Thinking of starting or growing your small business? If you’ve been considering quitting your job to start working for yourself, money may be a major concern. Being self-employed comes with quite a few out-of-pocket costs along with the fact that you need to focus on making a profit so you can support yourself and your family.
On the bright side, starting a business doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg and in many cases, you may not even need to take out a business loan.
If you focus on setting a clear budget and being frugal, you can cut the costs of launching and growing your business.
Here are 6 ways you can become a frugal business owner.
1. Go Digital
Digital businesses are very popular these days because everyone spends a lot of time online. Having a brick and mortar business often means more expenses since you’ll have to pay to lease a space, maintain the space, and possibly hire help to take care of things when you aren’t around.
With a digital business, you’ll have much more flexibility especially if you plan on being mostly a solopreneur. Your main expenses will be your computer, the internet, and basic equipment required to do your job. You can communicate with customers and clients via email, by phone, or video chat – all of which are very inexpensive to use.
I realize that by becoming a digital entrepreneur, I save myself thousands each year.
2. Go Paperless
Naturally, going digital with your business will allow you to go paperless too. Yet and still, the people you do business with may invite paper back into the equation.
Working with tons of paper can be a hassle especially when you have to fill out certain documents regularly or mail shipments out.
Try your best to go paperless by handling all aspects of your business digitally. If there are important forms you need to fill out, you can purchase secure storage space with Amazon s3 and create contracts that can be reviewed and signed online with services like HelloSign.
For all your bills, opt to go paperless with your business checking and savings account(s) and utilize online bill pay.
3. Create a Designated Office Space at Home
If you’re going to go digital with your business, you’ll still need a suitable workspace and you can create an office space right in your home for cheap. When I launched my freelancing business, I purchased a desk off Amazon, a new laptop, and a printer/scanner then, I was basically ready to go.
My desk sits in a corner in my room which serves as my ‘designated office space’. It’s not the best set up but it allows me to get my work done and earn a living from home. If you have a spare room and are able to convert it to an office space, you can write it off on your taxes.
While coworking spaces are nice for the environment, some of them can be extremely pricey so you have to make sure they’re worth the money.
If you can’t afford a coworking space right now but want to work with other people from time to time, you don’t have to feel sentenced to working from home. You can work at a coffee shop a few days per week or invite a fellow entrepreneur to meet up so you can work together. You can also stop by your local library to work or attend small business events.
Some local libraries may even have free coworking spaces or rooms designed just for small business owners.
4. Use Free Websites and Apps
When starting or growing your business, you may be faced with a ton of new expenses that include monthly subscriptions to websites with services that can help simplify and streamline your processes.
While you may have a list of your favorite websites with memberships that you’re happy to pay for, there are quite a few ways to save as well.
For project management and staying organized, consider using Asana which is a free site that will allow you to create tasks, set deadlines, and keep your team organized.
Evernote is a great website and app that allows you to create and store documents and notes along with being able to share collaborative documents with others. Evernote has a free and paid feature.
Dropbox is similar to Evernote and allows you to share and store images as well. PayPal allows you to safely make transactions online and accept payments from customers or clients. PayPal doesn’t charge you to make payments but when you receive payments, they take out a small fee depending on the payment amount.
Quickbooks accounting software isn’t free but it’s very affordable (about $10/month) and worth mentioning because it can help track your income and expenses automatically making it easier to pay quarterly taxes. You can also use Quickbooks to scan receipts and send invoices.
5. Buy Supplies in Bulk
Another way to become a more frugal business owner is to buy supplied in bulk so that your inventory will last longer and you can save money in the process.
Whether you need ink for your printer, paper, stamps, or any other type of office equipment, consider buying the items in bulk from warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. Purchasing supplies in bulk from these stores will allow you get more bang for your buck since many of the business items are sold at a lower wholesale rate.
6. Grow Social Media Organically
While you could pay for advertising for your business, you can also grow your reach by organically increasing your social media following. Thay way, more people will see your promotions which can increase your leads.
Focus on growing your network, and posting engaging and shareable content to build up your following.
Summary: Conserve Resources and Keep Costs Low
As a business owner who is trying to stretch their budget and becomes frugal, you need to know how to protect your resources and use what you have to save money.
Some business owners will get caught up in the idea that you have to spend money to make money. While this is usually true, you don’t have to overspend or risk getting into debt in the hopes of making your business successful.
Focus on finding quality websites, tools, and resources that are free or affordable to use and will allow you to see the best results.