13 Stealth Ways to Save Money When Starting Up
The Young Entrepreneur Council asked 13 successful young entrepreneurs about the unique ways their companies save some extra cash. Here are their best answers.
1. Forget Information Products
This is an area not many people talk about because a lot of businesses make their money by selling these items. The problem is that too many entrepreneurs buy into eBooks, courses, group coaching programs, etc., but they don't spend any time implementing. Stop spending your money on information and instead, save it, or spend it on talent that will help catapult your business forward. --Erin Blaskie, BSETC
2. Shared Gym Memberships
I'm a huge believer that splurging on gym memberships saves on employee productivity big time. But don't buy individual memberships; instead, negotiate with a nearby gym to buy just a few memberships you can share with people on the team (as long as only one person per membership goes at once). They"ll typically be cool with that, and you'll potentially save a ton.
--Derek Flanzraich, Greatist
3. Audit Your Subscriptions
Look through your credit card statements for automatic rebills, and make sure all the services you're paying for are actually being used. In the past we've uncovered a mobile phone account that no one had used for six months, a website optimization service that was overbilling us, and a CRM that we had switched away from months prior.
--Matt Mickiewicz, Flippa & 99designs
4. Fit It in the Right Box!
Many product companies I have talked to always tell me some added costs come from having to buy a shipping box on-top of their retail box. A little tip we learned was make it fit inside a USPS flat rate box or UPS box. These materials are free from both suppliers, and if you manage your relationship with the driver, they even drop them off to you, saving your company a ton on packaging costs. --Jerry Piscitelli, Portopong
5. Look at Legal Expenses
Businesses often have legal needs that can cause large, unexpected legal bills. Ask your attorney for flat project rates to allow you to better budget your legal expenses. If an attorney will not provide a flat rate, they might be willing to agree to a cap on the project, which also can help you prevent surprise legal bills. --Doug Bend, Bend Law Group
6. Ask for Tax Guidance
The earlier in the year that you can sit down with your CPA and look for opportunities to better manage what you're going to owe the IRS, the more likely that your CPA will be able to help you find some strategies to minimize your tax bill. From retirement accounts to going green, there are a lot of tax strategies out there and it's worth going over all of them with a tax professional. --Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting
7. Negotiate Absolutely Everything
Prices for B2B products and services are almost always negotiable. Aggregated savings over time can amount to a real enduring competitive advantage if competitive negotiation becomes part your company culture. Make it a policy never to sign off on anything until you and your team have hustled out every last penny.
--Christopher Kelly, NYC Conference Centers
8. Try Out Outsourcing
Outsourcing oversees things such as Web design, SEO, and in some cases, content writing can greatly reduce your overhead. Firms such as Supreme Outsourcing, Guru, and oDesk help you find work from around the globe. If you reduce cost in these areas, you can then hire more full-time people in your own country so there is nothing unpatriotic about it.
--Raoul Davis, Ascendant Group
9. Use Communal Space
Take advantage of communal office space where the rent is subsidized and the culture is lively. Shared space is a great way to immediately reduce your cash burn, and interact with many other entrepreneurs in a fun and creative setting.
--Michael Tolkin, Merchant Exchange
10. Utilize Interns Wisely
There are millions of college students and recent graduates willing to work for little or no money in return for experience. Never underestimate the value of the experience you can offer. Compared to working at a large, boring corporation, many students will opt for the fun, small business. Once you have an intern (or four), you'll start realizing how much of what you do can be delegated. --Emerson Spartz, Spartz Media
11. Outsource Key Infrastructure
Many small businesses see the value of outsourcing for specific tasks (such as Web design or content). But outsourcing key infrastructure positions is an even more effective way to save money. Starting out, it's almost inevitable that you'll face an internal skills gap. Outsourcing key functions can help you keep your internal resources focused on your business. --David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services
12. Refuse Some Business
Stop looking for that quick fix and start connecting to your ideal client. You need to think long and hard about who that is. They are the ones that can extract the most value by using your service or product and will come back to you time and time again. All others are a waste of effort, as you bend over backwards for them just that once. --Carissa Reiniger, Silver Lining
13. Review and Analyze
Review invoices and statements from the past three months. As you go through them, ask yourself the following questions: Do we really need this? Are we paying too much? Can we get a better deal? How can I avoid these costs in the future? By analyzing every dollar, you'll find areas where you are wasting money by overpaying or using services you don't need. --Christian Springub, Jimdo