Starting a business is a dream for thousands of people, but a lack of money stops most from making their dream a reality. Others get the courage to begin their companies, but do not have a nest egg to rely on. So, they depend on being frugal and using free or low-cost services that they find online.
If you’re ready to launch your business, here are some services you can use to get work done on a budget.
Fax. Don’t Overnight
It takes scores of paperwork to open a business, and some of it will need to be sent to vendors, attorneys, or banks as soon as possible. If some of your paperwork is going out of town, don’t overnight documents sent to you via email. Instead, fax them back whenever possible.
Don’t have a fax machine? In today’s world, it’s not a problem because you don’t need one. You can use online fax services such as MyFax to send documents, orders to vendors, or any other paperwork generated on your computer.
As long as you’re connected to the internet, you can send anything via fax to anyone. This company even has the option to send documents via email or through their mobile app.
Rent a Serviced Office Space
If you need access to office equipment and a larger work area than you have at home, rent a serviced office space. A serviced office space is a fully furnished work area with office equipment available for use – and some even provide snacks!
You can pay for using the facility on occasion or rent it by the month. A serviced or managed office is all-inclusive, so you always have access to the facilities and equipment when working there. Most also have conference rooms for meetings if you need to be face-to-face with clients.
A managed office can save you thousands of dollars because you don’t need to lease an office, buy furniture or equipment, nor hire any cleaning or maintenance personnel. Your monthly fee includes everything that a functional business office needs.
Skip Business Trips
When you’re starting a business, travelling out of the state or the country to visit clients or vendors is an expense you probably can’t afford. Unless they are in the same city as your company, conduct business online via online meetings or video conference calls.
Several available applications allow you to interact with people online while conducting meetings. You can speak to anyone in the world through video conferencing. Some services will enable you to schedule meetings and invite others into a virtual room to meet and discuss your latest projects.
You can also share documents online and let anyone you’re collaborating with edit them. Many of these services are very affordable, or free for you and your colleagues to use.
Create Business Forms
Instead of ordering forms for your business from printing companies, you can create them using your computer. There are free templates for forms on websites or applications you frequently use.
Whether you need sales forms, receipts, or expense reports, they are often available at no or low cost. Once you customize the templates for your business, you can either print them to use in the office, or use them online to email or fax them to customers, vendors, and others.
Besides saving money by not ordering hundreds of forms you may never need, you will contribute to saving trees by using less paper.
Skip the Receptionist
Keep your overhead low by not hiring employees unless they are necessary. If you’re working from home, you probably have a small operation and don’t need a receptionist.
If you choose to work from a managed office, reception services may be included with your monthly fee agreement.
Voicemail can be an effective alternative to a human receptionist, especially after hours or when you’re too busy to get to the telephone. With voicemail, people trying to contact you can leave detailed messages to describe why they are calling.
Add Another Mobile to Your Plan
Instead of putting a telephone line in your home for a business telephone number, add a new number to your current mobile plan. With a mobile phone, you will get features like voicemail that you can set up for your business as well as internet and email access.
If you don’t want to juggle two mobile phones, get a “virtual” phone number for your business that will ring to your current device. Some of the virtual number apps that are available will generate a free business number.
When the virtual number rings on your mobile phone, you can switch into a professional mode to answer the call and conduct your business. If the phone rings after you’ve quit working for the day, it will roll over to voicemail so that you don’t get calls at all hours of the day and night.
Take Advantage of Social Media
No matter what type of business you’re opening, you need to find clients to make money. Instead of putting hundreds of dollars into advertising or placing ads in obscure local publications, open social media accounts on the appropriate platforms.
For small businesses, social sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn allow your company to keep up with large corporations that can easily outspend you to find customers.
It doesn’t take any money to start advertising on social media, but be creative to entice social media followers to your website.
If your cash flow is in short supply, you can still open a business by finding applications that provide the services your company needs to complete many of your office tasks.
These tasks may include file and document storage online, faxing documents online to vendors or clients, and having a business line with voicemail for when you’re not available.
Using the seven ideas on this list, you can save hundreds of dollars each month and still perform the necessary tasks that every business requires to make money.