With a new year off and running, was one of your New Year’s resolutions to go into business for yourself? Given the roller coaster ride that the economy has been on over the last few years, it is not uncommon to see more people setting up shop at home or in an office space, deciding to give running their own small business a shot.
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small companies accounted for 65% of the new jobs nationwide over the last 17 years. Such businesses, which employ 50% of all employees in the private sector, are defined as those employing less than 500 workers.
In the event that you are one of those individuals, there are ways you can cut costs, allowing yourself to still run a notable business while saving a few dollars here and there.
Among the items to focus on:
Start slowly If you are working out of your home, a simple room with a desk, filing cabinet, bookcase or two will do the trick. As for equipment, a computer, printer, phone and fax should fit the bill. The room you choose as your office should have a door so you have some privacy during the day, especially for those with kids. For those renting office space, avoid spending tons of money, especially early on. Buy the necessary machinery and furniture - don’t spend money you may not have.
Consolidate If you’re going to be on the road visiting clients, purchasing supplies, networking with others, do your best to consolidate your trips and those of any employees you have. With gas prices still higher than they were a few years ago, you can trim such expenditures by visiting more than one client while you’re out of the office. If you have employees making sales calls, encourage them to do the same. If you must purchase company vehicles, buy with savings in mind, not impression.
Office expenses Any office requires paying utilities. Don’t leave lights on unnecessarily, turn machinery off overnight and when gone for the weekends, check to make sure any heating and cooling units are running at maximum efficiency and are properly set when you are out of the office, and recycle paper and other such products. While a few more dollars on your office electric bill for leaving unused lights on may not seem like such a big deal, but those charges add up over a year.
Lend a hand Even though you are the boss, it doesn’t hurt to play like one of the team. Pitching in wherever you can to help save expenses will benefit you over time. Doing so may save you some money, along with uniting you with your coworkers. It also never hurts to have a team meeting periodically to discuss ways the entire office staff can save money.
Running your own small business can be challenging, but making it a cost-effective operation doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition.
About the author: With 23 years of experience as a writer, Dave Thomas covers a wide array of business topics.