Shoe string budget or not, miserable economy or not, your long term entrepreneurial success is contingent upon making more than you spend. At the end of the day, all that matters is if you are profitable or not. You get there by making more and spending less. Here are tips for the spending less part:
1. Employees On The Cheap And Legal. Liberty’s Promise, a charitable organization, gives Internships to young immigrants after they take a course on civics. You can find some fabulous people, starving for experience, and willing to work at very competitive rates. May be your next intern could be from Tanzania!
2. Need Internet Access? Go to the public libraries, they’ve got it. Also if it serves coffee, it often serves the internet. Check for local coffee shops, or certain big chains like Panera Bread. Check WiFiFreeSpot.com for a listing of spots in your town.
3. No More Airport Parking. Using a limo service can be cheaper than parking, but it will still cost you a few bucks. So try this trick, post on Craiglist.org (in the community section) that you are looking to share a ride in to the airport – just ask for a business number so you can screen people. The networking can be powerful too.
4. Local Tips/Tricks. Going to a new town for a quick business trip? Post a request in the “Strictly Platonic” section of Craigslist.org asking for tips on freebies/low cost services that you need. You may find free internet access, computer services, and who knows what (maybe someone will lend you their office space).
5. Free Tours. Visiting a new city for business and have some down time? Check with The Global Greeter Network (type the term in Google to find a local one), who will provide you with a tour of the city at no cost – plus tipping is strictly prohibited.
6. Room Upgrades. When you check into a hotel, always be friendly with staff. Duh! If you are only staying for 1 or 2 nights, ask if a room upgrade is possible. If a better room is going to be empty anyway, its good customer service for them to upgrade you.
7. Cheap, Healthy Food. So fast food is cheap and, well, fast. But it will put a tire around your waist faster than you can say “Good Year.” Try this healthy trick. Go to the local hospital and eat in the cafeteria. The parking is ample; the food is nutritious, often tasty and cheap. Plus if you start choking, you’re in good hands.
8. Collateral Material. Need a logo, letter head and a brochure? Art schools will often do this work for free, in exchange for including it in their portfolio or being a case study.
9. Free Meeting Space. Hotel lobbies can have nice quite areas with comfy chairs, and you don’t need to be a guest. Plus there are public restrooms a few steps away, often free internet access, and sometimes free coffee.
10. Need More Space. Parks and recreation facilities often provide meeting space at significantly reduced rates from traditional commercial space. Plus the views are often beautiful.
11. Matching Ads. Look for services from businesses that match their competitor’s ads. Kinko’s, for example, will match any printer’s price. You can often get online pricing at half of Kinko’s normal price, and they will match it.
12. Free Furniture. Craigslist.org and Freecycle offer access to chairs, desks, couches, and cabinets. You just need to go pick it up.
13. Free Books. Don’t forget about the public library. Books, music and movies, they have it for free! And if you don’t see what you want (like a copy of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, for example – not sayin’, just sayin’) ask and they will order it up for you.
Have other tips and ideas? Please add your comments!