As anyone who has had the entrepreneurial bug bite them will tell you, there are so many influences in business, chipping away at your profits and eroding your bottom line that just keeping your head above water in those fragile early days, can be a struggle.
This is the experience I faced when starting my first business, and while I eventually overcame the struggle and stress associated with getting a startup off the ground, the lack of constructive resources available to me made it a daunting time for all involved. This is something that still continues to this day, as it can be nearly impossible to get a definitive answer to the question “How Can I Make This Work?”.
During April to June 2016, over 70,000 new businesses were created in Australia. However, the total number of business failures during the second quarter was well-over 10,000. Whilst I don’t want to put a damper on your enthusiasm, it pays (literally) to consider ways to reduce your outgoings until you can get a solid footing.
Allow me to share with you some ways I discovered to remain solvent, taking inspiration from the time I spent developing my small venture a few years ago.
Virtual Real Estate
As any enterprising business person who has held a shaky pen over a 3-year office lease can tell you, the whole process is daunting. Not only are you committing yourself and your venture to monthly lease payments, but add to this the drain of furnishings, IT, networks, phone systems, staff and all the other essential set-up costs such as hardware and consumables. How perfect would it be to have the peace of mind necessary to begin small, whilst presenting yourself as a successful national (or international) concern.
Believe it or not it is possible and cheaper than you think.
A virtual office can provide you with not only a prestigious office address, but also furnish a dedicated receptionist, stunning offices for meetings and the like along with technology that you would never have imagined possible until your business was fully established.
Virtual offices are located in major business hubs both in Australia and around the world, allowing you to market yourself as having a physical presence in those destinations, while providing a facility for clients, consultants and customers to meet with you whilst enjoying the state-of-the-art amenities.
Further to the advantages of the virtual office is savings related to desirable but non-critical staff. Research suggests that people are reluctant to leave voicemail messages, responding more favorably to speaking directly to a business. Having a professional, confident voice answering your calls projects an image of success, which can be achieved via a virtual, dedicated receptionist.
Outsourcing things such as your accounting to a private firm or bookkeeper can also be a valuable economising solution, as they charge by the hour rather than by a wage. Consider utilising consultants rather than full-time staff. Many consultants have their own offices or work from home, allowing you to pay for staff on an ‘as needed’ basis.
Online – On Target
More and more businesses are realising the advantages of having an online store as opposed to a physical one. Whilst a walk-in store provides a means for customers to able to inspect goods, it can be a huge income drain involving rental of premises, staff costs and overheads.
Creating an online persona and building a client base can be readily achieved via the services of a professional digital marketing company. Contrast this to the costs of staffing and maintaining a physical shop along with the market reach – local as opposed to global, and the financial benefits of an online portal are obvious.
Consider the trend toward online content marketing, which costs over 60% less than outbound marketing but generates three times as many leads. Well written copy, which utilises search engine optimisation (SEO), can engage, inform and grow brand recall in a way that can’t be achieved via traditional marketing methods.
Economising doesn’t have to mean cutting corners in the quality of your services or products. It means finding smarter, more efficient methods to expand your client base and increase your brand exposure. Get the formula right and your business, staff and bottom line will all benefit.
You may also like to read: