Do you have an idea for a business that you’ve been aching to put into action? Red, green, yellow, black or white, every entrepreneur will have to deal with the reality of expenses and figuring out how to make the most money while spending as little as possible.
Yet the reality is also that black businesses have unique challenges in the United States, from having fewer employees to less revenue on average, according to data from the Census Bureau. Seeing these statistics can be disheartening I’ve found as a new business owner. Yet, in spite of reality, or statistics, do you ever stop moving in the direction of your goal?
The answer is no. So, I’d like to share six tips on how you can save money, a few of which I have used myself.
If your business needs only a few specific items to be completed, consider outsourcing and hiring an independent contractor. Doing so will remove the added expenses associated with bringing on a new hire: compensation for time worked, cost of office space, recruiting and training, and cost of benefits. By outsourcing, you pay only for the services rendered by a company or individual, and can cut costs and ties at will, working with this professional again only when needed.
2. Using the cloud.
The benefit of storing documents on the cloud is that a person or business purchases only the amount of space that is needed rather than making an investment in a product with an excess of storage space. In fact, some companies such as Dropbox even offer a small amount of storage space for free. A few well-known companies that offer cloud storage services are: Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Box.
3. Go green.
Whether you work out of an office or at home, keeping the environment top of mind can also help to save on expenses. Sustainable practices include going paperless, which, given the number of documents that can be opened via a smartphone or seen online, is an effortless way to still disseminate and view information. Or print on both sides of the single sheet or paper. Also, cut off lights and water to save electricity, and money on the recurring utility bill.
4. Find inexpensive ways to market.
Thanks to the democratization of marketing through social media, you don’t need a crazy budget to build an audience. A camera and a decent place to film, for example, can work wonders. Social media provides a conduit for a marketing via a low-cost space—online—while also allowing a company to connect with clients and prospects. So, start a Facebook page and share new developments, or a YouTube channel, and share a step-by-step “How To”. Also, consider investing in inexpensive marketing guides through Amazon (i.e. 6 Steps to Free Publicity by Marcia Yudkin), and learn more ways to market your product, services, or yourself.
Taking this tip from the BC era, the premise of bartering still holds true in the modern-day. Each person exchanges a good or service of value to the other person, and should be a win-win situation for all involved. So, does an entrepreneur possess a service or good that could be helpful to you? And do you have a good or service that could also be beneficial to this person? Well, speak with them and see if a fair exchange can be made.
6. Get a few quotes.
Say that you need to develop a new website for your company, and you’d like to hire a web developer to build your website from the ground-up. Well, be sure to get multiple bids. The first or second one might not be the most cost-effective. You will also want to see which bid provides the best combination of both cost and quality.
Starting a business has its challenges for everyone, and for business owners who are black, too, working smart can’t be stressed enough. As you work month-to-month, year-to-year, consider reading a document online instead of printing it out. Or get three or four quotes on the next job you need to outsource. Doing so will not only help you to save money in the short-term, but also help to develop skills that can further assist you in making smart financial decisions as your business really starts to take off.
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