Being a small business owner means you have a lot of tough decisions to make. When it comes to choosing where to allocate your money, you don’t always have to make big sacrifices to keep your business running smoothly. Here are three great ways to reduce business costs while continuing to grow your small business:
- Hire Interns:
Are you understaffed and looking for some extra hands on deck? Adding a new full time employee can be costly. Let’s say you decide to bring on a full-time hire and pay them $15 an hour. That’s a $2400 paycheck you are cutting them each month. That doesn’t include insurance costs, taxes, benefits, not to mention training and overhead costs. On top of that you also have to consider how long it will take for that employee to get up to speed and the associated opportunity costs of bringing that individual on. If you are
a small, cash-strapped business hiring a full-time employee may not be the best solution for your growing pains. A great alternative is to start an internship program. Believe it or not many public and private universities require or strongly recommend that students get an internship at some point during their college tenure. Some course curriculums even require one or multiple internships in order for their students to qualify for graduation or in return for school credits. With more than 2,500 accredited four-year colleges and universities in the United States, it shouldn’t be hard for you to find a few eager students to temporarily join your ranks.
Bringing on interns can have a number of big benefits for your business. They can offer new perspectives and help you and your employees with projects that you have been overlooking in lieu of more important tasks. Having a temporary intern is also the perfect way to find future employees and learn what works and what doesn’t in your organization. By bringing interns into your business you are also continuing to get your business name known and you create a self-fulfilling recruitment cycle. As a business owner, you are always looking for new ways to bring valuable new people into your organization without having to hire a recruiting company. Internship programs provide you with driven, low-cost workers who don’t expect much in pay. And guess what, if things don’t quite work out with you and your new intern, you can part ways after a few months with some new perspective of your own. Not to mention supporting local students is a great move for your business.
- Take Advantage of Free Advertising and Marketing:
Okay this one is huge! And we mean HUGE. Traditional marketing and advertising can cost your business an arm and a leg. Nowadays with the internet there are ample ways to run an extremely successful marketing and advertising campaign for an extremely low budget. We aren’t talking about just setting up a few social media accounts. This is still going to take some time and attention but the potential outcomes are huge. Companies today are turning to online discussion forums, email lists, and inbound marketing to find potential customers by leveraging their expertise. Here’s how it works: You provide free value or advice related to your industry which potential customers find you through organic searches, online forums and discussion boards. As you provide more and more free value to people, your perceived expertise increases along with your familiarity among potential clients. If you are the industry expert in a given field, you are the clear choice next time someone enters the buying stage. Here are a few examples of how you can start doing just this. You could start answering questions that people post in pre-existing online communities. You could start a YouTube channel dedicated to educating people about something related to your business or service. You could start an email newsletter offering people valuable tips, information or even case studies. These are just a few ways to market your business on a low budget.
And hey, maybe you aren’t about the internet or don’t want to deal with email lists or discussion boards, no problem. You can take the same principles we have discussed here and take them offline. Get involved in your industry or local area and offer free seminars or meet ups where you are able to offer valuable information or training to people who are interested in what you do!
For small business owners, the word “outsourcing” may seem like the downfall of their homegrown operation, but outsourcing today can be a lot more valuable and cost-effective for your business than you may think. And no we do not mean moving all of your production and customer service operations overseas. You can outsource just about anything to people domestically or internationally for much less than it would cost you to do it in house. Do you need research done on your competition? Or maybe you need someone to cook up some hot new graphics for your monthly newsletter? How about that marketing proposal that needs to get finished by next week? Well guess what, there are thousands of individuals who are excited and willing to do all of those things for less than you think. Sites like Upwork
allow you to connect with individuals who can do just about any task for you. Describe the project you have in mind, use their networks to get thousands of eyes on your project, get other people to bid on your project and choose the winner to complete the task on a budget that works for you. And if you thought that these kind of sites only lead to unskilled workers you may want to think twice. Today, it is not uncommon to find individuals with degrees and a running track record to base your decision upon.
We just wanted to lead you to the rabbit hole, but now it’s up to you to go down it. If you are willing to get creative and spend a little extra time looking for ways to leverage your available resources, you will surely find ways to keep your business on top.