Whether bootstrapping for the first time or launching your third startup, saving money in the beginning stages of a new business is crucial. Every dollar counts, every deal matters and every moment of efficiency has the potential to catapult your venture to the next level. And though you could cut out thousands of coupons for office supplies and conduct your work beside candlelight, there are easier ways for entrepreneurs to save money.
Our panel of successful young entrepreneurs lets you peek into their virtual toolbox of websites for saving on startup expenses. From tracking spending habits to outsourcing tasks at affordable prices, these strategies will have you soon sealing up any holes in your business suit and discovering money in savings opportunities that even you never knew existed.
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1. Find Savings with Indinero
“The first step to saving money for your startup is truly understanding where your costs come from. Indinero is an online software that helps business owners see all their financials in one place. With their fantastic graphical and trend visualizations, you can identify ways to save.”
2. Tap into Talent Pools on Elance
“Elance has been great in locating people to do various freelance activities for my business. There is such a large talent pool out there, and you are able to find great people for fair prices, thus allowing you to help your margins. There’s nothing like having people bid to win the ability to help your business.”
3. Score a Deal on AppSumo
“AppSumo is awesome because it’s a daily deal site for startups. A lot of them are discounted ‘how-to’ type information that are good for new hires or interns. I also like some of the design deals that feature images because those can get expensive if you buy them from stock image sites.”
4. Recruit for Basics through Odesk
“As an entrepreneur there’s always more that you want to do, but only so many hours in a day. Odesk enables you to find reasonably priced labor to help you with a lot of basic tasks such as online research, spreadsheet edits and database updates. We’ve found someone that we use regularly and almost consider them part of the team!”
5. Track Spending with Mint
“One great way to organize my finances and consequently save money has been Mint.com. Half of the battle is seeing how much you are spending and then cutting back. Being able to categorize my business expenses helped me create a budget and realize where all of my money was going.”
6. Achieve Efficiency with RescueTime
“There is an enormous opportunity cost associated with each hour of the business day. If someone asked you how many hours per day you spend on nonessential tasks, would you be able to guess? RescueTime brings the law of focus to your online browsing. When productivity is monitored and brought to a conscious level, you will be able to make the necessary changes to save time and money.”
7. Outsource Worldwide with GetFriday
“The outsourcing team at GetFriday is unbelievably talented and diverse in their skills. I have a point person who’s my main assistant and then depending on my project, it might be delegated to their design or coding or legal departments. All for $10-20/hr. What I love is that they can handle almost any project and for a fraction of what someone would charge locally.”
8. Sourcing and Supplier Discovery through ThomasNet
“ThomasNet helps us take the guess work out of finding suppliers and manufacturers, which ultimately saves time and money. We’re able to easily locate domestic companies within the supply chain and send out multiple RFPs. This aids in negotiations and cost-savings given we aren’t limited to a few local or known options.”
9. Get Things Done with Do
“Do.com is a great way to keep track of projects, tasks, milestones and billable time. Moving off of email for project management and using Do.com instead freed up my time and made my staff more productive. Recapturing wasted time allows my business to make more money and be more efficient.”
10. Couponing with Extrabux
“When you are building a company, every extra dollar counts. Because of Extrabux, I earned cash on quite a few of my purchases, and I saved money with discounts.”
11. Save on PR with Help A Reporter Out
“Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a great way to not only help your business gain credibility, but exposure as well. Free quality media exposure is always welcomed!”
12. Keep Up through Freshbooks
“Freshbooks is a very inexpensive option for invoicing and bookkeeping. You can break down your expenses, see where your income is coming from and keep track of clients for much less than most services. The service also links to PayPal Business which charges you a much better rate than normal transaction fees.”
13. Do-It-Yourself IT with Google Apps
“We use Google Apps for email, document management and various other things that we would need a full-time IT staffer to maintain if we tried to set it up on our own. With Google Apps, though, I can set up a new email address with a couple of clicks—faster than I could even tell an IT staffer to do it.”
image credit: Lisa S. via shutterstock