Small business owners and entrepreneurs often face a difficult choice between spending money on an idea they are certain would work, and the logical step of keeping costs down. For any company, keeping its running costs down is often a high priority, but for small businesses and start-ups it is essential. Here are several tips which you might want to consider to reduce your business operating and office related costs.
1. Opt for a virtual office
It is completely acceptable that you need a physical address or even a meeting room from time to time, and through using a virtual office you can have both. By opting for a virtual office, you could work from home or from any other location, but for branding and suppliers sake, your address will appear as if you have a physical one. Often your mail will be forwarded to you by the virtual office company and you will be able to rent meeting rooms. This makes an excellent choice for many mall businesses and start-ups.
2. Use 3rd party contractors
Instead of hiring in-house staff, a process which is considered very expensive, look to hire talent using a service such as Odesk. oDesk is a global service marketplace for small and medium sized business to hire, manage, and pay remote freelancers or teams. There are other players similar to this one, all offering you an option to pay based on the work you need instead of hiring in-house staff.
3. Cut the cost of your communication
While communication is essential for the success of the business, it does come a cost. It is no surprise then that often huge savings could be made by cutting the cost of your communication, from telephone line costs to fax and even emails. Some VoIP companies such as Skype offer your own personal online phone number with Skype which you could renew on a monthly basis, while web based email services such as Gmail will allow you to send and receive business emails through your personal address.
4. Reduce the cost of office supplies
Office supply includes consumables such as printer ink, but also computer hardware and software. A substantial saving could be made by switch to open-source software. Open-source software costs a fraction of the price as commercial products while still offering all, if not more, of the features. Consider Open Office for your Word and PowerPoint needs and the open source Ubuntu as your desktop mail application.
5. Sublet parts of your office
If you decided to rent a physical office and you have some space left, consider subletting. There are web based services where you would be able to advertise your free space, but also consider going local and place posters around your area.
6. ‘Hire’ family, friend and students
From time to time you might need some help around the office, from picking up the phones to answering customer emails. One option is to hire local talent from family members to students in your local collage. Often local collages have an internship program which is a win-win situation for your business, while hiring family members and especially kids will teach them responsibility.
Joseph Eitan, founder and managing director of Photo Paper Direct. A UK based office supply site selling a range of products from photo paper to large format. www.photopaperdirect.com