As a small business owner, you probably have a strict budget at the moment. There may be costs arising that you’ve not accounted for or extra items that you’d really like but can’t afford at full price. There are various methods to reduce expenditure on certain items. The old adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know” is a salient point – tap up all your contacts for help and think of ways that you can exchange services to reduce costs.
We live in an age where our lives play out online. Harness the immediate power of social networking to get quick answers for finding good suppliers or professionals. Check out your competitors to see who they use or recommend, this way you’ll get to know which companies work best for your industry. LinkedIn is also a good resource for the budding entrepreneur. You can recommend other peoples’ services, and they will do the same for you.
Friends and Family
Your friends and family will be only too happy to help you in your endeavors. If you need some extra hands in order to fulfill a big order, why not enlist their help in exchange for a slap up fish supper? Perhaps they work for a company that you’d like to sell to, ask for an introduction. Just make sure you don’t overstep the mark on nepotism.
Being part of a local business networking community can help you to find out who the best contractors are. You’ll also be introduced to other small business owners who might be able to provide you with services or leads in return for the same treatment from you. Draw on their experiences in business to help build your own.
Get Yourself Some I.O.Us
By dishing out the favors, the law of reciprocity means that at least some of the people you help will feel obligated to help you back! Doing that good turn each day can pay dividends. Avoid becoming a doormat, however, do one favor but don’t get into the habit of helping people who don’t give back. Set out the parameters straight away by asking for your return favor or by outlining exactly what you are prepared to do for them.
Browse for Quotes
Remember to shop around when looking for products or services, cheaper doesn’t always mean lesser quality. Check out references thoroughly. If you are in need of a good tradesman, for instance, check out rating websites such as Rated People. Be prepared to call previous customers and don’t be afraid to ask searching questions.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Don’t be afraid to request a discount from suppliers or to haggle a bit over added value items. The words, “Can you throw in a free…” aren’t to be underestimated. If it means a sale and a returning customer, suppliers are likely to see it as investment. Be jovial and warm on order phone calls and you’ll soon build up a good relationship with your suppliers. This will stand you in good stead if you ever need assistance or more favorable rates in the future.
You will find these days that people are only too eager to show off their abilities – especially if they are just starting out. Graduates and apprentices are desperate to grow their portfolio, so will often offer free or reduced rate work. So if you’re looking for a photographer or designer, check out art colleges’ notice board to see if they have anyone looking for work. See if schools need placements for work experience – it’s a weeks free labor!