Running a small or medium sized business can be stressful. The smaller and newer you are, the more vulnerable you are to profit fluctuation, and when you aren’t a huge corporation, even small discrepancies in your turnover can be a problematic.
One area of business that you can control to a certain degree are running costs, and as such, you should make sure you are not hemorrhaging money in areas that you can quite easily address. Being frugal in one area often leads you to being frugal in others, so start asking yourself whether all of your outgoings are reasonable and necessary. You may well be surprised with your findings once you scratch the surface.
Getting Legal? Go Online
Legal costs… Huge, aren’t they?
Getting a legal expert to even meet with you can sometimes cost a small fortune, and for SMB’s this is a cost that can make a huge difference to your profit margin. Unfortunately though these are a necessary cost, whether it be trademarking, or ‘covering your back’ legally in other ways, getting a professional to ‘dot the I’s and cross the t’s’ is a good idea. In today’s world though, you may not have to meet these legal eagles in person, and if you do decide to go down the route of sourcing your legal paperwork online, you can save a serious amount of money.
Plenty of companies now specialize in online legal work, and while you may not get the same level of customer service that you would meeting face to face, these services are a lot cheaper than their brick and mortar brethren. Even if you decide to go with ‘face to face’ for the big issues, online legal companies may be a good way of dealing with the smaller issues you have within the company. Most of them are also acutely aware that not everyone is an expert in the field of legality, and as such they provide some very easy tutorials and help pages to guide you along the way. If the idea of hiring a team of legal gurus makes your wallet tighten it’s clasp in fear, check out your online alternatives.
Get a Reliable Web Host
When it comes to hosting your website or online service, choose your host wisely. Failure to do this can land you in a heap of trouble down the line. Signing up to a 12 month contract with a host that is slow, unresponsive, and unreliable can lead to even the most resilient of entrepreneurs tearing their hair out. Putting the effort in early often means that you can almost forget about your website once it is up and running, but when you have a bad host looking after your site, be prepared to lose time, money, customers, and hair.
Luckily for you, there are websites out there who specialize in comparing web hosting for small businesses, with detailed guides on which ones are priced the most competitively, which have the shortest contracts, and which have the best customer reviews. These sites provide a great overview with all the details you need to make an informed decision before signing that contract. Asking friends and colleagues is often a good idea too. People are only too eager to share horror stories when it comes to paid services, so if anything, you should come away with an idea of who not to trust.
Rooms (and Jobs) by the Hour
When work starts to pile up, we automatically think that we need to hire more staff. While it is not a bad idea to get help when needed, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need another full time member of staff, especially if you are just at tipping point. To help fill the gap until you need a fully fledged new member of staff, plenty of online companies offer remote workers that you can hire for specialist jobs. Whether you need a graphic designer to offer you an artistic hand with your website, or a remote secretary to answer calls, these companies give you all the functionality of having multi-skilled workers at hand, with the flexibility of being able to pay them per job.
Equally, you may have a small office or perhaps a converted office in your house, but need to impress a client? Or perhaps you are working as part of a larger team for three weeks? Rather than signing a lease for 12 months and subsequently rattling around a huge office on your own for 11 of them, check out some online companies that offer rooms by the week, day, or even hour. Here, you can impress whoever you are meeting with an office in the centre of town, without paying the huge bills that accompany them. When it comes to your workforce and your premises, pay for what you need.
When running an SMB, it is easy to concentrate on the money coming in rather than the money going out, but by putting good ideas into practice early, you should be able to forget about the expenses and go back to concentrating on building your brand and making money.