Setting up in business in today’s economic recession can be a challenge in itself especially as many existing businesses are downsizing to keep afloat. New business start-ups statistics are on the increase as figures rose from 432,300 in 2007 to 436,600 in 2008, with the overall number of businesses in the UK rising to around 2.9 million. However, it has never been more vital for a new business start-up to keep a firm hand on its cash from the off-set.
Here are some helpful tips on how to get started and save you money in the process!
Don’t buy office space
Running a business from an office can be a huge overhead for a business start-up. Fortunately, today’s market can provide better solutions that guarantee to save money. Take the virtual office for starters – a small business can run their day to day office from home making considerable savings and tax benefits. When they need to meet clients face-to-face they simply set up meetings or conferences in a virtual office business centre. It has been a godsend to the small business owners especially when they have needed to impress an important client, first impressions count and they manage to project the right professional image but at a price they can afford and the customers are none the wiser! Hiring a part-time virtual office will set you back a meagre £29 per day and you can opt for a private office or shared open plan space, it is up to you visit www.regus.co.uk or www.basepoint.co.uk for further details.
The home office no longer has the stigma it use to as more and more start-ups want to save money in these uncertain times. For those start-ups who want the best of both worlds, why not work from home 80% of the time but 20% from a virtual office.
Software that doesn’t cost a fortune!
Don’t buy traditional software packages, as you have to pay out a large amount initially in one go, plus training, implementation and maintenance costs will need to be factored in as well as future upgrades. Instead, get your software hosted online, that way you pay as little as £5 per month and you won’t have to foot the bill on maintenance, implementation costs – no IT guy required! Best of all your software is always the most up to date version for FREE. Some business software companies will offer module pricing plans, so you can customise your requirements and don’t end up paying for additional software that you won’t use. For business software trial for free: www.icomplete.com or 37signals.com and for accountancy software: www.kashflow.co.uk or www.xero.com.
Don’t hire staff in the beginning – outsource instead
The cost of employing people these days is high and reliability can be an issue. A much cheaper alternative is to use virtual resources on a pay as you go basis. The virtual industry market is booming in the current economic climate as more and more small businesses are cutting costs and reaping the benefits of low risk outsourcing. What is great about virtual assistants is that you don’t have to pay sickness, holiday or other benefits. Over time you build up a great relationship with your virtual assistant as if they were part of your team, try moneypenny.co.uk.
Alternatively if you want even cheaper outsourcing without the human element, then you can set up automated mail-outs, simply provide the template and the company will do the rest, including stuffing envelopes and posting out the mail-shots via machine, for more information contact: viapost.com
Slash your telephone costs instantly.
Look at reducing your phone bills every quarter by installing VoIP technology. VoIP enables you to make your phone calls over the internet at the fraction of the cost of a normal phone call saving you hundreds of pounds on your annual business phone. It is really easy to set up and run don’t be put off by telecom technology. You can also benefit from using voicemail to email and a divert call function so that you can pick up calls wherever you are so you don’t lose business, contact icomplete.com.
Look at more cost effective ways to market your business.
E-marketing is a very powerful and cost effective way to market your business. It enables you to send out newsletters, mailshots, special offers and loyalty schemes directly to your customers via their email address at no extra cost, you save on postage and/or printing costs too. It also encourages them back to your website to see what other services you offer. The only investment is the time needed to design your promotional e-mail material it is so simple!
A website is a must and there is one to suit everyone’s budget.
It is essential to have a business online presence and there are many ways you can get a good quality website at a good price if you know how. If you want a cheap e-commerce website then try stock-a-shop that will enable you to display a wide range of products for sale. If you want to build your own website from simple templates that you can customise try homestead.com or alternatively if you want a bespoke website on a tight budget but quality layout then try simplewebsitedesigns.co.uk. Or why not come along on the Women Unlimited build your own website in WordPress workshop.
Note from Women Unlimited: If you are just starting out, check out our Starting Up mini conference to give your startup a boost.
About the Author: Claire Hibbert. Claire is the Marketing Director for icomplete.com. Claire left a career in the video games industry to launch her own beauty salon in the late nineties. It was while managing her small business that she had the “eureka moment” that would lead to icomplete.com, and the concept of a fully integrated, complete business management solution.