It was out of sheer necessity that I learned to accomplish much in my business with nearly nothing. I could probably write a book about how I started multiple businesses with a few bucks in my hand. It’s not that I am clever or anything like that, I was desperate. And one thing I’ve learned is that desperation can cause you to make really stupid choices or to be extraordinarily creative. In a way, I was forced to get creative on how to save money to keep me in business.
As a result, I learned some valuable lessons about what to do and what NOT to do. It seems that sometimes saving money means making decisions that are counter-intuitive. It turns out, sometimes you have to loosen, not tighten, the purse strings every now and then to keep yourself from choking.
There are many, many ways to save money in your business and these eight certainly aren’t the “top” or “essential” ideas everyone needs to adopt. But they are helpful.
1. Use A Cash Flow Statement
Okay. So this one IS my top tip and is ESSENTIAL to save you money in your business. The biggest mistake I see in almost all businesses is that we get so focused on keeping on top of the day-to-day operational requirements that we avoid doing the menial but necessary administrative tasks. Most of us don’t have time to balance our books much less do a cash flow statement. But the cash flow statement is the #1 tool a business should use on a weekly or monthly basis. It is a tool that will instantly tell you where your money is leaking with a glance! And once you get it set up, it really doesn’t take more than an hour to update it (if you stay on top of it).
2. Pay Yourself First
Okay. I know, this seems REALLY counter-intuitive but I’ve done it both ways. At first, I spent years paying myself ONLY if there was anything left after all the expenses, which was never. I hated never getting paid and frankly it made me grumpy. Working countless hours and not getting paid is discouraging and develops desperation. Customers can pick up on how we are doing emotionally. No matter how hard we try to conceal our worry over money issues, it just comes out. Instead, pay yourself SOMETHING. Even if it’s small, pay yourself first, EVERY WEEK.
Also, pay your business first. In addition to making sure I get paid, I put a small portion of every deposit into a savings account.
Something odd happened when I started paying myself first and putting a small amount into savings. I figured out how to run my business with the money that was left! I thought it would make my finances worse. Instead, it made them better. (I highly recommend the book, PROFIT FIRST, by Mike Michalowicz).
3. Tithe or Give
This is another unexpected suggestion for saving money in your business. You may wonder how one can save money if we’re paying ourselves, saving, and then giving away our resources BEFORE we even start paying the bills for the business! Well…I call it “Kingdom Math”. Simply stated, there are spiritual principles that apply to us just like there are physical laws. When we give, God blesses us. Not to mention, it changes our thinking because we are focused on others and not just ourselves.
Trust me. It works.
4. STOP Boosting Your Social Media Posts
I am amazed at how much money businesses and organizations spend on boosting their Facebook posts because they think the golden ticket to improving their business is having as many likes as possible.
First of all, until you have a solid social media marketing strategy, you shouldn’t boost posts AT ALL. You are literally throwing your money away. Secondly, WHEN you have a clear understanding of WHO you are targeting in your boosted posts, then start with a really small budget, like $2/day. Then, when the people who like your page are actually engaging your business and bringing in income…well, then let’s talk about boosting posts. For now, save those dollars.
5. Use A Free Email Service
Unless you have over 2000 ACTIVE email addresses, you shouldn’t be paying a penny for an email client. MailChimp has the best free email option in my opinion. You can do so much with the free version. Don’t be tempted to use the paid version until you have a solid email strategy and you are converting emails into income. There are other options as well such as Mailerlite and Klayvio.
6. Monitor Your Website Expenses
We all like bells & whistles, tech & gadgets, and all kinds of pretty little things (hellloooo! ?♀️). Yet, for microbusinesses, we can usually do just fine on the many free options that are out there. Unless you are actively selling products or getting customers regularly through your site, Shopify, Wix, Weebly, etc. is wasted money. You can easily set up a free or very low-cost (under $30/mo) website on WordPress. It’s best to use a hosting company such as DreamHost, Ehost, or BlueHost.
7. Avoid Multiple Online Courses, Webinars, Paid Groups (for now)
This one stings a little for me. I get pulled in to so many webinars and online courses, books, etc. I have spent an ugly amount of money on “education”. Most of them are very good and I’m not saying don’t ever do them. What I am saying is…DO ONE AT A TIME.
Make sure to give yourself time to complete AND APPLY the content you paid for, getting your money back and more, before going off and purchasing something else. Unless of course, you have the budget for it. Instead, utilize the abundant FREE information that is out there. It’ll cost more in time, but there’s so much free info to be had.
8. Limit Non-Income Producing Activity
Sometimes it’s scary to step out there; to make the cold calls or ask for the sale. It’s uncomfortable and so we find ways to get caught up in the little things that don’t really matter. Re-doing our brand colors or logo for the 3rd year in a row (I wouldn’t know anything about that), rearranging the store – again, or reading another book before trying to apply the lessons learned from the previous one. How about spending too much time on social media posts that aren’t targeted or designed with a purpose in mind? There are a thousand ways that we distract ourselves to keep us from doing the real work that brings results and cash flow.
To help, ask yourself, if what you are doing right now directly helping your business make money.
Now, think of one task you can add that will build your business and write it down. Try it every day for a week and see what happens. (ex: post on SM every day, visit a networking group, follow up with past customers/clients, etc.)
If you are on a tight budget, the above ideas will definitely help you save money. Once you have more wiggle room, certainly add some of these back into your routine as they will help you grow. But first, get your feet on solid, financial ground, and your day in a streamlined workflow.