Starting a business is never easy, but keeping one running is even harder. At the beginning of any new venture, difficulties can arise from mounting running costs, at a time when profits are generally low. To avoid falling foul of cash flow problems that plague many startups, there are a few tips that routinely get ignored, but can stand you in good stead during a time that is likely to be financially testing for even the most frugal of entrepreneurs.
Choose your host wisely
When it comes to hosting your website or web service, it pays to do your research. Not only is there is huge difference in pricing, but the quality of service you receive can also vary wildly, and in turn this can cost you precious time when sorting it out, and as we all know, time is money. Host your company website on a dodgy server, and you can expect slow response speeds, downtime, and as a result, irritated customers. Do your research, and make sure the company you choose to host with has plenty of good reviews, and no hidden caveats. There are plenty of websites out there that can point you in the right direction when you are trying to find a trusted web hosting company, so make sure you check out the options before you sign on the dotted line.
One of the best signs that your startup is doing well, is that you find yourself disappearing under a mountain of work. This may start you wondering about whether you should be looking to employ some help, to ease your burden, but in reality is it really a good idea to have another ‘mouth to feed’ on the payroll? Chances are, your profits are still in a state of flux, and as such could quite easily increase or decrease at a quicker rate than most established businesses. The last thing you need during a bad month is an employee sitting around twiddling their thumbs while waiting for an upturn in business.
For situations like this there are online companies that allow you to hire temporary employees for small jobs, or a set amount of hours a week. If you just need someone answer a phone? No problem, there are people available for that. Perhaps you need a graphic designer to create a website landing page for you? Fine, hire one for that job. These sorts of jobs don’t require you to have a permanent member of staff, and as such, can be relied upon as and when you need them.
There are many companies out there that specialize in remote workers, some specialize in specific industries, others don’t. Either way, before you go out and add numbers to your roster, ask yourself whether you really need to, or whether a helping hand from time to time might be a better option. The verdict may still be ‘out’ when considering whether remote workers are better than ‘in house’ ones, but when you are just starting out, if you find yourself a good one, remote workers can be a life (and money) saver.
No matter what industry your business deals with, chances are you will need to call someone at some point, or they will need to call you. While many new startups will simply list their home phone number as a ‘work line’, this can be an extremely bad idea for a multitude of reasons. If your business ever leaves the confines of your spare room, you will have to change that number or risk losing business once you are settled in a new office. You may also find yourself answering business calls at 8pm on a Sunday, or trying to ignore the constant ringing during your ‘downtime’.
To avoid this, you can of course use a cell phone as your listed number, but that often doesn’t look as professional as a landline. So what options do you have left? VOIP could very well be your answer. Many internet based telecommunication companies allow you to purchase telephone numbers that work in an identical way to a real phone number, but with the added bonus of being transferable between devices. So whether you are on your phone, tablet or computer, you can answer your calls whenever and wherever you are. As an added bonus, you can also log out of your account after office hours and not worry about unplugging your home phone line.