Furniture, technology, stationery and stocking the snack table – the cost of setting up your start-up soon adds up. There are, however, ways you can reduce your expenses, with a little savvy shopping and imagination because there are certain times when you should be a bit stingy when it comes to your business. Here are our top money-saving tips when you’re just getting started:
Reuse and recycle
If you search Pinterest for the phrase ‘Upcycled office’ you’ll find no shortage of suggestions for crafty alternatives to buying new. At the invention start-up Quirky, which unfortunately closed last year, the desks were made from bowling alley lanes and the main conference table was built from wooden pallets. According to reports, a growing number of start-ups are even using upcycling shipping containers as their premises too.
Cut your phone bill
Instead of a traditional phone system with handsets, opt for a virtual phone system that can work with your employee’s existing mobiles (and reduce your gadget bill). These web-based programs do the work of a robotic receptionist – forwarding calls to specific numbers, auto-greeting clients and transcribing voice mails. You can also set up ‘hunt groups’ where a number of phones ring in unison until one person answers.
Split the cost
Whether you need to buy furniture, computers or toilet roll, buying in bulk often makes it cheaper. Reach out to founders in your network, or on a Facebook page like Sydney Startups, to see if anyone wants to mass buy with you. The website, Alibaba is a bargain-hunters paradise as long as you can meet their minimum order. Meanwhile, the online marketplace, Eco Office offers a discount on bulk orders for biodegradable coffee cups, recycled stationary and green cleaning products.
Embrace flat pack
When setting up Porch, its founders kept costs low by buying electronics and furniture at Costco.
“A big bonus for most of the start-ups that are on the move is that the furniture is built to move and last,” said co-founder Matt Enrlichman. And good news for Aussie founder, last November IKEA Australia launched a home delivery service for the first time, so you don’t have to get lost in the maze.
Some companies offer discounts for entrepreneurs or self-employed workers, although they don’t also advertise it publicly. At some Apple stores, you can access a 10% discount on certain products by providing your Australian Business Number (call customer services for details). For software, Atlassian has a special package available for approved startups. Meanwhile, Woolworths Australia offers a 3% discount for business owners, because every little bit helps.