“Started from the bottom, now we here.”
Drake’s 2013 hit, “Started from the Bottom” was not only an iconic moment in pop culture, but also a prophecy for business owners everywhere. After all, how many fledgling entrepreneurs are armed with only a big idea and a small wad of cash? We’re here to tell you that if Drake is capable of building an empire, so are you.
But, if Drake isn’t enough to convince you, then take it from us. ShipMonk had humble beginnings at first, operating entirely out of a college dorm room. Fast forward to only six years later, and we have three (huge) warehouse facilities, hundreds of dedicated employees, and thousands of amazing merchants all over the world!
So how did we do it? While we can’t spill the secrets of a global superstar, we can tell you what has worked for us and many other success stories. Just keep reading to learn how you can cut your budget without cutting corners.
#1. Set a Budget… and Keep Track of It
Budgets may not be super exciting, but boy are they necessary. In fact, your financial success relies on them. While we could dedicate a whole other article to budgets (stay tuned!), we’re specifically going to focus on your expenses here.
Do you know…
- How much you’re spending each month?
- What you’re spending your money on?
- If you are over or under budget?
If you answer no to any of these questions, then it’s probably time to crunch those numbers — a spreadsheet is a great place to start. Of course, creating a budget isn’t enough — you have to follow through with it too. When it comes to finances, it’s important to strike the right balance between flexibility and plain old diligence. Punches will be rolled, but staying objective about what is and isn’t within reach is essential to getting ahead. After all, there’s a reason tortoises are faster than hares.
#2. Buy What You Need, Not What You Want
Living below your means isn’t only limited to personal finances — you’d be smart to incorporate that philosophy into your overall business plan. While it may be tempting to redecorate your (home) office or spend thousands of dollars on fancy software, life sometimes forces us to hit the breaks, put the credit card away, and consider the bigger picture.
Next time you make a purchase, try asking yourself this: “Can I afford not to buy this?” If the answer is yes, then it might be best to wait a few more months before pulling the trigger.
It’s easy to get swept up in all the newest gadgets and gizmos for the modern day business owner, but, at the end of the day, sometimes less really is more. Running a successful online business is about great products, solid marketing, and impeccable follow-through. Have the basics down, and you’re golden.
#3. Find Alternative Work Solutions
It’s no secret that 2020 has drastically altered the way we live and work as a society. But, despite the chaos and turmoil, we’ve come across some interesting discoveries. Namely, that working remotely is, as DJ Khaled would put it, a major key. For business owners, working remotely means less (or no) time spent commuting, a smaller (or no) office space, access to a wider pool of employees, and increases in productivity. While working remotely is not a one-size-fits-all solution, it is definitely one worth considering.
Of course, if working from home isn’t your thing, then we suggest looking into coworking spaces. They’re a great way to get yourself out there and conduct business without investing in too much overhead. Whatever option you choose, you’ll likely find that a more flexible work environment results in better networking opportunities… with Benjamins and Franklins, if you catch our drift (…but if you don’t, we’re saying rent is expensive and cutting down on it can save you money).
#4. Go Green
We’ve said it before, but going green is a win-win scenario. Here are just a few ways you can pay your dues to Mother Nature:
- Opt for a paperless office
- Reuse, reduce, and recycle
- Switch to LED bulbs
- Telecommute (see #3!)
What do all the examples above have in common? Not only are they better for the planet, but they also save you money! LED bulbs, for instance, use less energy than their standard counterparts and last an average of 20 years. Talk about a lasting relationship! And you don’t even have to take them out on a date.
When’s the last time you felt like 24 hours in a day simply wasn’t enough? In such a busy world, the most valuable thing we have is time, and that’s especially true for business owners. With so much to do and keep track of, it’s understandable that you won’t be an expert on all the ins and outs of running a business. That’s why outsourcing is, well, a must.
If the math makes sense, outsourcing things like marketing, accounting, or fulfillment (wink wink) will serve as a huge weight off your shoulders with the added bonus of serious savings — in time and money.
While financial limitations can be a hindrance, it’s in your best interest to think of them as an advantage. Believe it or not, a boundless budget with infinite options is often more overwhelming than it is productive. Obstacles can actually help us focus on what’s important and allow us to become more creative and strategic in our thinking. Besides, what’s a winning success story without a scrappy beginning?
Speaking of winning stories, we’d love to be a part of the plot! Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions, ideas, or prepositions. We’re here to help!