12 Low Cost Ways to Improve Your Business

ways to improve your business

Startups are usually strapped for cash. But that shouldn’t stop you from building your dream as effectively as possible. So how can you do both and find ways to improve your business without breaking the bank?

To find out, we asked 12 entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question.

“I have limited resources but plan to grow a lot this year. What is one low-cost way I can significantly improve my operations?”

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Help Your Customers

“Focus on helping people, and the business will follow. If you are providing added value to your customers and helping them out, it will inevitably provide cash to finance your growth.” ~ Dan Price, Gravity Payments

2. Use Zapier

“I look at operations in four parts: Strategy, people, tools and processes. Chances are, your company can improve in at least one of these areas. Zapier has saved me a ton of money and made us more efficient by automating certain tasks in my company. It is like the glue that connects all of the different business tools that I use to create one effective system. Save time. Save money. Use Zapier.” ~ Lawrence Watkins, Great Black Speakers

3. Open a Line of Credit

“Banks are lending! Establish a relationship with your bank and open a line of credit. It can do wonders for your purchasing power, and the rates being offered now are some of the lowest they’ve ever been. ” ~ Evrim Oralkan, Travertine Mart

4. Automate Marketing

“For a cheaper but still very effective solution, take a look at Infusionsoft. We have many clients who use it to automate following up with customers. ” ~ Adam Root, Hiplogiq

5. Take It to the Cloud

“By moving everything you can to cloud-based systems (CRM, project management, accounting, etc.), you can easily scale up as you need more. Use contractors to optimize specific processes rather than hiring new employees.” ~ Mary Ellen Slayter, Reputation Capital

6. Build Strategic Partnerships

“A company is only as small as it projects itself to be. By developing strategic relationships and outsourcing non-core competences to industry partners, small companies can maximize efficiency and create value. Play off your partners’ expertise and offer services that are unique. Clients don’t need to know you are running your operations from a coffee shop as long as you deliver the goods.” ~ Elliot Fabri, EcoCraft Homes

7. Look to Sales

“In order to grow with limited resources, particularly financial resources, you’ll want to look to sales. New and larger sales will provide for live operational experiences, which help you scale business processes.” ~ Andrew Fayad, eLearning Mind

8. Leverage 1099 Subcontractors

“Leveraging 1099 subcontractors gives you the ability to scale quickly while reducing your fixed operating costs. They’ll cost you more in the short-term, but you can adjust resourcing levels very quickly to adapt to increasing customer demands.” ~ Chris Cancialosi, GothamCulture

9. Have Customers Pay Early

“Growing a business with limited resources is the battle almost all startups must endure. As we are going through the same issue, we have focused our efforts on getting our customers to pay early, often up front. It puts money in the bank and fuels the company for more growth. ” ~ Alex Chamberlain, EZFingerPrints

10. Automate Tasks

“When your team is small, it’s critical that every repeatable task is being optimized. Something as simple as a checklist helps your employees think through operations, so they can quickly and confidently make decisions without going to their bosses for assistance. Inexpensive project management software, like Basecamp, can also help automate many of your team’s tasks and eliminate repetition.” ~ Brittany Hodak, ZinePak

11. Invest in Customer Service

“If you can’t deal with customer service and sales inquiries personally as they come up, using support software, like Zendesk, is the next best and cheapest thing you can do. Good customer service is really a mindset, and it doesn’t cost much. ” ~ Jim Belosic, Pancakes Laboratories/ShortStack

12. Focus on Now

“The fastest way to waste your two most precious resources (time and money) is to build and plan your operations around what you might need once you grow a lot. Focus on what pains you have right now, whether it is a critical hire or a missing feature that customers are demanding. Save money and optimize for today’s problems. Don’t worry about what problems the future might bring.” ~ Anthony Nicalo, Dónde

Magic Photo via Shutterstock

The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.