Entrepreneurs spur the American economy, create jobs and drive innovation. However, studies show that nearly 90 percent of small businesses fail. Minimizing upfront costs and overhead can help new companies better manage their cash flow and increase their success rate. In honor of National Small Business Week, CORT put together seven ways start-ups or small businesses can save revenue.
1. Hire Only When Necessary: Hiring full-time, experienced employees early on can use much of a start-up’s operational budget. Grow slowly, and only hire employees when it is absolutely necessary. Instead, look to freelance contractors or interns who can help complete tasks. Small business owners may not have the skill-sets or time to manage an SEO optimized blog, but an intern may be able to lend their expertise from their marketing class, all while building their resume.
2. Plan Real Estate Carefully: Start-ups who plan to open a brick-and-mortar office or storefront should carefully consider their real estate choices. Look for a commercial real estate provider who is focused on your long-term growth, rather than just selling you space. If you anticipate rapid growth, make sure to keep your space flexible. This will allow you to stay in your office long term instead of moving every few years. Another option is to use a co-working space or business incubator. These offer training and networking events for small business owners, a collaborative work environment and no long-term lease commitment.
3. Save Money Where You Can: This may seem like a no brainer, but every bit of money you save, is money you can reinvest in your company. Look for ways you can save money by carefully weighing each purchase. Consider if you can rent the products you need or outsource the service to a vendor to conserve capital for growth investments.
4. Find Helpful Mentors: Many people have been in your place before. Look to professional organizations or local entrepreneur groups to learn from others experiences. These kinds of mentors can tell you what they did to save money in the start-up phase and how they sustainably grew their companies. The U.S. Small Business Administration also offers a Mentor-Protégé Program for small business owners to learn and grow from each other.
5. Negotiate Like an Expert: Negotiating is a key part of success at any stage of business, but especially in the start-up phase. No matter if you are negotiating with future employees, investors or vendors, getting the best deal can save you time and money. You can also consider bartering for services by offering your skills or products in return for professional services.
6. Let Your Customers Promote Your Services: While you may think that spending lots of money on a television ad will help drive sales, this may not be the best use of funds for your stage of business. Instead, look to build your reputation on referral sites like Yelp and leverage social media channels to connect with people who fit your customer profile.
7. Consider Rental: Paying overhead to buy a full suite of office furniture or other fixed assets can consume valuable resources that you could direct toward other aspects of the business. The rental concept is a low-risk investment to get your office off the ground, ensuring you have flexibility no matter what changes await your business.
It is critical for small businesses and new start-ups to invest their resources in projects that can provide strong ROIs, rather than committing to fixed assets. With these tips, start-ups and small businesses can use the capital to grow and succeed.