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9 Lean Budget Tips: Run A Business For Less Than You Spend On Coffee

9 Lean Budget Tips: Run A Business For Less Than You Spend On Coffee

Running an online business can be extremely rewarding—and massively expensive. But just because your friends and colleagues are using fancy tools and programs and have big budgets, doesn’t mean you have to, too. Some will even say you need the latest and greatest “Must Have” tools to be successful. I’d like to prove them wrong. Here’s how to run your business on a lean budget:

1. Day-to-day tools

Use tools you already have on your computer: whether pre-installed or purchased, just dust them off again. Most of us have purchased programs in the past (like Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, Quicken, and Photoshop) but don’t use them on a regular basis. Do a quick search of the programs already on your hard-drive (or on the computer you’ve got in storage) and then do an equally important YouTube search for training videos on that software. Put those tools to work in your business.

Also look for tools like Skype, Google Voice, Gmail, and FaxZero (for those occasional outgoing faxes) for daily communication. And also check out Box.com or Copy.com for large, free, online storage accounts. Some of the most reliable bridge lines are also free, such as Speek.com and FreeConferenceCallHD.com. Use them for consulting calls, tele-seminars or anything that would benefit from a “bridge line”.

2.  Industry-specific tools

Do a Google search for “[name of expensive program] alternative”. Or, jump into a co-op where people are purchasing a bulk license of your industry-specific software. If you’re not a graphic designer, but need a program like Photoshop, search for Gimp.org or Paint.NET with .psd.

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photoshop alternative lifehack

    If you create beautiful products that sell on Etsy, you’ll need stellar images of your products. Borrow a camera from a friend or rent one from a website like Loanables.com or SnapGoods.com. Similarly, if you need a studio to take product shots, consider asking around at local shops to borrow their light box for the afternoon.

    3. Streamline

    Go through your PayPal and credit card statements for the past 90–180 days and look for recurring expenses. Cut out anything that isn’t essential. Maybe even cut out what you think is essential and find another free alternative.

    Oftentimes, we pay $9.99 per month or $30 per month for memberships that we only use a few times per year. Ask yourself if it’s creating a return on investment for your business. Is that $9.99 each month really contributing $120 per year back into your business, preferably more? It should be.

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    If you are using your subscriptions, check to see if you can pay an annual fee and save money throughout the year. Or, buy it outright. Often companies will charge $30 per month but sell an annual subscription for less than $200 (saving $160 over the year).

    If you can purchase outright, even better. Upgrade every two to three years and save even more. Look at PayPal six-month payment terms if you need to spread out payments of the bigger purchases.

    4. Roll up your sleeves

    Most tasks that need to be done in your business can be done quickly if you have systems in place: it’s the procrastination and thinking about it that takes time. Create a clear action plan and set aside time every day to get closer to your big dream goal and closer to the income goals you set.

    5. Leverage PR opportunities

    Whenever possible, snap up opportunities to contribute to a news article, blog post, or book. Offer to write articles for local newspapers or magazines, and utilize resources like HARO and SourceBottle where journalists are regularly looking for content.

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    sourcebottle haro

      Set up a page on your website called “Media” (or similar), and include your bio and high-quality images, so you can point press to it easily when the opportunity arises. If you make it easy for yourself and budget in 45 minutes a week for this kind of activity, your business will thank you for it later.

      6. Training

      Every day an entrepreneur is building a new program or course. They often need beta testers to run through their program at a reduced rate, or for free. Make yourself available to them, help them make their program better and get the training your need to improve your business skills. Also, check out websites like Udemy or CreativeLive for upcoming classes that are offered completely free. Sometimes you must attend live to access the free version, but there are perks, like mingling with other attendees and making new business connections.

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      creative live

        7. Product development

        Think it’s tricky to figure out what your potential clients will spend money on? Try this on for size! Create a one-question survey at SurveyMonkey or Google Forms and ask people to answer the question. You’ll be surprised at the answers you receive, and how easy it will be to create your next product or program. Instead of waiting months to start generating revenue, consider launching and building the course or program as you go through each week.

        survey one question

          8. Online presence

          It used to cost a fortune and take months to create a website. It doesn’t anymore. A clean WordPress website with a sales funnel automated with autoresponders (like MailChimp or AWeber) and shopping cart plugins (like WooCommerce or easydigitaldownloads.com), and semi-automated social media (through HootSuite or SocialOomph) can cost less than $10 per month.  YouTube, Facebook Pages, Twitter and Pinterest can all aid in bumping up your online presence and creating a cohesive brand.

          9. Stay lean

          Just because you’re making more money now, doesn’t mean you need to go back to your old ways. The next time you need to scale up, or make a pivot change in your business you’ll be grateful for your low overhead expenses.

          What other methods do you use to keep costs low in your business?  Share in the comments below.

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          Last Updated on November 5, 2018

          20 Best Places to Work for a Great Career in 2018

          20 Best Places to Work for a Great Career in 2018

          Looking for a job? There’s no doubt to the fact you will want to work with a company that appreciates you for who you are.

          Well, good news. The labor market today is one that has peened up with more opportunities for advancement and personal employee improvement. This is partly due to the fact that a lot of companies have been made to understand the value of their biggest assets: the employees.

          To wit, here’s a list of companies- across a wide array of industries- that have been able to develop working environments that are healthy and accommodating to workers.

          Take a look at these 20 best place to work for a great career:

          1. Salesforce, San Francisco, California,

            Salesforce is in the information technology business and the company ranks highest due to their commitment to learning and innovation. They are ready to try new things and everyone with a new idea is always welcome to share it at the company. The company has also been known to exhibit an exceptional approach to alignment.

            Find out more about careers in Salesforce

            2. Wegmans Food Markets Inc.,Rochester, New York

              Based in Rochester, New York, employees have been known to enjoy a sense of purpose from working here. The company has been able to achieve an optimal level of engagement across all working tiers and they’ve been able to achieve great things together. They even do deliveries.

              Find out more about careers in Wegmans

              3. Ultimate Software, Weston, Florida

                Employees get amazing benefits here but that’s not the only reason why this place is so awesome to work. Whenever there is a need or a death of an Ultipeep or any of other family members, the company shows love and support like no other.

                Find out more about careers in Ultimate Software

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                4.The Boston Consulting Group, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts

                  Development is at the center of anything that goes on here. The business is about people and employees are the company’s biggest asset. Employees are able to challenge the status and also leave impacts on clients.

                  Find out more about careers in The Boston Consulting Group

                  5. Edward Jones, St. Louis, Missouri

                    Edward Jones is admired for their ability to acknowledge history without being mired down by it. The company builds on a solid foundation but there is also a level of flexibility that allows for innovation.

                    Find out more about careers in Edward Jones

                    6. Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, San Francisco, California

                      Kimpton is a trendsetter in the hospitality industry. The company always strives to try something different and that perspective is welcomed there at all times. Enjoy the weekends with luxury rooms, conformable mattress, furnished and well dressed service staff. A great opportunity for job seekers.

                      Find out more about careers in Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants

                      7. Workday, Pleasanton, California

                        Newbies will find no issues with feeling welcome and at home here as this has always been a core culture component of the IT giant. Everyone is treated like family and this fosters a sense of oneness.

                        Find out more about careers in Workday

                        8. Genentech, South San Francisco, California

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                          Here, employees are encouraged to be themselves. There is a feeling of care, safety, and acceptance that you get here that you can’t get at many firms. The development of an all-inclusive environment has always been foundational.

                          Find out more about careers in Genetech

                          9. Deloitte, New York, New York

                            Deloitte is one of the biggest professional service providers in the world, noted for their focus on constant learning, development and improvement. They invest in their employees and are concerned about their well being.

                            Find out more about careers in Deloitte

                            10. Baird, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

                              Baird is a financial services provide that is known for adopting a “no asshole policy’ which guides the way people relate with and respect each other, regardless of their position on the company’s hierarchy.

                              Find out more about careers in Baird

                              11. Quicken Loans, Detroit, Michigan

                                At Quicken Loans, the views and opinions of everyone are respected and heard. The organization is revered for the amount of investment they put in their team members and everyone looks for ways to grow and be better.

                                Find out more about careers in Quicken Loans

                                12. Capital One, Mclean, Florida

                                  Capital One has adopted a culture that encourages employees to take risks and try new things. They foster a healthy work-life balance and associates are challenged to live better lives.

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                                  Find out more about careers in Capital One

                                  13. Cooley LLP, Palo Alto, California

                                    Cooley LLP is a law firm known for their ability to care about the company culture and being able to develop a working environment that is empowering and fun. Cooley is known to go for the best when it comes to their employees, regardless of the occasion.

                                    Find out more about careers in Cooley LLP

                                    14. Southern Ohio Medical Center, Portsmouth, Ohio

                                      The medical center has been known for their propensity to delegate so much to their employees, thereby providing them with the ability to grow and learn on the job. In the end, you get a workplace that is all-engaging and super fun.

                                      Find out more about careers in Southern Ohio Medical Center

                                      15. American Express, New York, New York

                                        American Express is a firm that celebrates wins, no matter how small. Everyone is made to share the same attitude towards service and the people they are to serve, thereby making people care about what they do.

                                        Find out more about careers in American Express

                                        16. Adobe Systems Inc., San Jose, California

                                          The culture at Adobe Systems is one that encourages employees to develop their own ideas and get a strong viewpoint. As opposed to encouraging competition, work-life balance is fostered everywhere here.

                                          Find out more about careers in Adobe Systems Inc.

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                                          17. The Cheesecake Factory Inc., Calabasas, California

                                            The Cheesecake Factory rewards dedication and hard work. Promotions come pretty easy, and there is always space for guidance to develop your experience and skills.

                                            Find out more about careers in The Cheesecake Factory Inc.

                                            18. Sap America, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

                                              If you’re looking for a new career path, SAP might be the best bet for you. The company is adept at recognizing value and transferable skills. And you can always look for a new path while maintaining your employment.

                                              Find out more about careers in Sap America

                                              19. NVIDIA Corporation, Santa Clara, California

                                                NVIDIA is known for looking after even the smallest of things. With even a “pets allowed” policy this company accepts you for who you are, and helps you to work within your personality. Advancement is also fostered, and you are able to collaborate effectively.

                                                Find out more about careers in NVIDIA

                                                20. KPMG LLP, New York, New York

                                                  Communication and progressive collaboration are the foundation of this company’s workforce treatment. Regardless of the level you are, someone is always at the ready to help and the company rewards extra effort with gratitude.

                                                  Find out more about careers in KPMG LLP

                                                  All in all, it’s safe to say that you will be able to find somewhere to apply your skills (whatever they are) that is all inclusive and highly accommodative. Companies today are being made to understand how much they can get when they treat their employees right and this has opened the door to an encouraging work environment for all.

                                                  Happy job hunting!

                                                  Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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