Getting your startup up and off the ground can be a costly endeavor if you don’t take the correct precautions. By avoiding the pitfalls that a lot of other ventures have fallen into when deciding where to place their precious funds, you can navigate your startup past the early stages and up into the air. Here are 5 ways that you can save cash while growing your startup venture.
Brainstorm with your Personal Mentors Instead of Pay a Consultant
One great way to cut costs at the very beginning of your venture is to get experienced help building and designing your roadmap. Getting the best help from the very best people however can be something that can end up being your biggest expense, as consultants who have decades of experience to offer don’t come cheap. To circumvent that expense, have your source of advice come from the most experienced and trusted friends that you have.
Chances are that your most established friends have some great advice that is just ripe for you to reach for. Go to these individuals in your life –your respected, matured, and been-there-done-that colleagues –and pick their brain as often as you can. Hopefully they won’t charge you for their time, but if they do, chances are it will be a lot cheaper than reaching out and hiring a professional consulting agency.
Work with What You’ve Already Got
Another landmark trick to keeping costs down with your startup is to work with what you’ve already got. A mistake that many startup ventures make right out of the gate is that they think they need to automatically look like a professional and successful business at day one. They use any capital they have to purchase top of the line computers, phone systems, sleek and cutting edge digital and web platforms, and then spend the rest on marketing and outreach.
Working with what you’ve already got sounds like you have to stick with your tiny laptop and cell phone forever, but trust me when I say that that is not what I’m saying. Work with the tools that you already have and only upgrade when you absolutely have to. Your laptop that you’ve had since college can do a lot more than you give it credit for, and having your “office phone number” be the same as your mobile number is definitely no shame anymore, as many small companies have their direct lines as their cell phones. Once the demand for your services increase and your workload heightens, that is the only time you need to start thinking about upgrading.
The Appropriate Time to Upgrade
As we said earlier, you need to keep your fixed costs down. By upgrading on a need-to-have basis only, and outsourcing the work you need done that you cannot do yourself rather than hiring a full-time employee, you can drastically keep your costs low. But what about for when you do need to upgrade some of your tools?
When your client load begins to rise and the work becomes heavier, it may be time to replace that laptop with a real workhorse computer, or even add data towers if you work in the digital sector. If you have a lot of phone calls coming in and your poor little cell phone can’t handle the traffic, then it may be time to upgrade to a streamlined and digital VolP phone system that automates and directs your calls to the right people working at your venture. Hosted VoIP can cut costs for your business while giving you increased mobility, safeguarding your data and protecting your venture in case of emergency. There are tons of ways to save cash while still giving your startup venture the air that it needs to grow.
Take Advantage of the Gig-Economy
We all live in the era of outsourcing. Although this sounds like a bad thing, it’s actually pretty terrific for both the business and the contracted worker. You as the small business get to have all the work done that you need, but minimizes the fixed cost of a paycheck that may also be going towards an employee’s downtime while at the office. If you outsource the work, then you get the exact work you need done, and only pay for precisely what you want. You save cash, and also are keeping that freelancer going with paying work. Everybody wins!
Don’t Dismiss Working Remotely
One trend that is sweeping the small business and startup world is to rent office space on a need-to-have basis. Instead of having a brick-and-mortar building housing your startup, chances are that you can run your venture completely by remote –that is, from home. Even though you may have a staff all working together, it isn’t the most unnatural thing for businesses to be working together from afar. Chat and file sharing platforms like Slack and Dropbox make it easy for companies to work separately as a team with much success, but what about those times when you need to come together, or take meetings, but don’t want to do it at your own house?
Renting office space for short or long periods of time is not hard anymore. What started as a startup venture and became a unicorn almost overnight is WeWork, a shared office space provider with arms that stretch all over the globe. It’s great for startups that only need physical housing for short periods of time, or even as long as you need.