Have you ever considered starting your own business? Home-based businesses are very popular these days and less intimidating to start. In my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d be working from home for myself but here I am.
Working for yourself by running your own business sounds great, but it can take quite a bit of money to get your business off the ground depending on what your niche is. Having an online business cuts many of the traditional start-up costs, but there will still be some expected and unexpected costs to consider nonetheless.
Costs like equipment and materials that will help you do your job, training and certifications, a professional website, legal assistance etc. can really add up.
While you should already have plenty of savings lined up before you pull the trigger and start your business, it’s important to look for ways to cut expenses and save money when you can. Here are 5 easy ways to help cut the costs of starting a small business.
1. Apply for Grants
Grants are better than loans because you don’t have to pay the money back. That being said, it’s a lot harder to get this type of business funding. Your business will often have to meet specific criteria in order to be considered for some grants.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers mostly business loans and a few grants for small businesses that are engaged in scientific research and development. While you most likely won’t be able to receive a grant for simply starting a business, there are still quite a few grants that you may qualify for.
All you have to do is start looking.
Related: Small Business Grants for Women
Another option to help get funding and avoid a loan would be to secure a sponsor. Some companies may willing to sponsor a small businesses for the sake of more affordable advertising on their part.
Having a solid network can also help you find and secure sponsors as well. If your business is launching a project, product, or service focused on giving back to others, it will be much easier to find a sponsor.
On the other hand, you don’t have to host big events and come up with unique project ideas to find sponsorship for your business. Another easy way to get sponsored is to start producing content for your business and growing your audience. If you have a blog, YouTube channel, podcast, or even social media networks that have a growing following, you can gain sponsorship as an influencer and that income can help you supplement some of your business expenses.
3. Hire Interns or Use Outsourcing Websites
Small business owners can’t do everything alone long-term which is why you definitely need to consider hiring help as a common business expense. When you’re just getting started, it may not make sense to hire help right away but after you’re earning a decent amount, you’ll realize that you need to spend money in order to keep making money.
Your time, energy, and resources are limited which is why you can only do so much. Developing a team of people who can help you can expand your business and increase your profits but it costs money to hire others.
To keep this expense low in the beginning, consider hiring interns or using outsourcing sites like Upwork or Fiverr for one-off projects. If you have an intern, they can gain valuable experience working with you and you can pay them a stipend or hourly rate that fits within your budget.
4. Borrow or Lease Equipment
If you have to have specific equipment for your business, it may be better to borrow or lease it for the time being if it’s going to be a super costly purchase or if you’re not going to be using it often.
From machinery and tools to computers and whole offices, you can lease a wide variety of items needed to help your business function.
The good thing about leasing equipment is that it’s often cheaper than buying everything at once and you won’t have to deal with costly maintenance and repairs.
The downsides include the equipment not really being yours, your personal line of credit may be required in order to secure the lease, and the costs can eventually add up over time.
5. Go Paperless
This can help you relieve stress and all the hassle that surrounds sorting through and storing paper. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t like getting a ton of paper in the mail because it just overwhelms me and takes up space.
Running a paperless business also has environmental benefits as well since you’ll have less waste and can organize everything online. You can store important documents securely, accept payments, sign contracts, and communicate with customers and clients all virtually.
You can also save money by not having to purchase a ton of equipment or rent out an office space since you can just work from home.
You can also host meetings via phone, Skype or Google Hangout.
Depending on your niche, a virtual/paperless business is the way to go if you’re looking to cut your business expenses and be kinder to the environment.
When starting a business, it’s important to think of cost-effective ways to build your business and grow your profits.
What additional ways can you think of to cut costs when you’re just starting out?
Related: 10 Small Business Ideas for Women