If you are starting a business, you may want to conserve your capital and these days there are many great solutions for IT that don’t require an arm and leg or the shirt off your back! The trick is in finding IT solutions that you can grow with as a company and knowing when a cheap outlay can cost more in the long run.
At Netitude we deal with hardware, software and all manner of IT solutions on a daily basis, so we have some insight into some of the better low-budget solutions for those companies that want to save a bit when starting out. Here are some of our top tips.
6 cost-saving tips for start-ups
1) Set your business up on cloud
Scrimping is not always the best strategy in the set-up phase as you pay dearly at a later stage and you sacrifice productivity. When it comes to deciding where to keep your data, The Cloud can provide may be benefits for your business. It can increase productivity, reduces capital expenses, increases IT security and reduces the risk that involves the loss of data or hardware failures.
Startups can also benefit financially from cloud computing services for the following reasons:
- Scaling is easy and cost-effective with cloud computing. You can increase and decrease storage capacity, processing power, and the number of servers depending on your requirements.
- Start-ups that use cloud services under the hybrid model are able to protect themselves from losses due to cyberattacks and user errors that result in database deletion and/or corruption.
Do you need 5 more reasons to get your business in the cloud? Check out our blog.
2) Outsource jobs or departments
Cut employment costs without losing important roles and responsibilities by outsourcing! There are plenty of opportunities to save money when it comes to outsourcing, for example, instead of employing an in-house IT team, where you’ll pay for their salary, benefits, training, etc. choose to outsource your IT to a trusted partner. With set fees every month, your budget management will be far simpler. You’ll know exactly what service you’ll receive, and how much you’ll pay for it, regardless of sickness, holidays and other payroll issues that arise with a salaried employee.
Read our blog “Outsource IT support vs In-house” for an in-depth look at the pros and cons of outsourcing IT.
3) Use free or low-cost marketing software
HubSpot has free CRM and marketing, sales and customer service tools to take advantage of, with a wide variety of features including, reporting dashboards, email marketing, sales deals, contact management and more. They also have programs for startups with under £2 million in funding, giving you 90% off products and plans in your first year, 50% in your second, and 25% ongoing. If you’ve raised over £2 million, you’ll be eligible for 50% off in your first year, and 25% off ongoing.
MailChimp also has free basic services and low-cost for more options and larger scales. It’s very widely used and good for simple mail-shots to customers’ email addresses. It comes complete with the analytical ability so you can see who has opened the mail, how many have unsubscribed and who has taken an interest. MailChimp allows you to do a basic design for your mail-shot which is especially good for special offers and discounts to loyal customer communities. You can also split databases to tailor and send offers to different groups of customers.
4) Use Xero for your accounting
Xero is an online cloud accounting and bookkeeping software with pricing plans from £10 a month and a free trial. Whilst accountants can become a cost themselves, this software has many easy to manage features that don’t require a degree in accountancy to operate. This is ideal for busy SMEs which are sensitive to any shift in the balance sheet and need to keep on top of finances. As it is in the cloud, this presents real-time information on cash flow. The interface is very user-friendly – designed for managers, not just accountants. It can be used on mobile devices too.
Check out this blog for the benefits of using Xero for small businesses
5) Invest in your IT setup
Buy business grade machines from the start – for instance, having Windows Professional or Ultimate is a must. By getting your initial IT infrastructure right from the start it will save a lot of time and money later on if and when your business grows. It will mean you won’t need to replace them later on when you might need to move to a server. Also worth considering when investing in computers, is that a three-year warranty might be worth it – on laptops especially. You should buy brands with a good reputation like Dell, HP, Lenovo or Apple.
6) Standardise naming convention
Here’s a tip that will help you save on fuss later on. Use naming conventions from the outset – for example, usernames and email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org. So, when you add names as the company grows – you won’t one day find yourself at a juncture where you need to change all the email addresses to conform to a rule – as well as business cards of course!
For more practical advice like this, gained from years of working with growing companies, contact Netitude.