventually grew with increasing profits. – John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC
4. Manage your own bookkeeping
Manage your own bookkeeping and finances while your business is small. A business owner needs to develop a basic level of familiarity with accounting and finance business before transferring these roles to any company or finance director in scaling the business. Not only does this save you money, but it also builds a skill that is vital in scaling up. When doing bookkeeping, pay particular attention to understanding and learning about the applicable tax law. If you redefine your thinking from cutting back to working on skills that you really need to master before outsourcing, you will be a much better entrepreneur at it. Continuous education is an essential part of being a successful entrepreneur. – Matthew Capala, alphabetically
5. Ask about discounts whenever you can
When you first open your startup, you need to be extra careful with how you spend money. Because of this, make sure you ask for discounts whenever you can. There’s no shame in sticking to a budget. So when doing business with vendors and vendors ask what options are available to you. The worst that can happen is that they tell you no, but you won’t know until you try. You can save money on software, office supplies, and more by inquiring about discounts and other options. – Jared Atchison, WPForms
6. Only sell what your customers really want
Cut down on excess product or service and only sell what your audience wants! If you spend enough time doing market research beforehand, you’ll know how to deliver products and services that sell. What’s your high ticket offer? What are your favorite products? Don’t let too many offers distract you. Less is more when you start. – Diego Orjuela, cables & sensors
7. Outsource to freelance platforms
In the early days, especially when you’re ahead of sales, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to hire full-time workers. Because of this, low-cost hiring platforms like Fiverr and Upwork make it easy to find one-off settings for short-term projects and contracts. This way you will save a lot of money and you will not have to worry about the bureaucratic red tape that comes with hiring a new employee. – Amine Rahal, IronMonk Solutions
8. Focus on free marketing
Don’t spend thousands of dollars on marketing in the beginning. Start with free marketing through social media sites (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest). It’s all free and an easy way to get your name out there. Talk about your company on these pages and become an “expert” in this field by posting tips and wisdom. Post daily and let others “watch” and “see” your business build. Using free marketing in the beginning is a great way to save money for any business. Regardless, it takes time to build an online business presence. So start with the tools that are available for free. – Lisa Collum, Top Score Writing
9. Write all of your own content
We decided to save money when we started our business by writing all of our blog content ourselves. When you start out, you may not have the money to hire full-time writers. Another benefit of this money-saving tip is that we were able to create a strong foundation for our blog. Eventually we hired writers and they had a long list of content that showed our brand voice and value proposition. I think this tip saved us money and helped us establish the vision for our brand. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights