Lean & mean – 5 secrets to growing your small business on a budget
If you’re running your own small business, you are undoubtedly familiar with the cocktail of emotions involved: excitement blends with fear, anticipation tangoes with dread and exhilaration walks lovingly hand-in-hand with anxiety. Your work likely infiltrates every aspect of your life, and it’s unlikely you ever feel that you have everything completely under control. No matter how many hours a day you work, that list of things to do never ever seems to get smaller. Thank the Lord for coffee!
As your baby grows, you’re faced with the ever-present conundrum: how to expand your business and increase capacity while maintaining cash flow and profitability. Without the safety net of a regular salary, every decision you make can have a profound effect on your financial security. However, you’re only one person, and you can’t possibly do everything yourself and expect the business to grow. However, there are some ways that you can streamline your venture to get the most out of it, while still running a lean budget. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
At some point, you will inevitably reach the point where you outgrow your home office or whatever makeshift location you’re occupying. In not every case do the expanding practical requirements coincide with the capacity to pay for them. Renting or purchasing office space is a formidable commitment and will likely be one of your most significant expenses, draining much-needed cash from your business.
For this reason, more and more small ventures are turning to serviced office solutions such as those provided by APSO for the answer to this delicate balance. A serviced office provides you with all the facilities and amenities of a regular leased office at a fraction of the cost. Additionally, all APSO serviced offices provide you with access to receptionist, business support and a host of other services and features that will potentially save you thousands each month, while significantly lightening your workload.
Gone are the days where running a business required a huge investment in IT infrastructure. Servers, routers, back-ups, communications systems and the like used to require excessive amounts of financial and human resources to operate effectively. The advent of the Cloud has turned this model on its head. Today, everything from data storage and email to telephony, business software and a host of other functions can be run effectively and at low cost using Cloud-based services. Many entrepreneurs are now able to run complex, successful businesses with little more than a laptop, mobile phone and wireless connection – a scenario that would have been unthinkable even a decade ago.
Payroll is the most substantial cost for virtually any business. Many smaller concerns simply don’t have the capacity to take on additional staff, leaving owners with the choice of either doing the work themselves or outsourcing it. The former can be problematic in that the owner often lacks the time or expertise to handle specialised functions, while the latter can quickly drain your finances. Processes such as accounting, AR/AP, customer relationship management and a host of others can all be automated easily and at little cost, freeing up time and money for other core tasks.
However convenient technology has become, it’s an inescapable fact that some functions will always require a human to perform them. As your business gains traction, you may not yet have the need, nor the resources to take on regular staff and all the obligations that they entail. Once again, the internet has provided a solution in the form of numerous freelancer websites that allow you to access talent all over the world, often at a fraction of the cost of local workers. With no super, entitlements or other labour-related costs required, freelancers can be an exceptional interim option to keep your operations moving forward without the vast outlays.
Nobody is an expert at everything and whatever your specialty, it’s likely that there are aspects of your industry at which you excel, and others which are not necessarily your forte. When you partner with other small businesses with complementary skill sets, you create a framework for productive cooperation that helps everyone to grow. While it might take some courage to relinquish a certain degree of control and share clients with collaborative partners, those clients will appreciate access to a broader range of services and in most cases can be retained for longer. Working with partners to define a revenue-sharing arrangement that works for everyone and reflects the value that each party brings to the client can pay huge dividends.
These are just a few of the ways that you can grow your business without watching your financial outlays skyrocket. If you find yourselves at the crossroads whereby your business is calling out for expansion, but you don’t quite have the cash available, get in touch with us today to arrange an inspection of one of our exceptional serviced offices and take the first step on the path to manageable growth.