As an entrepreneur, launching your first brick-and-mortar establishment can seem fiscally overwhelming. How are you going to finance everything without a single paying customer?
Sure, you could use credit, but piling on mounds of pre-launch debt is risky when you’re just starting out.
Explore these creative cost-saving ideas for retailers seeking inspiration on how to reduce startup business expenses.
Trade Your Services or Products
It isn’t uncommon for local business owners to swap items or services with one another. Opening a plumbing or home improvement supply store? Consider trading a certain amount of your supplies to a plumber in return for all or a portion of plumbing work. The key to a successful trade is to identify needs and contributions that are beneficial for both businesses. Last but not least, always put it in writing.
Incentivize Your Leadership Team
As a new business, the ongoing costs of staffing can be a concern. Your leadership team, from general store managers to shift managers, can be both difficult to recruit and costly to retain. Since most small business owners can’t afford to offer top-tier salaries as soon as the business launches, consider offering incentives, like sales bonuses or equity. The benefit for you is two-fold. First, it will motivate employees to focus on being performance-driven and, second, it will buy you time to stabilize financially before offering salary increases.
Share Advertising Costs with Neighbors
Brick-and-mortar stores have a distinct advantage over digital companies when it comes to forging strong relationships with customers. Once you have identified your business location, start talking to neighboring business owners about advertising and promotional costs. Like you, they’re in business to attract and retain customers. Appeal to their wallet by offering to split the costs of a weekend sidewalk sale or promotional event.
Manage Inventory in the Cloud
Most entrepreneurs now acknowledge that cloud-based services and products are a future-proof, low-cost way to operate a business. However, not all business owners recognize how much time (translation: staff hours) is saved with cloud-based inventory management. Investing in a cloud-based retail point-of-sale system enables you to automatically track and manage inventory while providing valuable insights into top-selling items. Because most cloud-based point of sale solutions scale with your business, there's no need to replace it as you grow.
Be Smart with Business Credit Cards
Let’s be realistic. Unless you’re independently wealthy and fully funding your operation, you will need to leverage credit at some point. The key is to be strategic about how you use your credit. With a little preparation and planning, you can avoid ongoing high-interest payments by transferring your balance to a zero-interest credit card. Though you will need to keep track of when the promotional interest offer expires, this is a great way to keep money in your pocket. If you’ve exhausted your balance transfer options, consider consolidating credit card debt via a small business loan.
Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce
In addition to boosting your company’s reputation locally, becoming a member of your local chamber of commerce opens doors to new potential customers, valuable professional networks, and exclusive advertising opportunities. Some chambers also offer members deep discounts on necessities, like insurance, printing services or business communication.
About the Author
As Content Writer at ShopKeep, the number #1-rated iPad Point of Sale System, Nicole Walters leverages her background in communications and her extensive experience in the payment and POS industry to create valuable content that addresses real problems and solutions for small business owners.