Building a Business the Frugal Way

Dollar bills in glass jar on wooden background. Saving money concept.

One of my favorite business concepts is learning how to operate a small business on a tight budget. With traditional access to capital not as readily available as it once was, small-business owners have been forced to stretch their resources. With more companies leveraging new turnkey technologies, entrepreneurs are learning how to operate their businesses much more cost effectively. Running a small business is never easy, however, my hope is that the following information will provide some insight into how to help your business grow while holding on to more of your hard-earned money.

Learn to Coexist

Over the past decade, small-business owners have been abandoning traditional office spaces for the cost savings and flexibility that co-working spaces provide. For starters co-workers benefit from shared services. A graphic designer in need of a good accountant could easily find one in a shared space. Members of a co-working space can also help one another by referring customers. They also allow for reduced out-of-pocket expenses as tenants share office equipment, conference rooms, furniture and even supplies in some cases.

But if a co-working opportunity seems logistically out of reach and cost-prohibitive, try turning a spare bedroom or unused space into a home office. A new business working from home can save anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per month.

Learn to Recycle

As a small-business owner, I have learned the value of recycling in my day-to-day business operations. One area of business that is ever-changing is technology. From time to time, established businesses might look to replace entire computer systems. Savvy entrepreneurs might keep their eyes and ears open for those companies that might be willing to donate equipment to a small business such as yours. You coulddo some research to see if there are any companies in your area that might be upgrading equipment soon, and then ask when would be a good time to follow up.

I once purchased an entire room full of furniture from a hotel that was going out of business. A quick search for companies that act as intermediaries for organizations looking to liquidate old office furniture or equipment might lead to some big savings.

Cancel Your Travel Plans

In the past I have lived in areas where the traffic has been stifling. Luckily, those areas offered great alternatives. As another cost-saving opportunity, try using public transportation instead of driving. Over time you might find the savings in gas, parking, regular auto repairs and time to be well worth it. Lastly, try substituting some of your face-to-face meetings with the convenience of a conference or video call. Conducting one online call per week can allow an entrepreneur to be productive without the additional travel time and could help you drive down costs.

Quote: Entrepreneurs have learned to operate their businesses more efficiently than their larger counterparts.

Cutting Small-Business Expenses

Always be on the lookout for ways you can continue to help your business grow while operating more cost effectively.

  • If co-working and working from home are not a possibility, try using a local library, a favorite coffee shop or some other community area with free Wi-Fi to serve as a temporary workspace.
  • Try repurposing regularly used office supplies such as binders, folders printer paper, paperclips and other supplies.
  • Determine your biggest office needs and then try to find a free workaround. Don’t rule out bartering for the services that you need.
  • Consider making plans to meet over coffee instead of lunch or dinner.
  • Try automating as many manual functions as possible. Accepting payments online is one example.
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