This is a sponsored guest post.
Image credit: Piqsels
The earliest stages of running a business are generally the hardest, particularly when it’s your first business and you have no directly-applicable experience. It’s all too easy to start out with a great idea only to see it amount to nothing because you spent all your budget and ran aground.
Keep in mind that it isn’t immediate success that you should be pursuing: it’s long-term success, something that you can obviously only achieve if you keep your business running for as long as you can. Surviving your first year of operation makes sense as your initial goal. Can you make your budget stretch that far? If you save money wherever possible, it’ll be much easier.
In this post, we’re going to run through four key tips for saving money during your first business year. This will establish good habits and make it so much easier for you to keep going.
Minimize travel expenses
It’s getting much easier to avoid business travel these days, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic led to lockdown measures that kept so many people in isolation. This is helping lower business expenses, but there are still plenty of people who need to travel for business. They might have to deliver certain items, or meet with clients in person.
If you need to drive a lot for your business, you should look into using fuel cards by iCompario. Something like an AA fuel card can make it markedly easier for you to get great fuel rates and keep track of precisely how much you’re spending on fuel overall, giving you a solid indication of how your general budget is going.
Start small and ramp up
A good way to waste money is to spend lavishly from the start. When you’re getting started, you’re in the feeling-out phase, trying to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. Accordingly, you should keep the spending to a minimum. If you’re running an ad campaign, set a very modest budget and see how it goes. If it goes well, you can put the profit back into it.
By the end of the year, you should know which tactics and methods are suited to your business, and you can invest far more heavily in them for your second year. This is so much better than betting on your original plan being flawless and risking everything you’ve saved.
Use online resources
The internet is full of incredible resources — tools, guides, communities — and many of them are completely free. Instead of hiring someone to handle your receipts, find a free tool that will make it easy for you to handle them. Instead of paying for costly business courses, read (or watch) free tutorials that other entrepreneurs provide to promote their brands.
Look out for powerful suites that have free or low-cost tiers for those just getting started, because they can be extremely helpful. You can pay very little while your business grows, then start to pay more for extra features when you have enough profit to justify it.
There are some things that you need to pay for early on, such as a laptop and a stable internet connection, but many other things don’t make sense as startup investments. A printer, for instance. How often will you need to print something out? If you don’t expect it to be very often, then you shouldn’t buy a business printer: you should look to borrow one.
Yes, you can rent office equipment if you need to, but there’s a decent chance that you know someone with a printer they’re not using. It might not be high-end, but if it can do the job for you without costing you anything, it’ll be worth having. And when your business model is suitably settled, you can start buying the equipment you’ll need to grow further.