Anyone who has ever owned a business will tell you that the first year is the most difficult year to get through. Every year, 270,000 new businesses are launched in the UK. Of those businesses, only half will survive the first year and less than half of those will still be in existence five years later, according to statistics published by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, a government organisation. Managing your finances and cutting down on costs is vital to survival, especially in the current economic climate. Below are five simple tips to help you to save money when you first set up in business.
Work from Home
This has to be the top tip because the potential savings in terms of overheads can be huge. Plenty of successful businesses today started out from home. Richard Reed, one of the entrepreneurs behind the Innocent Smoothie brand, famously started his company from home. He went from making fruit smoothies in his kitchen to employing 150 people in 2012. The company is growing year on year, despite the down turn, with new products being added to the range and ever increasing outlets selling them.
Set up a Website and a Blog
Having a website is essential if you are to compete in a world where most companies have a web presence. By having a good website which is optimized for search engines effectively, you could drive many potential customers to your site without having to pay a penny in advertising fees. This does not mean that paid advertising is not beneficial, there is a place and a time for it. However, there are a whole host of ways in which you can promote your business online for free, before having to pay for advertising.
Set up a mailing list and ask people to opt in every time you make a sale. Advertise your mailing list via your social media channels.
Regularly update your blog with information which is helpful and useful to your target market and link your blog back to your website. This helps with search engine optimisation and attracting people to your website in a natural way. Link all of your website pages and blog back to any social media channels and enable your fans to hit the “like,” Google+ and other social share buttons within your website.
Develop a Social Media Marketing Campaign
These days, many consumers look to social media when making purchasing decisions. People are more likely to trust other consumers than a glossy advertising campaign. An obvious example is Youtube. Thousands of consumers regularly review products via their Youtube channels on video. Identify the Youtubers with lots of followers who regularly review products and ask them to review yours. Set up a Youtube channel and start making videos.
Set up a Facebook Fan Page. Because of the way that Facebook is set up, these have the potential to go viral. By having a Fan page where all of your blog posts, videos and latest product information is regularly updated, you have the potential to regularly have contact with potential customers who are already casually on Facebook.
Set up a Twitter account and start tweeting about your products, services and helpful blog posts. Advertise your twitter page through your website, blog and other social media channels.
Set up a Virtual Office
When it comes to doing business, most people still find businesses who advertise an actual premises and land line phone number to be more trustworthy than those who do not. Virtual offices allow you to have a business address in a city area such as London, which can be used on all of your office stationary, business cards, letter heads and website adding an air of prestige and credibility. Most services like this also have a mail forwarding service which forwards your mail direct to your home address, protecting your privacy. Such services often come in packages which include a dedicated city phone number answered by a virtual assistant using your company name. Messages can be forwarded to you or patched through to you depending on your requirements and availability. Some services also offer the use of a fax number with any faxes received being forwarded to your email account as attachments.
Hire Business Premises for Meetings
Hiring a professional place to conduct business meetings could not only save you money on overheads, but it could make you money if you get the deal. Assuming you work from home, a professional premises for your business meetings can be the difference between you getting the deal and not getting the deal.