Sticking to a budget whilst ensuring that all available resources are being used as efficiently as possible is vital for all businesses, but especially so when it comes to start-ups in their fragile first year of operation.
Figuring out where to spend to see the best return and where you can safely make savings can be a tricky proposition. Cutting back by sacrificing productivity, for example, could be disastrous; but spending indiscriminately could equal catastrophe, too.
It is a circle; however, that can be squared. Below are the five tools or techniques your start-up needs to reduce costs while simultaneously boosting productivity. Sounds too good to be true? Keep reading to find out more.
Innovative Email Apps
You may think that every email app is pretty much the same – however, Spike offers its users an entirely different experience. Spike combines the ease of use and natural flow of instant messaging with the functionality of email, allowing your team to communicate with each other, clients, and outside organizations with ease – thereby saving time and money.
Users can switch to video or conference calling in-app and back again to make for a seamless collaborative experience. Files and documents can be shared and worked on together in real-time, and the platform even allows you to send voice messages, too.
And when it comes to cost savings, the news is even better. If your start-up only has one or two employees at this point, you can get the basic Spike app totally free. This gives you a unified inbox for up to two email addresses, unlimited collaborative Notes and Tasks, and plenty of other features. Pro and Business packages are available when you want to upgrade, priced at just $5 and $10 a user per month, respectively.
Share Office Space
If you need office space, it’s tempting to think that your only option is to lease your own building or premises. There are alternatives, however. Consider using a shared office, whereby you only pay for the desks and time that you book for each week. These spaces usually include the use of office equipment in the booking charges, so they can also save you from having to buy faxes, scanners, photocopiers, etc., at this early stage of your business’s life.
Just working from an office space can boost productivity by providing focus and easy access to the equipment that you and your staff need. It’s also a professional space where you can conduct interviews or meet with clients.
Make the Most of Automation
There’s a plethora of relatively inexpensive automation tools out there that could save your start-up a huge amount of cash. For example, software that automates swathes of the HR system not only means you may not need to employ a member of staff to fulfill an HR role but ensures your start-up will remain compliant with employment legislation and regulations.
Automated marketing tools can help your business attract its first clients and, over time, build a loyal customer base whilst continuing to reach out to new markets while saving you time and resources.
Deploy Project Management Software
Project management software can optimize all of your processes, and getting things streamlined from the start will pay dividends as your business grows. This tool can usually integrate with the other apps and software your business uses for extra convenience.
Use project management software to map out every stage of an assignment and make the most of its collaborative tools and features to allow your small team to work smarter – even if each person is working remotely from the other.
One of the best things about this tool is the detailed reports and analytics that you can run at the end of every project, which will show you exactly where each element of your budget was spent, the extent to which you hit various deadlines, and how you and your team could work more efficiently next time.
Consider Hiring a Virtual Assistant
A common mistake made by start-ups is to take on staff – and all the costs and administration this entails – when they don’t necessarily need to recruit at such an early stage. If you’ve got too much on your plate to keep going solo and are thinking about getting another person on board in a part or full-time capacity, consider, instead hiring a virtual assistant.
A virtual assistant can perform a range of back-office and secretarial tasks – meaning you can concentrate on growing your business and boosting revenue – but you only pay for the hours that you require their services. You don’t need to factor overtime rates or benefit packages into your budgeting. So, if the week before a product launch, you need admin support every day but only require assistance a few hours a couple of times a week after this, you’ll just pay for these hours.
Striking the Perfect Business Balance
It can seem like a delicate high-wire act, finding ways to save your start-up money whilst simultaneously raising productivity levels. Deploying the right strategies and tools, however, such as those listed above, can do just that and create the perfect foundation for your business to grow and thrive.
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