Whether you’re a start-up or an established business, your budget will always be something at the front of your mind when running your business. Money is the blood flow of business, and controlling what is coming in and out is crucial to managing a good company. Granted you can’t always control what’s going to come in, so your budget could vary from year to year, especially if you’re a start-up. Stretching your budget is a trick of the trade and every business will have different priorities when it comes to what they spend their money on.Here are some tips on how to stretch your budget!
• Prioritise your spending
When it comes to prioritising, you need to be thinking practical. Things like your building rent, suppliers costs, stock, staff wages and office bills should be at the top of the priority list. Paying these from your budget will keep the business open and running to make a profit. Secondly, things like office supplies and equipment will also come high on the priority list. By prioritising your outgoings in terms of things your business needs and things you would like your business to have is a good way of making sure money is spent in the right places, however be careful not to blur the lines.
• Be organised and track inventory
When it comes to office supplies, make sure you make a note of what you have and what you need. It’s a good idea to delegate the job of keeping track of things in the stock room to someone in the office so you know it will always get done. By keeping a list you are then saving yourself from over ordering and you can see how much is used each month. This allows you to adjust your monthly orders of supplies to a more accurate number if you have a monthly top up prescription.
• Buy high quality, long lasting things with a guarantee
If you’re buying equipment for your office such as computers, printers, office chairs etc. try to pay a little more for good quality stuff that comes with a guarantee. It will cost you more in the long run to keep replacing low quality things if they only last for a few months or even weeks. Things with a guarantee are usually good quality anyway, but it’s always good to have that safety net underneath your purchases in case anything does happen to them.
• Limit luxuries
When it comes to luxuries, it’s up to you to decide if your budget can really afford any of them. For example, if your company has a tab at the local coffee shop for staff use, or if you get newspapers and magazines delivered to the office on a daily basis, things like this can eat into your budget slowly but surely. Yes these things are nice to have and it could make your staff feel more comfortable in the workplace, however turning luxuries into incentives could work better for you. If you offer a dinner voucher for two to the top performer in your office instead of allowing them to get a coffee every day on you, this would make them feel more appreciated for the work they are doing and won’t take advantage of the free stuff they get. Invest in a kettle and buy coffee for your employee’s to make a hot drink inside the office instead of paying for it outside.
• Buy in bulk for discounts
When buying office supplies; always try to buy in bulk. If you’re ordering a larger amount of items from a supplier you have more of a chance of having a discount from them. Plan in advance and work out what you need and how much you will be using, then place an order to cover you for 3-6 months. This will save you money in the long run.
• Look out for deals or freebies for businesses
There are always companies out there offering free help and supplies for businesses. They could be from a start-up company who just want to get their product out there or a company could be running a marketing campaign that allows samples to be sent out. Keep your eyes peeled for these people reaching out to you and don’t always ignore those ‘freebie’ emails. Some of them could be useful to you and your business.
• Put more effort into SEO and social media for marketing
Advertising and marketing can be expensive, especially if you are out sourcing it. Take matters into your own hands and get creative. Allocating the management of social media and your website could save you a lot of money from your budget. Social media is free, and there are countless blogs and articles out there that can guide you on how to get the best out of it. Even if you have to pay someone to initially create your website, you can have access to the back end of the website and edit and change things yourself. This allows you to manipulate your content so it will benefit you in a SEO perspective. It’s worth researching SEO and the benefits of it so you can then apply this to your own website.
So there are our top tips for stretching your budget. Only you will know what your business needs on a daily basis and how much money that will take out of your budget. Think wisely and always explore every avenue for a cheaper option. It would be a good idea to have a plan in advance so that if your budget does extend, you already know what you’re going to spend the money on.