The basic premise of any successful business is to make more money than you’re spending … an especially pertinent point when you’re in the early stages of growth.
While ultimately, you’ll need to be prepared to invest money in order to propel the business forward, it’s critical that you spend and save in the right areas. Below, we explore three ways in which your business could increase efficiencies and save money in the long-term.
Outsourcing – a cost that could save you time and money
Recruitment is an expensive business in more ways than one. If you’re looking to hire additional support, the costs can quickly accumulate:
- Recruitment company commission – Typically around 15-20% of the advertised salary.
- Job board advertising costs – Usually around £150 for 4-6 week posting.
- Salary and additional employee overheads – Annual salary, plus any overheads e.g. office costs, pension contributions etc.
- Time to become profitable – An average of three months per employee.
Start-ups run on tight budgets and strict deadlines. By hiring a contractor/freelancer instead of going for permanent, you pay a variable cost from time-to-time. If you want some web development carried out on your website, you get a quote based on the project and you pay no more. If you want a blog post written, you pay based on the job or amount of words. It allows you to get the best person for the job, without committing full-time resources to it.
Start a blog and self-market
As a small business, it’s unlikely that you’ll have an infinite marketing budget which you can use to spread the word about your services. A blog however, is free, and is going to be one of the most useful tools you have in your arsenal to show the world you’re experts at what you do. A well thought through blog will help to:
- Drive traffic to your website
- Convert traffic to leads
- Establish authority within the industry
- Drive long term benefits
Warren Butler, marketing director at Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner Preact, has long since been an advocate of using blogging to keep existing customers engaged and of course, to generate new interest.
“We’ve been running our blog since day one and it’s been instrumental in helping to establish us as forerunners in Microsoft Dynamics,” he explained.
“Typically, we try to include a mix of content which will appeal to existing customers, such as tutorials, guides and updates, but which also has a chance of reaching those who aren’t already aware of who we are and what we do. Our ultimate aim is to share knowledge which will keep people coming back”.
Ideally, look to post once a week for consistency. If you post sporadically, users won’t know when to pay your website another visit.
Use accounting software
Many small businesses kick off proceedings with a simple Excel spreadsheet to keep track of incoming and outgoing finances. While it may seem overindulgent to spend out on accounting software, you’ll soon find that it provides a good return on investment.
Accounting software will allow you to keep track of how much money you’ve got in the bank, what you’ve got to pay and who’s got to pay you. With online invoicing, you can quickly bill for jobs, create recurring invoices, keep track of who’s behind on payments, send automated reminders and some options even allow you to accept payments online via debit or credit card.
Ultimately, a small expense on software will allow you to focus on what you do best, without you having to work away at your finances to make everything come together.
Alternatively, you may want to go down the route of offloading this effort and putting it in the care of others. There are plenty of limited company accountants that can help businesses navigate their books in a more efficient and effective manner.
For some businesses, using accounting software might not be the best use of their time. Outsourcing these services instead to accountants might be a better option.