Want to get the most out of your startup budget? Here is a brief guide to help you to put your funds to good use by knowing when to skimp and when to splurge.
When to skimp
Most companies don’t need physical premises in the beginning. Office-based work can typically be carried out from home. Retail stores can meanwhile begin life as online stores and market stalls. By not investing in separate premises, you could save huge costs such as rent/mortgage, energy bills, extra equipment, maintenance and property taxes. Once you’ve established a brand and a steady revenue, it could then be a sensible idea to upgrade your premises.
A lot of start-ups also don’t need a huge team of employees. You may find that you’re able to save money at first by hiring part-time staff or by outsourcing roles rather than hiring full time employees. You certainly don’t need to be hiring assistant managers in the beginning.
Marketing is essential when launching a business, however you don’t need to pay a lot for it. In fact, a lot of initial marketing can be easily DIYed. When it comes to web design, consider creating your own site using a free website builder like WordPress – this could be all you need as a start-up. You can also do your own social media marketing and do your own networking without having to pay for professionals.
When to splurge
A lot of companies underspend on market research. Understanding your audience’s needs is vital as a startup and you should invest money into research strategies such as surveys and organised focus groups. This can help you to create a product/service that you know people are going to love.
As a startup, it can be a struggle to compete with more established companies. One way in which you can have the edge over these companies is by using the latest technology available – most established companies will still be using older tech out of convenience. It could be worth investing in start-up IT support to help you choose the best tech options. Cloud technology, analytics and smart technology are just three tech trends that are very hot at the moment and could be worth taking advantage of.
A lot of business owners make mistakes in the beginning that can lead to lawsuits. Consider investing in a general business insurance scheme that will cover you in the event of a claim. Some insurance is compulsory such as employer’s liability insurance if you’re planning to employ staff. Don’t skimp on these compulsory schemes.
There are media reports aplenty on the damage being caused to the environment, so as a citizen of our beloved planet, it is your ethical responsibility to do your bit to protect the world we live in.
Still, if you are dragging your feet regards better green practices, know that by doing so, you will also benefit your business. While you shouldn’t need an incentive to be eco-minded, knowing that it makes perfect business sense might be the kick up the backside you need.
Going green will reduce company costs
Are you looking to maximise your business profits? Going green will help you to do so. By forming green habits, such as turning off appliances when they are not in use, you will save on your electricity bills. By digitizing your files with PaperSave, you will reduce paper and printing costs. By purchasing energy-efficient equipment, such as Energy-Star labelled printers and computers, you will cut down your utility bills. And by doing each of these things, you will then have a greater capacity to save money and spend more on items your business needs.
Going green will improve your reputation
A business can live or die based on its reputation, so if you want to avoid allegations of bad practice, be they slanderous or otherwise, know that by going green, you will turn the tide of public favor towards you. After all, would you do business with a company that was behaving unethically? We are imagining not, so consider your local community. By doing such things as using sustainable materials in your packaging and eliminating the waste you send to landfills, the public and your local media will have less reason to slam you. As a result of this, you might have more customers coming your way, especially when your nearest rivals are failing to show their green credentials.
Going green will improve employee morale
A happy employee is a productive employee, so by applying green principles to your business, you will impress those members of your staff who are keen to do their bit for the environment. And by using green initiatives, such as allowing for telecommuting, you will both cut down the commuter traffic on the roads, and improve your employee’s morale further by giving them the opportunity to work from home. It’s also worth noting that by going green, you are more likely to attract the best hires from the millennial workforce, as according to this engagement study, 64% of millennials take into account a company’s environmental commitments when they are deciding on where to work. Not only will this benefit your business, but it will give you a further foothold over your competitors in the cutthroat business world you operate in.
So, if you haven’t fully gone green within your business yet, perhaps now is the time to do so. With a reduction in business costs, an improved reputation, and happier and more productive employees, the benefits to your business are clear. It makes perfect business sense, and alongside the world-saving benefits too, you would be foolish not to take action soon.
When you own a business, it can feel like you are in a never-ending cycle of waking, working, sleeping and little else. Seeing photos on Facebook and Instagram of entrepreneurs that have cracked some secret code and are working on the beach sipping coconut water… And yet, your reality seems a far cry from that? While no doubt there are plenty of people who have made that work for them, it isn’t the typical case. But you still need to look after yourself.
Stress can have a significant impact on your performance, and that will lead to a knock on effect and impact your business too.
Sounds simple enough but when you run your own business, the chances are you are pretty stationary for most of your day. Unless you have a standing desk or one with a treadmill attached you’re probably not moving as much as you should. So, aim to get a daily walk of between 30 minutes to one hour in the morning before you start work for the day. Take the stairs instead of the lift, and perhaps even a bike. While you do your emails, you can cycle too. Don’t be tempting to be on your phone while walking, you might end up in a serious accident and need to look into a hit and run investigation.
Yes, the big buzzword in self-care. But, only because it has been proven time and again to be fantastic for tackle stress levels, depression and helps you focus in other areas. If you haven’t ever meditated before, then you should start with something guided. The Headspace app has a range of free options and begins with a quick three minutes to help you get used to meditation. The calm app has a variety of options and various guided meditations to tackle work issues. In general, you should look to fit in at least ten minutes a day.
It is tempting to use your phone and computer on your downtime, but the chances are you will drift into working. Your brain naturally associates your work station, computer, and the phone you use for business calls – for business. Making time to disconnect from those is essential. Constant notifications, calls, emails, pings, rings, and blue light just isn’t great for us. Turn your phone notifications off, leave your computer off and read, write or walk. It is tempting always to stay available and networking, but the same business opportunities will be there in the morning, or on Monday.
Oh, what a surprise that sleep in on a self-care list. Well, sleep is of course obviously, but quality sleep to the point of real rest and recharge is something else entirely. Dr. Steve Orma states that when we try to sleep, we are likely to sleep less. By focusing on trying to drift off, our brain stays awake to check if we have managed to go to sleep yet. So try to head to bed when you are tired, and not until. When you are in your room try not to do anything too exciting like watching telly or scroll Facebook. Instead, just lay down, take a few deep breaths and relax. It is often helpful to listen to calming music, rain or sleep stories.
Self-care isn’t all about bathing in bubbles and drinking some tasty fizz, it can be about small changes to improve our stress and sleep.
There is a lot of advice out there on how to get started running your own business and that’s fantastic. After all, despite the fact that the internet has made it easier than ever, starting your own business is still a pretty scary prospect and new business owners need all the support and guidance they can get. However, one problem with this is that it gives the impression that once your business is established then that’s it, you can just sit back and relax. Anyone who’s ever run a business can tell you that this is obviously not the case. The truth is that establishing your business is just the start of a much longer road. You’re going to need to start thinking about ways your business can grow and improve. With that in mind, here are some things that you may want to consider when the time comes to expand your business.
The most obvious way that you can grow any kind of business is to diversify the kinds of products and services that it offers. When you first start any kind of business it’s always a good idea to keep your scope narrow but to do a small number of things incredibly well rather than trying to stretch yourself too thin. However, as your business grows and you have more resources to spare, it’s a good idea to start thinking about ways that you can connect with customers in different ways or products that connect to the core of your business in new ways.
As your range of products grows then there’s a chance that storage is going to become more and more of an issue. After all, there’s only so much space in your home to fill with your products and hiring out a storage space is an incredibly inefficient use of money. With all of that, a warehouse becomes a highly necessary part of any decent sized business. Of course, you then need to think about everything from inventory management to bringing in the right employees to keep it running.
Among the many things you may want to bring in-house as your business grows, the transport of your products to vendors and customers should be at the top of your list. Of course, any kind of logistics brings with it a degree of challenge from vehicle maintenance to fleet risk management. One of the most important things is to start small. You don’t need an entire fleet of trucks right away.
Of course, you shouldn’t be in too much of a hurry to grow your business. Just because things are going well doesn’t mean that the time has immediately come to change things up. If you try to grow your business too quickly then there’s a chance that it could well collapse under its own weight as you struggle to deal with the increased pressure that comes with a larger business. Whenever you’re trying to grow your business the most important thing to remember is that the growth should always be sustainable.
Want to see more of the world but are held back because of money? Travel can be expensive, but there are ways you can get out there and experience more without it breaking the bank. And it’s always so worth doing so, travel improves your life in so many ways and it’s never a waste of time or money. Here are some ideas for going about it when you don’t have too much to spend.
Is there anything better than the wind in your hair and the open road? Going on a road trip makes you feel free, you can go wherever you want and take it at your own pace. You could follow a set route, or create your own based on what you want to see or do. How about hiring an RV and road tripping across America, or explore Australia with a Sydney Ute van hire? You could drive from south England to Scotland taking in the rolling English countryside, or you could drive all the way through Europe, taking in views of cities, countryside, mountains and beaches depending on the route. You could take a car and stop along the way in expensive motels, hostels and campsites. Or you could choose a vehicle which is accommodation and a mode of transport in one. Either way, it doesn’t have to be expensive and there are lots of companies out there that specialise in people wanting to take one way road trips. You can purchase food cheaply from supermarkets and utilise buffets and chain restaurants to keep food costs down. If you want to cram in as much interest and see as many locations as you can on one trip, then this is a great way to do it.
Camping is cheap and cheerful and fun for all the family. You could keep the budget right down and stay in a tent or hammock, or you could hire a caravan or a glamping pod. Find somewhere that has plenty of outdoor activities to do- hiking, orienteering, cycling, bird watching, boating, fishing and more. It will cost next to nothing but is a chance to get back to nature, clear your mind and you’ll return back to work feeling refreshed and invigorated.
River and canal cruises
Ocean cruises tend to be pretty fancy, even less expensive breaks will still be relatively ‘nice’ as you have all of the luxury of the cruise ship. River and canal cruises can be a little more humble, they’re often not as luxurious as cruise liners but provide you with an incredible way to see the world. Because they utilise rivers, canals and inland water networks, you get to see towns and cities and you’re right in the heart of the action. Whether it’s a larger boat as a passenger, or a boat you’re going to hire and drive yourself then it’s something well worth putting on your travel bucket list.