45 Ways for Entrepreneurs to Save Money in Recession
45 Ways for Entrepreneurs to Save Money in Recession
While every entrepreneur likes to focus on making money, it is just as important to make sure you are keeping your costs as low as possible.
There are many excellent free or low cost services or products which can knock thousands of dollars off the cost of running an online business.
Here is a list of some of the ones I recommend you consider, together with my own personal cost-saving tips:
Skype - great for communicating with colleagues and partners. While Skype-to-Skype calls are free and Skype-to-phone calls are inexpensive, I don’t think the quality is good enough yet for using Skype for all customer communications
Jajah - allows you to make cheap landline calls. Calls are up to 98% cheaper than telco charges
Truphone - enables cheap mobile calls between friends
Sim4Travel - if you travel a lot and want to use your mobile phone while overseas. Receiving calls while travelling is free and making calls is cheaper than with normal mobile roaming rates
DimDim - recommended for web conference calls, where you can share your desktop, slides and videos. Free for up to 20 people
Google Sites - use for file sharing and collaboration. A free instant intranet
Google Calendar - the best application for noting and sharing appointments with your team. Free
OpenOffice - a free alternative to Microsoft Office, which will probably still meet all of your needs
GoogleDrive - another free alternative to MS Office. Cloud based and allows multiple people to edit at once. WIll probably meet the majority of your needs too
FreeMind - an excellent mind mapping tool, for capturing all of your thoughts on a subject or issue within one page. Free
AVG Free - as the name suggests, a free anti-virus solution. It is as good as most commercial products
Carbonite - outstanding for data backups. It costs $49 a year for unlimited data. A small price to page for peace of mind
KeePass Password Safe - ideal for managing your passwords. Free
CutePDF - use to create PDF documents, rather than spend hundreds of dollars on Adobe software. Free
Freshbooks - a cost effective service for invoicing clients
Photoshop Express - if you are a light user of photo editing software use the free online Photoshop solution. It has all the most used features in an easy to use interface
PayPal - if you need to take payments online PayPal is now the most cost effective solution and much easier to get approval during tough times, when the banks are closing their doors to new merchants.
Audacity - great for free audio editing
Jumpcut - very handy for free online video editing
If you do need to buy software, have a look if the manufacturer offers discounts for students, teachers, or educational establishments. The savings can be huge. However, be aware that this discounted versions cannot be used for commercial purposes
Always search for a voucher code. Most online services offer discounts. Very often you can search on Google to find a current discount code. For example, search for a “GoDaddy promotion code” or Godaddy discount code” and you will immediately find codes that will give you up to 25% off domain name registration
Wordpress - a free and powerful blogging solution
SubHub - an advanced, hassle-free membership site solution
Google Alerts - a free way of monitoring what people are saying about you, your company and your competitors on the internet
Google Analytics - an excellent free webs stats package, which will enable you to track all of the visitor activity on your website
FileZilla - a free FTP solution which enables you to easily manage the files on your web server
Rather than using tools, I suggest you focus on building organic traffic through writing and publishing regular, good quality articles. This will avoid you having to spend money on Adwords and other expensive online marketing.
Additionally, if you haven’t started a blog, it could be the right time to do it. A good blog can build traffic, which can be directed to your main online business.
Managing Your Customers
Buy hardware that is one generation behind the curve. The improvements in each new release are getting smaller and the out-of-date models are always heavily discounted. In most instances you’ll never notice the difference.
Upgrade your old PC rather than buy a new one. By simply buying a new processor and a bit of extra memory an old PC can spring back into life.
Consider one of the new low-cost Netbook laptops which are selling for £300/$499. They are capable machines that are ideal for working and surfing on the road.
Buy multifunction devices where possible. There is little point in shelling out for separate printer, scanner and copier when a single machine like the excellent Canon Pixma IP610 will take care of all these tasks.
Keep your old monitor. Screen technology is changing slowly so you’ll probably see little improvement from upgrading your monitor.
Sell old kit immediately. If you have old hardware, sell it on eBay as soon as you stop using it. Hardware values depreciate very quickly.
Many simple tasks can be outsourced. If you have simple repetitive tasks that need to be regularly undertaken, such as data entry or outbound calls, consider outsourcing them via websites such as eLance and oDesk. Be wary of outsourcing big and complex software development projects. Most go horribly wrong!
Other Cost Cutting Techniques
When any contract is coming to an end – mobile phone, broadband, insurance, etc – phone the supplier and threaten to cancel. Many companies have special offers to retain existing customers.
Turn off devices on standby. According to research, 10% of all energy consumed in the home and offices is from devices on standby.
Save paper and ink by printing on both sides of a sheet of paper in draft mode. Most modern printers have a duplex option which will automatically print on both sides of a sheet of paper.
Haggle on all major purchases. It goes without saying that you should negotiate on all major purchases you make. There are a lot of discounts and reductions to be had in a recession.
Offer customers longer contracts for a discount. Lock in your revenue streams for as long as possible.
Identify which countries are still prospering and target your sales at them. At the moment all oil producing countries are worth looking at.
Avoid cutting your prices; instead give away more value e.g. online businesses giveaway a free downloadable eBook to all customers. It costs you nothing, but can provide customers with significant value (if the book is good!).
Focus on keeping your existing customers happy. It is much easier and cheaper to look after existing paying customers than continually having to find new ones.
Despite the fact that many countries are in recession or just emerging from one, Internet entrepreneurs should always remember that online business is projected to keep growing year-on-year for the foreseeable future.
Be wise with how you spend money. Know that establishing an online business can take time and always look for ways to make multiple revenue streams. This is the time for entrepreneurs to take some risks. A business established in recession is usually lean and mean, and very well placed to boom as the economy improves.
To misquote Rudyard Kipling:
“If you can keep your head whilst all about you are losing theirs … you’ll be wealthy, my son!”