Doing more with less has been the norm for many small businesses over the past few years, and that hasn’t changed so far in 2014. But, even though you are constantly pressed for time and have limited resources, there are ways to grow without breaking the budget.
“Running lean and mean is no longer a mantra used solely in manufacturing,” says Chuck Fried, president and chief executive of TxMQ, an IT services company. “We’re observing companies of all sizes strategically learning to do more with less human capital.”
With shoestring budgets common among business owners, it may be worth stretching the pennies you do have to hire all-star performers, says Fried.
“If you need to invest a bit more in training or salaries to onboard 5 top-notch, do-it-all employees with a can-do attitude, do it,” says Fried. “Those individuals will likely have the capability to do more than your company’s next 15 most-productive employees.”
Hang out on Twitter, Facebook
Even with marketing, small businesses can get creative and save some money. One way is to partake in real time conversations with your existing base, peers and potential customers online, usually via Twitter, says Shawn Prez, CEO and founder of Power Moves, Inc., a grassroots marketing company.
Take the Super Bowl, for example. Businesses of all sorts and sizes spent millions to run 30 second adds during one of the most watched sporting events of the year. But some other businesses didn’t spend a dime yet they became part of the conversation by tweeting about the game and the commercials.
“Being part of the conversation online has been effective in terms of attracting consumers to your Website,” says Prez.
Partner with local entrepreneurs
Online collaboration is fun, easy and cheap. But Shannon Wilburn, chief executive and co-founder of Just Between Friends Franchise Systems, a seasonal sales event company that runs community-based consignment sales of gently used children’s and maternity clothing, says small businesses should expand their collaboration outside the confines of their office walls.
“Sharing the work load with other small businesses to create a powerful team is a great way to expand your services without increasing your costs,” says Wilburn. “It can allow you to bid on a bigger project or go after a bigger client by outsourcing some of the work to another small business.” At Just Between Friends, Wilburn says she has partnered with a graphic artist, a web design firm, a marketing strategist and PR expert, which allows her to provide a variety of resources to her franchisees and makes her more attractive to potential franchise owners.