Most small businesses need to spend more money like they need a hole in their pocket. The key is to save money by investing in strategies that lower your overhead, decreasing your costs in the future.
One free way to increase customer awareness is by indexing your site on Google and by listing your business on Google Maps. After you’ve done that, you can start trying to limit your costs by using these methods.
Think experiences, not products
Business models are increasingly being broken or “disrupted” by an approach that caters to younger customers. Millennials and Gen Z don’t just want to eat Indian food, they want to learn how to make Saag Paneer and get a suggestion for a great Bollywood film.
The youth are looking for an adventure to post on Instagram, not a thing to keep in a drawer. Any product can be adapted to an experience, with a small tweak and a lot of creativity.
If you accept money or store files digitally, buy cyber insurance
Most businesses have some type of online payment portal or digital registry of past transactions with customers or partners. Hackers target small businesses because they’re less likely to have a sophisticated firewall.
If your customers’ information is stolen, you’re required by law to publicly disclose the hack. That’s the last type of publicity a small business needs.
Annual premiums for cyber insurance start at around $400 and cover up to $20 million in losses. This type of insurance usually also comes with cybersecurity, which will protect you from the attacks before they happen.
Sales and customer service
Putting a product or experience on sale is an expense for any business, and should be accounted for as marketing. But sales can have diminishing returns if they’re not accompanied by customer service.
Make sure you alert customers of your sales, help them through the purchasing process without pushing too hard, and do what you can to make people feel welcome. Free hand sanitizer, free water, or free samples are all good examples of excellent customer service that are a type of sale within itself.
Hire an accountant
If you’re a small business owner and you’re not a professional accountant, then you need one. Accountants can save you money by pointing out unnecessary duplication of services, suggesting bulk purchases, or by finding you tax breaks. Accountants tend to charge a fair amount of money, but remember that the CRA loves auditing small businesses, and few services are as expensive as a tax bill.
Employee bonuses or raises
Great customer service, employee referrals, or a job well done aren’t off-the-shelf commodities. Budgeting for employee bonuses or raises in pay can result in dividends for a small business.
You want your customers interacting with people who know and appreciate what your business does, and good pay helps your employees get there. Regularly asking your employees what they’d like at their job, periodic lunches, or on-the-job training is also a worthy investment.