Small business owners know how important it is to preserve their capital. With the market moving as fast as it is and with new opportunities and new products being introduced on an accelerated schedule, having a steady operating budget remains a crucial element of any company’s growth strategy. This puts money-saving strategies at the top of every company’s priority list. Here are five of the most popular.
Face-value advertising is becoming less and less cost-effective. Audiences by and large really don’t want to see ads and even when they do, their effectiveness isn’t what it used to be. Social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram offer small companies a way to connect with their audiences that doesn’t require a hefty budget or large up-front purchases of creatives. Depending on the type of product being sold, a social media campaign can end up being more cost-effective in the long run.
Open Source and Free Software have been long misunderstood by most business owners. When the developers speak of “free” they mean free as in speech rather than free as in beer. The Linux operating system, office suites like LibreOffice, databases like MySQL and graphics programs like GIMP are work-a-day alternatives to far pricier applications provided by more well-known corporations. Other high-quality packages like Scribus and Blender have no commercial counterparts.
RAD Web Development
With the new capabilities of modern browsers, web developers have built a number of utilities equal to their desktop counterparts. Google Docs is a good example of this kind of “web application.” Companies like Squarespace and Wix have taken this technology and turned it into rapid application development (RAD) platforms for web pages and web sites. Each service provides a series of turn-key modules that can give a web site e-commerce capabilities, mailing list functions and database-driven application frameworks functional enough to serve as starting points for expanded capabilities later.
Voice over IP Telephony
Even though most mobile phone service packages offer customers rate-neutral calling nationwide, VoIP services like Skype and Vonage offer virtual worldwide calling at roughly the same rates. Even if you are only looking for a way to communicate occasionally over national borders, the use of Internet telephony over a standard mobile phone may end up saving you a lot in the long run. If your company needs to communicate remotely with a satellite office, services like GoToMeeting can give you the same kind of service, but for groups instead of individuals.
Pre-Paid Legal Services
Small companies generally don’t have the resources for ongoing legal counsel, but still have the occasional need for advice, document composition or to evaluate the legal ramifications of a new project or deal. There are numerous companies that can provide occasional access to an attorney for the cost of a monthly membership fee. While this isn’t an ideal arrangement for companies that need to retain counsel on a more permanent basis, it can be a great way to reduce the legal expenses for smaller companies that have predictable legal needs that can be scheduled to match their budget.
There are thousands of alternatives available for small businesses now that weren’t even possible as recently as 20 years ago. It is always a good idea for entrepreneurs to look in to what is available aside from what they may already know about. There is always a possibility there is something out there they might find is a better than what they already have.
Jessica is a professional blogger who writes for Faxage, a leading company that provide email fax services for individuals and businesses.