So, you’ve just launched your business and are optimistic about its prospects. You’ve got a great product, a passionate team, and some solid early traction. But there’s one problem: you’re low on cash.
Stretching your budget is going to be essential if you want to keep moving forward. Here, we’ve outlined some of the cost-saving measures that can help fledgling business owners get their venture off to a flying start.
1. Reduce your SaaS spend
One area where many startups unknowingly overspend is on cloud-based software, or software as a service (SaaS). While SaaS products can be excellent tools for boosting productivity and efficiency, they can also be expensive.
A report by SaaS purchasing platform Vertice found that 90% of buyers pay more than they need on software, wasting money on redundant applications, excess licenses and overpriced contracts.
However, there are some ways that you can optimise your SaaS spend without compromising on quality or functionality. For example, many tools offer a variety of features, but you may not need all of them. If you know exactly which features you need and which you do not, you may be able to negotiate a better contract by only paying for those you need.
Furthermore, some providers offer flexible pricing models that allow you to scale your subscription up or down according to your needs. This can be a great way to save money if you only require the software for a short period of time or if your business is seasonal.
2. Utilise your startup status
According to Harvard Business Review, startups have an untapped power often admired by investors, business founders, and customers alike. Motivated by the challenge of helping to create something new and successful, many vendors and consumers are drawn to support small businesses.
Ondeck explains that startups also often have more leverage than they realise when dealing with suppliers: “Many vendors offer simple win-win ways to make your relationships more profitable for you — and for them.” Remember, they want your business just as much as you want theirs — so don’t be afraid to ask for discounts or extended payment terms.
Furthermore, if your startup has been trading for less than 36 months, it may be eligible for a government-backed startup loan, as well as up to 12 months of mentoring. Alternatively, depending on your industry, some commercial properties are eligible for business rate cuts from local councils. There are a variety of schemes available, such as small business rate relief, if the value of your property is less than £15,000.
3. Take advantage of low-cost marketing methods
Marketing on a shoestring budget can be tough, but it’s not impossible. There are plenty of creative ways to get the word out about your business without spending a fortune.
For example, make the most out of user generated content (UGC) — original, brand-specific material developed by customers and published on social media or other platforms. It can be content of any type, but usually comes in the form of images, videos, reviews, or testimonials.
By cutting through the cacophony of brands competing against each other with in-house content, UGC is favoured for its ability to capture attention, hyper–personalise the shopping experience, and increase sales.
But, best of all, creating and managing UGC is cheap, if not free. As Ucraft explains: “You do have some smart investments to make, but they will not likely reach a traditional marketing budget.” From giveaways and branded hashtags to product reviews and mentions, your startup can easily reap the rewards of this powerful and pursestring-friendly marketing tactic.