Running a small business can be expensive, and at times you may even wonder how you’re able to make a profit. If you’re strapped for cash, then there are a few things that you can do to turn everything around.

Focus on Free

There are so many ways for you to save money when it comes to your advertising. For example, you could try and send out your product offerings electronically or even focus on multi-purpose advertising instead. Multi-purpose advertising could include putting a discount on the back of your business card or handing out coupons that are printed on carrier bags. When you do this, you only have to pay for one form of advertisement, but you are still getting the desired result.

Work with Other Local Businesses

There’s a high chance that other businesses in the industry are in the exact same situation that you are. If you want to help one another then consider splitting your campaign and promotional costs. This is especially useful if the other business offers services which compliment your own. If you’re not quite sure how to do this, host a Facebook advertisement that offers 10% off across both businesses if customers like, share or comment. This is mutually beneficial and can really help you to drive extraordinary results.

Ask your Clients for Referrals

The cheapest and the most efficient way for you to get new clients would be for you to get referrals from the clients that you have right now. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have access to, and it’s free. If you want to really benefit from this then you need to try and set up a referral program. A loyalty program is also a great way to try and get sales. When your customers recommend someone, give them a discount or money off their next purchase. You might also want to have different tiers, so if a customer refers more than one friend, they get additional benefits. Things like this won’t cost your business a great deal, but the benefits can be absolutely outstanding.

Become an Expert

Everyone wants to do business with the local expert, so don’t be afraid to share your knowledge. This is especially useful if you are a B2B company. Think about teaching a class at the local library, or even write an advertisement in the paper offering free advice. This may not bring in a direct source of income and it won’t save you money either, but it will help you out with advertising and it will also build a foundation of trust with your customers. If you don’t feel as though you’re able to find a niche for your expertise then why not consider doing a business course at the University of Alabama Birmingham?

Start Blogging

Find groups that are able to cater to your chosen audience and join in. This could include Facebook groups or even chats on LinkedIn. You might also want to start blogging where possible as well. This will help you to add value to your business and it will also help you to show your customers that you do bring a good amount of value to the table. Blogging is completely free if you write your own posts, and it’s great for SEO too, so you really don’t have to worry about burning a hole in your pocket.

Buy Used

You can halve the price of furniture for your company by buying used. You can also buy equipment used too if you want. When you do, you’ll be able to furnish your entire company for half the price. When you’re finished using what you’ve bought, you can then sell it on and sometimes, make a profit.

Free Forms

Don’t spend time hiring someone to create office forms for you. Instead, download them online. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this and some of them can be customized with your name and logo too. Free forms are ideal for the business owner who wants to save both time and money, not to mention that they can also help you to look more professional.

Go Mobile

Think about it, do you really need an office? Can you go mobile? If so then you certainly should. Consider visiting your clients instead of having them come to your location. You might also want to think about working from home if possible. This will save you a significant amount of money and it will also help you to provide a better and more personalized experience overall.

Memberships

A lot of vendors will give you a discount if you sign up for a membership with them. Social media is a great way for you to find out information like this. It may also be worth asking the vendors that you work with right now if they’d be able to give you a discount if you sign a minimum order contract. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and they probably won’t say no because they don’t want to lose you to their competition.

Temporary Help

If you need help with something, don’t hire someone to work full-time for you. If you do then you’ll be paying for their holidays, their insurance and everything else. By hiring someone on a temporary basis, you can get the help you need without paying the price. If you need to outsource jobs like accounting or even payroll then freelancers can be a great help. They’re very flexible and able to work to almost any requirement.

Free Help

Interns are ideal for any business who wants to save money. Visit your local colleges and find a list of students who are willing to fulfill any graduation requirements they have, by working with you. They’d be more than happy to learn from the experience, and you get the help you need, free of charge. If you want to give them something for their efforts then a solid letter of recommendation can go a long way, and it can also help them to feel more confident about their own career prospects.

Try and Use Independent Contractors

As mentioned above, it helps to use freelancers when you can. On the flip side, it also helps to focus your efforts on hiring independent contractors too. You will save a ton of money by not paying employment taxes and it gives you more flexibility too. This is ideal if your business is just starting up.

Barter

Exchanging your product or even your service with another business is mutually beneficial. It will help you with your cash flow and it also gives you the chance to do other things with your business too. If you aren’t sure how to get started, then think about what you need. For example, do you need a new website? If so team up with a website designer and offer them free products in exchange for them building your site. This works best if the other business is in need of your service in return.

Never Take out a Cash Advance

Never take a cash advance or put anything on a credit card. If you do, it will cost you dearly and you may even find that you are spending more than you have coming in. If you need to take out a cash advance, then try and make sure that you only go with a provider who offers favorable repayment terms. Obtaining a loan with a low-interest rate is also crucial too because if you don’t then you may never be able to dig yourself out of debt and this will cost you a huge amount in the future.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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