Were you ever involved in Boy Scouts? If so, you might recall having recited the following a time or two: “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.”
Not a bad motto to live by, right?
That was the Scout Law you just read, and while each descriptive term might seem rather commonplace when talking about how a person should live his or her life to maximize personal output, there’s one that sticks out like crazy: “thrifty.”
Though unbeknownst to most scouts, while being thrifty certainly plays an important role in becoming an excellent person, it’s even more important for entrepreneurs looking to make a name for themselves. Think about it—there are a host of awesome coupon sites out on the World Wide Web, but none of them are effective enough to make up for the mistakes of an absent-minded entrepreneur.
With 90 percent of startups falling flat on their proverbial faces, you’ll need all the financial help you can get to maximize the value of each and every dollar in your bank account. Concerned? No worries—the following four tips are not only easy-to-implement, but they’re also highly effective:
1) When Possible, Buy Used
Listen, just because Google’s main office in Mountain View, Calif. is filled solely with furniture that looks like it was plucked from a space station, doesn’t mean that yours has to, as well. Seriously, with payroll, legal, insurance, rent and equipment taking up the bulk of your budget, you don’t need to be wasting money on chic sofas, state-of-the-art filing cabinets and the most modern of light fixtures.
Also, for what it’s worth, the longer you can hold off on a real estate lease, the better. Sure, working from a garage, basement or kitchen table isn’t horribly accommodating, but the longer you can make due with what you’ve got, the lighter your financial load will be.
2) Inexpensive Advertising Is Best
Obviously, advertising can make or break a startup. Seriously, it doesn’t matter how innovative, effective or earth-shattering your product or service is, if nobody knows about it, money can’t be made. That said, once a realistic advertising budget has been made, do your absolute best to stick to it.
More often than not, you simply don’t need your brand’s logo and tagline plastered on a roadside billboard or featured during a Super Bowl commercial. Instead, as painfully frugal as it might seem, opt for means that are either inexpensive or entirely free.
Take out an ad in your local newspaper or begin building a Craigslist campaign. Or, if it’s digital marketing that floats your boat, with just a few bucks, thousands of eyes can see your promoted content on Facebook or Twitter. Yes, the day will come when you can devote more cash to this, but that day has yet to have arrived. In the meantime, keep things cheap.
3) Hire Help Only When It’s Needed
Oftentimes, new business owners see the acquirement of talent as an immediate pressure release. Sure, your plate might not be as full, but this is truly a full-fledged investment. With new talent onboard, every second of every workday means that you’re now shelling out money to fund someone else’s livelihood. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you shouldn’t take on this kind of responsibility until your startup is completely ready.
If you find yourself stuck and in need of a friendly push in the right direction, consult your current professional network for some free advice. Or, if the service you’re looking for is super specialized, hire an expert for a two- or three-hour consultation. While generally still expensive, it’s substantially cheaper than footing the bill for someone’s annual salary.
4) Be Strict With Bookkeeping
Remember all of those receipts you’ve conveniently stashed in the glove compartment of your car? While mere clutter for most, they represent a great way for you to be saving money for both yourself and your business.
Depending upon the purchase and how closely it relates to the furthering of your startup, many are very much tax deductible. So, save everything in an organized manner. At the end of the year, when you begin working on your taxes with a certified tax professional, you’ll be able to get the most out of every dollar you’ve ever spent.
Let’s face it—the world of entrepreneurship is an unforgiving one. It’s hostile, competitive and things usually don’t work out all that well when all is said and done. With that in mind, however, when you can make the most of every earned dollar, your chances of succeeding skyrocket. In the end, survival means being smart with your money.
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