You know the saying: Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life.
Pfff. Nothing could be further from the truth and you know it.
Don't get me wrong; getting to wake up every day and put your energy into something you're truly passionate about it a gift. We wouldn't trade it for anything. But it's not without its challenges, to put it mildly.
Let's be real: 2022 sucked for a lot of small businesses, and 2023 isn't looking like rainbows and butterflies.
Economic woes have been front and centre in the news. Speculation about whether we’re heading into a recession is looming on everyone’s minds. And all of this uncertainty has been hitting us right in the wallet and making us wonder how business will look this time next year.
One thing’s for sure: turbulent times call for tighter, more efficient budgets. It’s a great time to audit your expenditures and:
- Identify and eliminate redundancies
- Find ways to operate more efficiently
- Spend your business budgets more wisely
- Get the most bang for your buck
If this sounds like something you’ve been mulling over, here are five ideas for where you can start.
1. Tools and Software Systems
Every business uses some suite of software, tools, and apps to operate. But not all of them are necessary. In fact, if you're like us, sometimes you sign up for stuff and just stop using it (all while you keep paying for it).
Take some time to look into what you use on a daily basis. Evaluate your memberships and recurring costs.
What’s fundamental to your business? And more importantly, is there anything you might be paying for that you don’t really need?
For your essentials, look for more cost-conscious alternatives. They might not exist, but it can’t hurt to dig around.
2. Business Operations
Don’t limit your view of your budget to just the money you pay out. It’s equally important to address the things that might be stopping you from making more money.
What do we mean?
As a founder, you wear a ton of hats. And sometimes that means tackling trivial tasks that suck your time away from your core functions.
So, think about whether there are any opportunities to outlay a little cash in order to free up time for you to do high-value work.
This could be things like hiring a virtual assistant to tackle your annoying admin stuff or finding an outsourced developer to help make finicky little changes to your website.
Let’s look at a hypothetical situation and say that you…
A) Make $100 per hour, on average, when you’re in your money-makin’ zone
B) Have a task that takes you one hour to complete
C) Can outsource said task for $60
While it feels like you’re shelling out dough from your pocket, what you’re actually doing is freeing up bandwidth to make an extra $40.
On the other hand, you could also look internally at your own processes and find ways to streamline things.
We’re no mathematicians, but if time = money, then more time = more money.
3. Office Space
As a founder, you probably want a professional spot to focus and work. But that doesn’t mean you need to pay a fortune for your workspace or be tethered onto some inflexible long-term lease.
Instead, you can look into a coworking space where you pay for what you need, when you need it, without paying for things you don’t.
At Project Spaces, our goal is to make sure no dollar goes to waste. We don’t offer private offices because we think they’re superfluous, and we don’t blow cash on overpriced furniture or fancy-looking decor.
Instead, we focus on giving you an incredible work experience where you’re surrounded by a community of incredible founders who are hustling just like you.
What we lack in decor we make up for in inspiration (and good times).
And that means we don’t have to charge you an arm and a leg to work here.
The next area to evaluate is your suppliers and service providers.
This could include things like utilities, phone, and internet providers, office supplies and equipment, inventory wholesalers, or service provided you use to run your business.
While some things are simply set in stone, it’s worth seeing if you can find less expensive options, or even trying to renegotiate your contracts or find economies of scale where possible.
By the way, one of the best things about coworking spaces is that they bundle a ton of these pesky overheads and allow you to benefit from economies of scale: you share the cost of utilities, internet, and business tools like printing and scanning (and coffee!) with everyone else so that you’re only paying a small chunk of what you’d be paying on your own.
5. Measures of Success
How do you know what’s working and what’s not in your business? How can you be sure that the things you’re putting time and money into are giving you a real ROI?
If you’re not able to instantly answer that question, it’s time to map out some clear KPIs (Key Process Indicators) for your business.
KPIs are metrics you track to get clarity on how your business (and yourself) are performing in relation to your goals. They give you a good idea of what’s happening in your business as it pertains to quality, productivity, turnaround times, expenses, marketing and advertising efforts, and many other areas.
If you really want to find efficiencies in your business, establish KPIs for key areas, including everything we talked about above. This way, you can track, monitor, evaluate, adapt, and tweak in real time to make sure you’re always coming out on top.
Pinching pennies and saving money is a pain, but it’s worth your while, especially during challenging economic times.
Take some time to strategically evaluate your business, operations, and expenses to find efficiencies and cut out redundancies. This exercise will let you get 2023 underway on a strong foot.
And if you want to start saving money today, we’d invite you to take a tour of Project Spaces. We’re all about helping you spend less on your workspace so you can leave more money in your business.
Founder-friendly coworking in downtown Toronto for entrepreneurs and digital nomads. We create original workspaces, fill them with relentless entrepreneurs, and watch the magic happen. Learn more