Four Ways To Spend Much Less On Your Small Business

An essential part of running a small business is constantly finding new ways to reduce costs, keeping spending to a minimum. Initially, you may be thinking that by spending less you will have to make sacrifices, damaging your business in the process. However, reducing spending does not always have to equate to a loss. Ultimately, removing unnecessary expenses in your small business will increase your budget, freeing up money that you can invest in other parts of your business.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

Online Marketing

More often than not, marketing costs take up a huge amount of budget, particularly for small businesses that invest in offline methods such as direct mail. However, by simply switching or concentrating more on online marketing, you could save yourself a great deal of money, while targeting a much larger market. There are various ways you can market your business online, all of which are often low-cost and very effective. Essentially, you will be paying less for a more
successful method. You can start by creating a profile for your business on one of the many social media platforms. It is free and a great way of connecting to your customers while building up a strong following. Another idea to market your small business online is to start a blog that contains content related to your products or services.

Go Green, Go Paperless

Without realising it, a lot of money can be wasted away on paper through the sheer cost of ink, supplies and postage; not to mention the endless waste of paper. By eliminating the use of paper or even just minimising you can significantly reduce spending. Going digital is said to save a great deal of money, but not only that, it also creates a more organised working environment and is a lot more secure than having a paper trail. You can make the transition by opting for digital invoices, filing information on the computer and completely replace snail mail with email. As well as cutting spending you are
also helping the environment, which is always a positive thing.

Telephone and Web Conferencing

As a small business, spending large amounts of money on conferences, presentations and meetings really will make a significant dent in your budget, as there are a great deal of expenses involved, including travel and food. To reduce the costs, opting for a teleconference or web conference service is a great idea as you will spend a lot less for a good service than you ever would with face-to-face costs. Additionally, using such a service will allow you to connect to colleagues and clients globally.

IT Managed Service

As hiring an IT guy is a luxury to many small business, using managed services is proven to be a wise decision; you have access to IT expertise at a fraction of costs.

Managing Your Team

As your business develops so will your team, but it is essential that you manage this process carefully if you want to save money. Within a small business you need to ensure that you are regularly assessing your team’s productivity, making sure that most of your employees’ time is spent on value creating activities. Also, there are way
s that you can get the job done without having to hire an extra employee, including using interns and freelancers.

5 Most Important Legal Issues To Consider When Setting Up A Business

Setting up your own business will take a lot of hard work and determination. You need to ensure your finances are in order and there is a lot of paperwork to take care of as well.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

To make this process easier here are five of the most important legal issues you need to consider when you are setting up a business.

1. Choosing Your Business Structure

The most important thing you decide when setting up your business involves your business structure. There are many different structures to choose from and picking out one will have legal and financial implications.

You can get to know all of your options at the comprehensive guide by the Entrepreneur. It is really important to understand the implications of each of these options and thus talking them through with a professional is a really good idea.

2. Protecting Your Ideas And Products

You also need to consider taking care of patents and copyrights. These are really important in order to keep your products and ideas safe from copycats. If you have really good and innovative products you want to make sure you will have the market advantage of not having to worry about other businesses copying your products directly.

This also means you need to look into trademarking your business name. It might not be possible in some cases but if you can, trademarking is a really viable option to consider. Make sure your business name is also not already in use to ensure you don’t get any problems later on.

3. Ensuring You Are Licenced

Depending on the area your business works in it is really important to make sure your business is appropriately licenced. This can save you from a lot of hassle later on and is also very important to keep your business up and running.

Having legal certificates can also increase your credibility among your customers and thus you should look into this area as early as possible.

4. Non-Disclosure Agreements And Contracts

When you are setting up a business you will start hiring staff as well as drawing up business contracts with other companies. Thus it is essential to take care of non-disclosure agreements to guarantee you are protected in case someone would give away important business information.

It is really important to have these ready so that whenever you are getting a new client or hiring a new person you can quickly get these issues out of the way. When you make a legal agreement and a contract it is essential to get it professionally photocopied to ensure you all have the document in multiple copies. Look at Silver Fox Legal and their colour photocopying services.

5. Getting A Solicitor

Hiring your own solicitor won’t be a viable option for small businesses but it is a good idea to get an outside company to help you out when you are setting up, as well as being available in the future. Build a good relationship with the company to ensure you have a reliable legal advisor you can turn to if you ever have any issues.

About the Author: Peter in interested in corporate law and wants to make all the legal hurdles seem a little bit easier for small business owners. When he needs to get his mind away from legal issues he likes to enjoy some time with his family and is especially keen on playing board games with them.

How To Promote Your Business With Calendar Printing

Despite the fact that we live in an age of technology, many people still like to have a calendar on their desk or wall so that they can keep track of appointments. It’s much easier to just pencil something in as it comes up than it is to boot up a computer, open a program, and make a note. So, it’s not surprising that printed calendars are still popular. If you are a business owner, you should take advantage of that popularity. So, here’s how to promote your business with calendar printing.

Image Source
Image Source

Pick a Printing Company:

There are many professional printing companies available. A quick search of the Internet will give you dozens, or even hundreds, of results. However, not all printing companies offer the same options, features, or prices. So, you need to pick one according to your needs and your budget.

Start by determining how many calendars you need. Some printing companies will give discounts on larger orders. So, if you are ordering your calendars in bulk, choose a company that has that sort of offer. Some companies also offer free shipping on larger orders. You should watch for those deals as well, if you want to get the most advertising for the least possible investment.

It’s also important to pick a printing company that offers the type of calendar that you want. Are you looking for a small desk calendar, or a large wall calendar? Would you like some of each? Those are all good questions to ask yourself, as you are choosing a calendar printing company.

Consider Your Calendar Images:

?You also need to consider your calendar images. You should try to customize your calendar to appeal to the majority of your clients. So, ask yourself whether your clients are business executives, or more casual. Are your calendars going to primarily wind up in offices or homes? What ages and genders are you trying to appeal to? Once you have those answers, you can choose a theme and photographs for your calendar. Your chosen printing company may offer such images, or you may have to supply them.

Calendar Printing

Make Your Calendar Handy

You should also make your calendar handy. For example, be sure that there are big enough blocks that each of your clients can write in their appointments. Clients won’t look twice at a calendar that has no room for them to write in their schedule. Large blocks will encourage use. The more your clients use the calendar, the more they will look at your company’s name, logo, and contact information.

Make Your Information Memorable:

The most important thing to remember about custom calendar printing is to make your company’s information memorable. Be sure that the company’s name, logo, and contact information are prominently displayed. You may also want to include a catchy saying that will make your clients think of you. Many people will also display their calendars in such a way that their friends, family members, and business associates will see them. So, the more memorable your calendar is, the more clients it will bring to you.

Calendar Design

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned
  •  License: Image author owned
  •  License: Image author owned

About the Author: Guest post by David Dobson – Using my 30 years of experience in the printing indusrty to pass on business marketing

Starting Out with Laundromats – An Overview of the Coin Laundry Business

A Laundromat is the perfect business for anyone who wants a profitable business with the potential to grow but doesn’t want to spend all their time working. Most owners of Laundromats truly enjoy the business so much that a lot of them open multiple stores. Having a business that doesn’t require a lot of involvement but delivers a comfortable profit is a wonderful opportunity.

You might ask yourself why you should consider something as unexciting as a Laundromat when there are so many exciting ventures available. The short answer is that this is a business with a very low failure rate and a sound business concept. Laundromat owners make money even when other businesses are floundering, no matter what shape the economy is in. It’s a service that everyone need. People will cut corners and find cheaper ways to do things but there are few people that are willing to wash their own clothing in their sink or bathtub.

Laundromats are used by people from every income group. Even the wealthiest people use Laundromats that provide a service that lets them drop off their washing and pick it up later when it has been washed, dried and folded. Businesses, especially smaller ones, use Laundromats for their linens and other items.

Once you succeed with one Laundromat you may want to start another in a different location. You won’t be working 20 hour days like a lot of business owners do to get their businesses on their feet as it takes just a few hours a week to maintain the store, collect the coins, replenish the change machines and do the accounting. It’s a partially automated business that doesn’t require a lot of attention from the owner.

laundromat business opportunity
Image: midorisyu / Flickr

A Business Full of Opportunities

You can start your Laundromat in a few different ways depending on how fast you need it to be profitable and how much financing you have available. You can buy an already existing store that is doing well with an established clientele. You may want to opt for one that is not doing well so that you can get it at a bargain price. If you have a lot of financial resources, you can start your own from the bottom up. If you choose the latter you can often get a good deal on your lease because Laundromats are viewed as “anchor” stores by strip mall landlords. They usually sig long leases and support other businesses by bringing in regular customers.

If you are successful with your first Laundromat you might want to follow the Franchise business model. Opening a couple more Laundromats and selling or leasing them to entrepreneurs like yourself can bring you a very nice passive income.

What will it Cost?

A Laundromat has some pretty hefty start up costs, one of the few drawbacks of starting this kind of business. You’ll have to allow for building costs or renovation if you decide to start from scratch as well as the cost of washers, dryers, coin changing machines, sewage and waste disposal. Don’t forget about insurance and security systems if you should need them.

Promoting Your Business

Laundromats don’t need much in the way of marketing and you probably won’t be doing much of it after your business becomes known in the community. You’ll need good signage, of course, and that’s one area you can use to attract a better class of customer. A cheap, garish sign like “Duds ‘N Suds” will attract a different sort of person than a sign with “Laundromat” in a distinctive font or cursive with an understated color scheme. Making the inside of the store attractive and comfortable will also help the store attract a more positive trade.

Distributing flyers and having a launch party will let the community know you’re there and give them a chance to visit the premises. You should consider giving your store a website, which can be invaluable for promotions and publicity. You can draw your clients in with web-based newsletters that contain laundry hints, industry news and updates on the latest fashions and how to care for the fabrics involved. You could even stage a contest a few times a year that gives the winner a free wash and dry or kids’ coloring pages on holidays. Your clients will have fun and fell as if your store is “their” Laundromat. Compete with other stores by offering morning coffee or pay for play game machines; anything that increases customer comfort will help keep your store busy.

Location, Location, Location!

You can have the best store in the world but it will be a failure if you don’t choose the proper location. Study the demographics of any neighborhood you’re considering. You’ll need young families in apartments, students, maybe even some upper income clients to whom you can offer drop off and pick up service.

What can you afford? The best sites are priced accordingly but paying a little extra will generally result in healthier profits. On the other hand, a creative marketing program can keep customers coming in to a less desired location. You’ll need to assess the parking situation, whether your customers will be safe at night and if there are other businesses whose customers will be interested in your store.

Knowing your competitors is one of your best tools to success. Know their locations because if there are too many in one small area, none of them will do very well. It’s hard to make people break a habit and switch Laundromats.

How Do You Want to Manage Your Store?

One of the best aspects of running a Laundromat is the short work week. If you have just one store or even two, you’ll probably be working less than 10 hours per week to keep everything running smoothly. Once you grow larger you will probably need to hire a few employees to manage and maintain the stores. The advantage of having employees is that you can offer some premium services like small mending repairs, button replacements, washing, ironing and folding. The disadvantage is employee turnover, employees calling in sick at the last moment and other problems employers encounter. You’ll have to think about such situations and make some contingency plans. Running one store by yourself is quite different from being an employer.

You should decide if you want to keep the store open 24 hours a day or stick to an early morning to mid-evening schedule. You’ll save on utilities if you close at night but if you live near a large student population you could miss out on a lot of business. On the other hand, if your clientele is mostly young families or working people there won’t be much demand for your store’s services after 9PM. You may also save on insurance premiums if the store is closed at night.

Don’t forget that your machines will need maintenance and repairs. If you don’t know enough to make these repairs you should find a reliable person or company before you open your store. You can often find retired appliance repair personnel who are happy to pick up some work or you might see which companies others in your industry use. Being ready when a machine needs work will keep your store running smoothly and keep your customers happy.

If you are looking for more details on the laundromat business you can find more articles at OpeningaLaundromat.com

Setting up a vending machine business

Vending machines have a strange psychological effect on humans, perhaps one of the reasons why they are one of the profitable businesses today. Consider a person walking past a row of combination vending machines displaying all sorts of bottled drinks, snacks in colourful and attractive tins and packs, candies, sandwiches, dairy products – the list goes on and on. It is observed that even if a person is not that hungry, he/she will make a purchase because, for reason’s unknown, people just love to see their money go in and the food coming out. That’s the way the vending machines are designed – attractive and persuasive.

So, starting a a vending machine business may give you very quick returns and you shall be sitting on a pile of profits in no time. You can obtain a license from the government of your country or state, purchase a few vending machines, bid for a few locations where you shall set up the machines and there you go, you are all set with your business. However, there are some pieces of advice which you should keep in mind so that it works out smoothly. Here’s a list of dos and don’ts for you to remember:

DOs

Research. This is the secret behind the success of all those big companies and organisations out there. Do your research and analysis and try to find out places with high foot traffic. Find out as much information on the internet as you can. Sometimes, the government conducts certain surveys and the results of these surveys are available for free or for a little fee. Try to find out if there are any relevant surveys for you.

Calculate. You need to calculate your profit margins and plan your costs and expenses so that you are not surprised by any sudden expenses during a cash crunch. Decide the pricings of the vending items so that you can make enough profit to sustain the initial days of your business. Be vary of future expenses like maintenence or repair costs, insurance, etc..

Tie-ups. Imagine the profit you will make if you make an alliance with some organisation. Sure, you might have to share the profits but there is a certain security since incomes are guaranteed. For example, making an alliance with a hospital will assure you that your vending machine will have a busy time.

DON’Ts

Know your customers. You don’t want to set up a vending machine selling junk food in a school, do you? Have good business acumen and make sure the right products go to the right places.

Begin small. No huge investments in the initial stages, please. This fact is true for any business, no matter how lucrative the market potential may seem, start small, gain experience, get familiarised with the market and consumer behaviour, and then you may make expansion plans.

The possibilities are limitless in a vending machine business – malls, banks, stadiums, hotel lobbies, large corporations, factories, mills, etc. Just use your imagination and make it a reality.

Make a Vending Machine Investment Work for You

A vending machine can be a wonderful investment. The initial investment is much smaller than most other retail opportunities, and the business requires minimal work and ongoing capital. Considering the around-the-clock earning potential without any staff on hand, there are plenty of chances to earn profits. With a little bit of planning, a little bit of work and a little bit of gumption, there’s no reason that this investment can’t work wonders for your pocketbook. Whether you want some extra cash on the side or a whole new career, the following information should help you achieve your investment goals and make a vending business work for you.

Choose products and locations wisely

Spend time researching which products will sell and where the most opportune locations are so that you can make ongoing investments work just as well as the initial investment. The right products can make impressive profits without any effort on your part, but the wrong products can sit there until they are outdated and have to be thrown out, taking up space that could have been used for something profitable. With the wrong location, no one could see your products in the first place.

vending machines
Vending machines

Keep your income passive

One of the best things about vending machines is that they don’t require any staff to continuously sell products. As long as you are able to perform all the primary functions of your vending business without any paid assistance, you will be earning passive income, which provides returns on your investment even when you’re not thinking about it. The work of maintaining your fleet of vending machines should never be more than you and your family can handle; that way, you can spend your time doing what you please as your machines are making money for you.

Never invest more than you can afford

As long as you only invest what you can afford to spend out of pocket, you will never have to worry about your vending machines becoming unprofitable. There will be times when your vending machines aren’t earning money, but with careful planning the slow times won’t put a dent in your financial plan. Vending machines have incredible potential to earn returns on your investment as long as you keep the investments minimal. Once you start borrowing more than you can afford to quickly pay back, though, you begin to go down a slippery slope.

Joseph is a great writer and he especially enjoys writing about business. To learn more about Vending Machine please visit http://www.1800vending.com/

Image: vincentsl / Flickr