Every entrepreneur has their own story about how to grow your small business on a tight budget. Some will cite a bit of creative thinking; others will say it was shrewd accounting; and some will say they made it through with a beg, borrow, and steal approach. Although bootstrapping may not seem ideal, most of America’s most successful ventures started small and blossomed. With the right advice, a little initiative, and some creativity, every business owner can help their enterprise flourish. In this article, we explain how to grow your small business by pleasing your customers, getting the most out of your operations, and making your money go further.
How to grow your small business by making your money go further
It’s an obvious place to start, but an important one. If you’re wondering how to grow your small business on a budget, start by making your money go further. It might sound straightforward, but for many entrepreneurs, this is a delicate balancing act. However, there are some time-honored approaches to getting the most out of the resources available to you. These include being savvier with your taxes, accessing small business funding, and good old-fashioned budgeting.
Be a strict budgeter
It’s one of the simplest solutions to how to grow your small business on a bootstrap – budget, budget, budget. Moreover, it is essential that you stick to your budget, so make sure your calculations are realistic. In order to do this, you need to carefully examine every expense and honestly evaluate what’s really essential and what’s expendable. Once you’ve stripped down your expenditure, it is crucial that you stick to the plan – no matter how tempting extra spending might be. The most important thing is to keep your eyes on the prize and remember that the lean years are vital to a sustainable company growth strategy.
Know what tax deductions are available
A further way to help your business grow is to educate yourself about your taxes. Knowing what deductions are available to you is an important strategy when it comes to tightening your belt, so be sure to do your research. Remember, many expenses are tax deductible – even business loan interest. However, it’s important to bear in mind these allowances come with limitations around time and amount. Furthermore, tax deductions may also depend on the nature of your business. You can find out more information via the IRS, or consult with your business accountant.
Access alternative small business funding
Going into debt to grow your company might seem counter-intuitive, but managed properly, it can really help small businesses grow. Not only will a bit of extra cash help you manage everyday expenses, but it can also help you to build a strong small business credit score. However, if you plan to apply for business funding, make sure that you do plenty of research. There's a lot of options out there, so you need to ensure you get the best possible deal. Once you've found the right program, you need to make sure you manage repayments responsibly. Below are a few types of small business loans available.
• Term loans, which are available from major banks and creditors. These are a lump sum that borrowers agree to repay in full with interest over a set period.
• Business line of credit, which are funds approved by a lender with a credit limit. You can draw funds at any time and you only pay interest on what you borrow.
• Business credit cards might not seem like the cheapest option if you’re thinking about how to grow your small business on a budget, but if used responsibly, they can be very handy.
Streamline your operations to make the most of your resources
Many entrepreneurs will say their greatest asset is their team. Although this is certainly true, most business owners have to find inventive ways of working with a small team – or even by themselves. Therefore, new businesses need to leverage the resources they have to maximum effect. This means investing in time-saving technology, taking advantage of freelancers, and accessing low-cost business development services.
There’s an app for that!
First up, technology. In today’s ‘there’s an app for that’ world, small business owners can carry out tasks that once would have required several staff all by themselves. Therefore, it’s important that new entrepreneurs get comfortable with this technology. Often, people are accustomed to word processing software, spreadsheets, and inventory management programs, but may shy away from more introducing new software. However, small business owners should leave this anxiety at the door. Now, there are tons of useful apps and softwares to help with everything from payroll to social media management. Here are a few of our favorites:
• Hootsuite for social media scheduling
• QuickBooks for small business accounting
• Asana for project management
• Find My Shift for shift-worker schedules
• Gusto for payroll and benefits management
Use freelancers strategically
If you’re working on a project that requires a specialist, it can be both convenient and cost effective to hire a freelancer. This is also a useful solution if a project is temporary or seasonal, as you won’t have to think about how a these extra personnel will impact payroll spending in the long-term. Although it’s true that the hourly rate of a freelancer may seem expensive at first, when you compare it to the cost of a full-time employee, you can really see saving. However, it’s important to bear in mind that contract workers are responsible for all their own expenses and taxes.
Take advantage of business development resources
If you need help on how to grow your small business, there’s no better way to learn than from other people who’ve done it before. You can access this advice by joining small business networking groups like Small Business Development Centers, which are run in partnership with the SBA. These centers are in different locations nationwide, with each center tailored to suit the local business trends of the area. Alternatively, your local Chamber of Commerce will have a wealth of information on local demographics, networking groups, and business advice.
Always deliver the highest level of customer service
Our final point is probably the most important key to how to grow a company successfully – always put the customer first. You can have the best product in the world, but if you don’t deliver on customer experience, then you’ll never see your business grow. They’ll always be competition, so you need to distinguish yourself by providing the highest level of customer service. Develop authentic relationships with your customers to ensure they keep coming back. Furthermore, without a significant budget to spend on marketing, the best way you can promote yourself is to encourage word-of-mouth buzz and customer referrals. With excellent customer service, you can enjoy organic business growth with little to no capital investment.
Often, successful business growth is all about attitude. Sure, some old sayings are useful, but you don’t necessarily have to spend money to make money. Often, a bit of bootstrapping is the key to successful business development. If you’re willing to do your homework, get the right advice, and always make sure that you put the customer at the center of your approach, you can begin to reap the benefits of business growth. Therefore, if you’re thinking about how to grow your small business on a small budget, there’s three things you need to keep in mind: be creative; be resourceful; and most importantly, be proactive.