Starting a business is a way that many people choose to make a living or to make extra money to pay bills or help with savings. It can be a very lucrative and enjoyable decision if it is done properly, but it is important to avoid the start-up expenses which doom many small businesses before they start. if you are spending too much getting your business going then you are just building up more debt and making it more difficult for your business to succeed. If your business can’t make money for you then what is the point? Here are four tips to help you save money as you open your home office:
1. Save on furniture – Lawyers and other businessmen care what the furniture looks like in their office. Their image is important. If you are just starting your own business then image probably isn’t as important to you yet. You don’t need to go out and buy fancy new furniture when you start out. This is an easy way to build up debt and you don’t need it. You are much better off using an extra kitchen table or card table as a desk until your business gets established and you can afford more.
2. Shop around – Even if you are saving and avoiding buying new stuff, there will still be a few items that you will have to go out and purchase. The temptation is to head down to the stationery superstore and buy everything you need at once. Don’t do it. There are all sorts of sales on new equipment that you might need and second hand stores, auctions and even garage sales can provide you with a source for the equipment you need at a much more affordable price. Remember, the more you save the more you will make and the more you will have to pay down your debt or add to your savings.
3. Be creative – the point of starting a business is to make money not to spend it. Instead of buying whatever it is that you need, ask yourself if you really need it or if there is an alternative that will work just as well at a lower price. If you concentrate on being creative you will surprise yourself at the solutions you can come up with.
4. Don’t buy it now – Eventually you may need a fancy computer or a new fax machine or a laser printer, but not now. You can get buy with less for now and save yourself the money. The point is to make money to pay off debt, not build up more debt. If you really need the equipment then you can get it when your business is more successful.
5. Go back to school – Not really, but shop like you are. There are great deals on all kinds of stationary at back-to-school time. If you are going to use a specific type of stationary a lot in your business then stock up on it then. You need to be careful, though. It is too easy to stock up on a whole bunch of stuff that you don’t really need and won’t really use. That is just throwing money away and that is not the point. Only buy what you are certain you will use.
6. Stick with one phone – People automatically think that since they have a new business they need a new phone line. Unless you are going to be getting hundreds of calls you can probably get away with just using your home phone. This will save you a good deal of money and that is, as we have said a lot, the point.
7. Think of all the costs – Don’t just consider what things will cost now, but what they will cost over the life of the product. A lower end laser printer, for example, is more expensive than a typical ink jet printer, but the laser cartridges last much longer and aren’t that much more expensive, so in the long run the laser printer may be cheaper. Saving money initially isn’t always the best way to save money.
8. Budget – it is just as important to budget for your small business as it is to budget for yourself. You want to make money from your business, so you need to know how much money you have to start with, how much money you are bringing in and how you are going to spend it. That is the only way to make it all work.
9. Buy it only if you really, really need it – You make think you need something, but may actually discover that you can get by without it or that you didn’t really need it in the first place. One good tip is to write down what you want to buy on a piece of paper and stick it in your drawer for two days. After that time take a look at it again and decide if you still need it. You will often find that what seemed so necessary a couple days before is no longer important or necessary today. This is a great way to save.
10. Try used computers – If you are a high level programmer then you probably need the best and newest computers. If, on the other hand, you are just using your computer for word processing and the internet then brand new isn’t at all necessary. You can get amazing deals on computers that are just two or three years old from online classified sites or the newspaper. It will still do everything you need it to do and save hundreds of dollars.
11. Sometimes spending more will actually save you money – A perfect example of this is internet service. Dial-up service costs less than half as much as broadband service, but the increased speed of broadband means you will be sitting around waiting less and you won’t be tying up your phone line when you are using broadband, so spending the extra money on broadband service will likely actually make your business more effective and make you more money.
12. Sometimes a service is better than a product – An example of this is an answering machine compared to the answering service your phone company provides. The answering machine has a higher front end cost, but no monthly cost whereas the answering service has a cost every month you use it. In the long run the answering machine will be cheaper, but that doesn’t mean it is a better deal necessarily. The technology will get obsolete and the device may break, so you will eventually have to get a new one. One the other hand, the phone company will always update their system and it won’t break or need replacing. You have to consider the whole situation before deciding the best way to spend money.