Running a business from home has many advantages – for example, it gives you much more flexibility with your time, and allows you to do something that really interests you without having a boss looking over your shoulder. However, running a home business is also hard work, and you are on your own financially. With all of that effort that you put in, the last thing you want to do is to waste your hard-earned dollars when you don’t have to. Fortunately, there are quite a number of different ways that you can eliminate unnecessary expenses and make your money work harder for you.
One area to look at is the cost of staying in touch with your customers. Of course, you want to be able to get on the phone and talk to them – and you definitely want them to be able to get hold of you when they want to put business your way. The trouble is that doing this can be very expensive – particularly if your customers are far away. A great way of keeping these costs down is to use a service such as Skype to make all of your long distance calls at a very low rate. Just buy a $30 headset, plug it into your computer, and you are ready to go. Better still, try using Google Voice – right now, this will let you make calls anywhere in North America for free.
You also want your customers to be able to contact you when you are not in your home office – and for that you are going to need a cell phone. Again, there are things you can do to keep your cell phone bills down. Look for a plan that includes a number of long-distance minutes, or one that only charges you when you make a call – not when someone calls you. Also, make sure that you take advantage of any promotions that are available – such as these deals from Verizon Wireless.
If you are looking to promote your home business, advertising can be quite costly – and there is no guarantee that you are going to be targeting exactly the right audience. However, if you are an expert at what you do – for example, if you run a home event planning business – then there are many different approaches to getting free publicity with people who are interested in what you do. For example, offer to write a weekly column for free in your local newspaper. This doesn’t need to be heavily promotional – just give good event planning advice, and people will naturally try to contact you. Alternatively, volunteer to give free courses on what you do at your local school or community college.
Finally, build a network with other home businesses. You may be able to offer each other services that you need at low rates, or even share costs of things such as advertising. Not only that, you will do more business if you set up an effective network, since other businesses will refer business to you if you also refer business to them.
What other tips would you add for saving money in your home business?