It takes a brave soul to launch a startup. It takes a braver soul to keep it going. We are very much interested in these brave souls who are bringing employment to others and doing something exciting with their lives. But we are also aware of how ridiculously demanding and draining running a startup is. Stress, excitement, coffee addictions, you name it. While we can’t help you with each and every thing related to managing a startup, we can certainly throw a few suggestions your way to help you financially. Namely, keeping the costs of your business down. But before we start, be informed that you will have to be ready to learn new things. Yes, even more new things. Actually, whether you like it or not you will be learning new things on the go all the time, so might as well lessen your misery and adopt a positive attitude towards it. Here are some ways in which startups and new businesses can pare back on their day-to-day operation costs and keep a lid on their overall expenses. Don’t Pump Big Money into Office Rentals Good office space is the stuff of dreams for many. Who wouldn’t love to own a swanky office in an upscale locality with easy and free parking and a Starbucks within a stone’s throw? We would but wouldn’t it come at a premium? Unfortunately, yes. The fight for commercial space is crazy as it is and with the commute getting worse and the roads getting more crowded. More people want to work from home and save themselves the grief of daily unforgiving travel. If you have just started out and don’t yet have a client base, staff, or income to justify staking out on your own it makes no sense to buy commercial property at this stage. But if you have a team in place and the immediate future looks good, we recommend giving a serious thought to buying a property on your own (to cut down on a real estate agent’s commission). Where to buy it would depend on whether you need to be centrally located, otherwise, there’s no need to choose the costliest (or the cheapest!) of localities for your office. As a business owner, you want your office to be accessible and look presentable so choose both the location and the interior set-up of it wisely. Be Smart with Staffing Next to rent, staffing is the big cost for startups. Of course, you need to hire the best people, so we would never suggest you cutting corners here. However, can you get a multi-location team in place? Or do the jobs need to be done by people physically present in the office? In case you can let people work for you from remote locations (aka outsourcing), go for it. That alone will save you a few thousand dollars each year in terms of salaries. Save on Tech Costs Technology is expensive, whether hardware or software-related. But it is also quite central to most businesses today, though some businesses need state-of-the-art tech more than others. If you blog, design websites, or make heavy use of your computer’s writing and designing abilities, we recommend you do not cut costs in this respect. Don’t opt for Open Office over MS Office of Thunderbird email over outlook. But if the MS Office suite is not much use to you and you don’t really need a licensed copy of Photoshop since you don’t do any detailed image editing, by all means go for their cheaper alternatives and save money. The idea is for you to ensure that the quality of your product doesn’t suffer in your bid to bring down costs. Another way to save on telecommunication costs is to use Skype (within the office) or Voice-Over Internet Protocol instead of a landline phone to make and receive phone calls. Conference calls can also be made for free via a number of services. These are little things that will start making a considerable difference as time goes on. DIY Website Designing Every business needs a beautiful face. A good-looking website is important as your website is your virtual shop. You don’t want to turn people away just by the looks of it! However, hiring a good website designer for this can turn out to be very expensive. Some of them charge as much as a few thousand dollars for a couple of days’ work. Whether you should hire one or not depends on the ambitions you have for your website. But at the starting stage we recommend setting aside a few hours each Sunday and doing this yourself or roping in a friend to help you out. So what if you have never designed websites before. Ever heard of Squarespace? It provides fun templates and super easy and helpful tools for new entrepreneurs such as yourself to build their own websites. It isn’t for free but nowhere near as expensive as hiring a web designer. Take Social Media Marketing Seriously However much you may hate it, marketing is the lifeblood of a new business and you need to bring in place some solid marketing strategies for your business to take off. No one has ever heard about you, they have no idea what you are doing, and yet you want them to sit up and take notice of what you’ve got to offer. How do you make that happen? By spreading the word about your business. Network as much as you can and tap into the power of social media fully to market your product/services. Images: “Start up / Shutterstock.com“ __________________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Tweak Your Biz: Would you like to write for Tweak Your Biz? Tweak Your Biz is an international, business advice community and online publication. Today it is read by over 140,000 business people each month (unique visitors, Google Analytics, December, 2013). See our review of 2013 for more information. 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