If there’s one thing all start-up business owners want, it’s this: to save your business money. Since most small businesses won’t profit for at least three years, owners in the early stages are eager to pinch pennies wherever possible.

Where, though, is it possible? Certain expenses are simply unavoidable. You need an office, some sort of equipment, most likely an ad campaign and at least a few employees. And you can’t exactly cut corners here. So you have to get creative.

Whether you’re a start up owner in your second month or a business veteran ten years in, you can save your business money with these 3 strategies:

1. Encourage electronic payment

Chances are the majority of your customers pay with credit. And every time one of them whips out his or her card, you’re charged. Yes, the transaction fee is only 2% of the total purchase, but spread across several transactions or a few major purchases, the percentage adds up.

Most likely, you’re aware of this and you’d probably like to stop credit card payment all together. An all out ban, however, won’t do much other than anger and inconvenience your customers, many of whom may send their business elsewhere.

An alternate strategy is to being encouraging (not mandating) electronic debit payment. If you can get even a small portion of your customers to begin paying invoices online, directly through their checking accounts, you’ll see substantial savings.

As Darren Dahl suggests in his recent article for Inc., a great way to encourage this method of payment is to provide an incentive such as a cash back bonus. If you’re currently facing a 2% transaction fee for purchases on credit, offer 1% cash back to those who pay through debit.

2. Seek out free software

What’s the use of paying for something you can get for free? An incredible amount of free software programs exist for business. Yet, rather than take advantage of these options, business owners often pay for those commercially available.
Though it may be comforting to know you’re using the same software as two hundred Fortune500 companies, there’s no sense in doing so if you can get what you need for free. Most small businesses don’t need all the features of high-priced software programs.

This guide to choosing accounting software will help you determine what you truly need in a program; chances are, you’ll find you can get what you need for free.

3. Consider temporary help

You may be reluctant to bring on more staff, and for good reason. Each additional employee you hire adds a significant (and continual) expense. Plus, who’s to say this person will bring you more business? Sure, his resume is polished, but you can never know if a hire is a good fit until you’ve told him “yes” and accepted the expense.

To calm your anxieties and save some money, invest in temporary help. If your workload tends to increase during a certain season, consider offering an internship during this period. College students are always looking to gain professional experience, and don’t demand as high of salaries as more experienced employees.

If you do need a professional, consider outsourcing. When you hire an outsourced accountant or other professional, there’s no demand for a 40-hour per week contract, no need to make extra office space or lock yourself into a long term deal. Outsourced professionals work only when and if you need them.

If you’re looking for accounting help and do want to outsource, contact our outsourced accounting and CFO services agency.

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