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10 Ways to Make Your Startup More Cost Effective

10 Ways to Make Your Startup More Cost Effective

Getting a startup off the ground does require money, but there are many ways that you can reduce your expenses. Simple adjustments can make you less reliant on loans and investors, and make it easier to turn a profit. In other words, placing an emphasis on becoming more cost effective could ultimately make the difference between success and failure.

1. Consider Outsourcing Infrequent Tasks

Outsourcing has become a dirty word to some people in the business world, but the reality is that it can be necessity for a startup. Instead of outsourcing common tasks, though, the goal is to identify things that do not happen frequently enough to train a staff member how to handle them. For example, if you only put together flyers once a quarter, it may not make sense to employee someone who specializes in designing promotional materials. Outsourcing this task instead can ultimately save you money and provide better results.

2. Cut Utility Expenses

Utility costs are skyrocketing. Because of that, a single business landline can cost up to $100, and even baseline Internet is likely to be at least $70 per month. Although there are some areas where you may be unable to reduce expenses due to a local utility monopoly, you do have the ability to save money on telephone service. Turning to a VoIP business line such as those offered by Nextiva can cut up to 80 percent off of your bill.

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3. Use Telecommuting when Possible

Telecommuting is much more than just a way to please your employees by letting people work from home. Keep in mind that each person who is in the office actually costs you money by requiring more electricity, water and paper products. Therefore, keeping workstations powered down while employees telecommute can be very beneficial.

4. Implement a Four-Day Work Week

A whopping 43 percent of companies are now offering at least some employees the option to work four days a week, and the benefits are staggering. Not only can you shut the entire office down for a day and save on utilities but your workforce will be more creative, happier, and more productive. With all of these perks, it is no wonder that the four-day work week is rapidly gaining popularity.

5. Build a Strong Social Media Presence

Marketing is vital, but you do not necessarily have to budget an exorbitant amount of money to connect with current and potential clients. Social media has drastically altered the way that businesses communicate with consumers, and the Internet has made traditional marketing methods much less viable. Companies report a 54 percent increase in leads from inbound marketing, and this includes free or discounted methods such as tweeting and posting blog entries. Consequently, focusing on your social media presence is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website without paying for it. Be sure to encourage your customers to write an online review and to check-in if you have a brick and mortar location.

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6. Get Professional Advice

The desire to save money can end up costing you an arm and a leg if you fail to seek out professional advice for certain topics. After all, unless you are a tax or payroll expert, it is highly possible that you will make an expensive mistake. With this in mind, it is recommended to get professional advice about important tasks that you are not well-trained in. Taking on this expense can save you money and time in the future, and it may also help safeguard your company’s reputation.

7. Start with a Soft Opening

Many businesses utilize the so-called soft opening to begin generating sales and interest without investing as much money. This is a wise approach because you will not need to be fully staffed or have a full inventory to test out the market. Another nice perk of a soft opening is that it can help you work out any kinks or employee training issues before a large amount of people are exposed to them. You may also discover that one of your products or services is not as desirable as you thought, which will let you focus less of your inventory and marketing budget on something that is not going to become a big moneymaker.

8. Implement Organizational Tools

A lack of proper organization can be very damaging, and not just because this type of work environment is not conducive to a productive day. If you do not get all of your inventory properly organized, you are much more likely to experience unexpected losses. Unfortunately, a loose setup such as this will also be much more welcoming to a dishonest employee who wants to steal from you. Use storage organizers to keep physical products easily accessible, and be sure to put a good inventory tracking system in place to minimize wasted time and issues with filling orders on a timely basis.

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9. Invest in Employee Training and Morale

Studies have shown time and again that training and workplace morale makes a huge difference in turnover rates and productivity. Each employee who is not properly trained costs a company $5,466 annually on average. Even worse is the fact that their job satisfaction rate will be lower, which can easily lead to turnover. Industry estimates indicate that the process of hiring and training a new employee costs $7,500, so it definitely makes more sense to invest in morale and training improvements. Keeping your current employees educated and happy is one of the best ways to run a more cost-effective startup.

10. Barter and Negotiate when Possible

Many people believe that bartering is dead and negotiating a lower business rate is not possible, but this is definitely a misconception. The reality is that small businesses barter and negotiate all the time. A prime example is that people who provide services such as acupuncture or massage therapy often trade services with another licensed professional. No money exchanges hands, but both parties get something valuable for their time. In order to cut costs, be sure to ask for any applicable bartering options. You can also negotiate contract terms to get the best possible rate.

Placing an emphasis on reducing expenses and becoming more productive will make it easier to transform your startup from the beginning stages into a successful business. Be sure to remain focused on being cost effective even after your profits begin to boom because this will ensure that you always get the most out of your hard work.

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Featured photo credit: 3 Browse more: black, boy, business, designer, desk, home office, homeoffice, iphone, laptop, macbook, man, mobile, office, people, setup, tablet, thinking, work, working Test Drive image Take a look how this image can be used! Man Checking His iPhone & Working at Home Office, by Viktor Hanacek, picjumbo via flic.kr

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019

8 Life-Changing Skills You Can Learn in Less Than 6 Months

8 Life-Changing Skills You Can Learn in Less Than 6 Months

Everyone has the ability to learn a life-changing skill not just this year, but in the next 6 months.

By life-changing, I mean something that can have a positive impact in your life moving forward, even if it’s something you can’t envision today. Certain skills we can immediately reap the benefits of, while others will be life-changing when we least expect it.

In this article, we’ll share 8 life-changing skills you can learn in 6 months, where you can learn them, and how you can get started today.

1. Speed reading

Bill Gates has been known to state that if he had one superpower, it would be the ability to read faster. What Bill and the rest of the mega-successful understand is that knowledge is power. The ability to process information faster from books, articles, and reports is what will help us learn faster, and therefore improve each aspect of our life faster as well.

Where you can start learning: Speed reading courses are becoming more popular, as more people realize how important it is with the limited time we have. You can check out free courses like Read Speeder or you can start learning how to use Spritzlet, which allows you to speed read articles online with a browser extension.

2. Public speaking

Research shows that people fear public speaking more than death itself. There’s something terrifying about being in front of dozens or hundreds of people, and exposing yourself completely. It’s when you’re most vulnerable, but learning how to public speak is a life-changer.

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Warren Buffett has given advice to recent graduates that the number one skill you can have to succeed is public speaking skills. Everything from communication, confidence, and sales is developed when you develop your public speaking skills.

Where you can start learning: Luckily, there are great communities out there like Toastmasters that organize local meetups all around the world. You’ll find amazing public speakers that are looking to get to the next level to beginners that are just getting started. Check out Toastmasters’ website here.

3. Spanish

As the third most spoken language in the world, the ability to speak Spanish will allow you to reach over 500M people around the world. No matter where you live, knowing how to speak Spanish is becoming increasingly more important, with the Hispanic population and economy spreading quickly worldwide. If you’re living in the US, this is even more important, with over 30% of the population being Hispanic.

Spanish is also on this list, because it’s one of the easiest languages to learn. Sure, Mandarin is an important language to learn, but it’s an incredibly difficult one to learn. If we were to measure the level of importance and the time to learn for all the languages available, Spanish would make it to the top of the list.

One of the biggest reasons why people never reach fluency in any foreign language is: using the wrong method, and lack of time.

It turns out that humans retain only 5% of what we learn from lectures, 20% of what we learn from apps (visual cues), and 90% of what we learn from immediate immersion. Yet, how do 90% of learn a new foreign language? Language schools (lectures), books, Duolingo (apps), etc that don’t provide the real-life immersion required for our brains to learn faster.

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Where to get started: If you want the most effective way to learn a language, learning from real-life interactions is the best way to do it. There are great websites like Rype, which offers Spanish coaching for busy people, solving the issue of lack of time and bringing real-life immersion to your screen. With Rype, you can book as many lessons as you want, at any time of the day, any day of the week, allowing you to fit it into your schedule, no matter how busy you are.

4. Accounting

If you’re looking to get into business, accounting is one of the core fundamentals you’ll need to succeed. While you don’t need to be an expert, you definitely should understand the basics.

This skill can also be used to manage your personal finances, to meet your financial goals, and having more control over your life.

Where to get started learning: If you didn’t learn accounting in school, no worries. You can either teach yourself using books, or check out free accounting courses online.

5. Microsoft Excel

Most people reading this probably have a basic understanding of Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet. While this is a good start, there are so many powerful functionalities that are hidden, which could make your life a lot easier.

Excel is also a great asset to have whenever you’re looking for a job, as many corporations rely on Excel to organize and manage multiple parts of the business.

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Where to get started learning: With the popularity of Excel, you can find tons of free resources and videos online to learn. Check out Excel Exposure, Lynda, and Excel with Business.

6. Blogging/Vlogging

Blogging is a powerful tool if you want to spread your ideas, build your brand, or grow your business. Since it was introduced, blogging has taken on a life of its own, and today there are ~2M blog posts being written on a daily basis.

Where to get started learning: Anyone can start blogging today. All you need is a content-management system like WordPress, which is completely free. Personally, I think the best way to start learning how to blog is to just start writing. There are techniques you can learn on how to promote your blog, but the best way to grow your blog is to write great content.

7. Weight training

Yes, weight training is a skill. It’s not as advanced as learning how to code, nor will it take as long as learning a new language, if you just want to learn the basics.

We’re not promising that you’ll get a body like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but you will see much faster results for whatever goal you have, just by understanding how to workout properly. And of course, when you’re dealing with an activity that involves physical strain, you’ll always want to caution yourself.

Where to get started learning: There are amazing body builders that are sharing all of their secrets for free on Youtube. You can check out Bodybuilding.com’s Youtube channel to get started.

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8. Photo and video editing

In the digital world that we live in, from Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook, there is no avoiding photos and videos. In fact, social media has increasingly gone away from text sharing and almost everything to photo and video editing.

Where to get started learning: For photo editing, you can use Photoshop. For video editing, you can use iMovie or Final Cut Pro. Keep in mind, there are dozens of editing software tools for video and photo editing, but what’s more important are your editing skills, not the tool itself.

Check out education websites like CreativeLIVE or Skillshare, where you can learn from experts themselves on how to best use design and software tools.

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