Being employed outside of the home does have its benefits and one of the main ones is that you never have to think about the costs of operating a business. There are departments full of people who handle every conceivable expense, such as payroll, water and power, and the equipment and supplies that everyone needs to get their job done. So now that you’re working from home, you’re beginning to realize that all of the amenities you enjoyed without a care for the cost are going to rack up your operating expenses beyond belief! Luckily, you are not alone in this epiphany. There are plenty of people out there going through the same challenges as you, and somehow they find a way to muddle through and earn a living working from home. Here are a few little ways in which you can save a lot on managing your home-based business.

1. Order online. Anything you can buy in a store can be found online, and often at a significant savings. For items that you use frequently (office supplies, coffee and snacks for employees, etc.) order in bulk to save even more. And wait for sales to get better discounts, and coupon codes for free shipping.

2. Buy used. You’re probably going to need a few key items to start up your business, such as office furniture, computers, and in some cases, a work vehicle. Rather than buying the newest toys on the market (which most people don’t really need), look into getting used items. Check out Craig’s List to get low-cost (or even free) furniture, see if you can find a refurbished laptop or PC that has upgraded software from Dell, and see if you can make due with a certified-reused vehicle from the dealership (often these models are a year or two old and come with a full warranty, but are priced thousands of dollars below newer options).

3. Get referrals. If your business really takes off and you find that you absolutely cannot manage everything on your own, you’ll be faced with the daunting task of hiring on employees. But instead of advertising right away and allowing a stranger into your home on a daily basis, get a little help from your friends. With so many people looking for jobs right now, they may know someone who is experienced but willing to work for a little less just to get a regular paycheck, or they might have older children who could use some filler for their résumé.

4. Invest wisely. You will no doubt be tempted to kick off your business with a bang, but blowing your whole startup budget on a flashy website will do you no good if nobody sees it. For one thing, you don’t need to hire an award-winning designer to create your small business website (wait until you’re in the black to shell out the cash for that one). Start with something simple, straightforward, and professional that doesn’t cost too much and invest instead in a good SEO company that can get your web address out in a targeted manner in order to give you an immediate boost in interested consumers.

5. Keep receipts. You’re going to have to do some spending, but remember that everything for your small business can be written off come tax time. So keep receipts for equipment, gas, food, supplies, and payroll. And don’t forget to claim your home office. Believe it or not, you can write off a portion of your utilities every year just for working at home.

Jennifer Kardish is a writer for Medical Coding where you can browse medical coding schools and jobs.

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