Home' Border Enterprise : Autumn-Winter 2011 Contents enterprise
Vol 4. Autumn/Winter
SO you want to avoid blowing money and
busting the budget?
Regardless of whether Australia's
fabled "Goldilocks economy" stays
strong despite the floods and forecast
housing bubble, thrift always makes sense. After
all, saving a dollar is easier than earning one.
The question is how to be frugal without
wreaking personal industrial sabotage.
Essentially, the trick is to skip paying for anything
that scores high on style but low in utility.
"Many start-up entrepreneurs subscribe to the
romance of running their own empire and shy
away from the reality," says the head strategist
at Sydney-based Financial Spectrum, Brenton
Tong. The result, Tong says, is squandered
Learn about some enticing expense traps that
you must sidestep. With sales expectations at
a 19-month low, the money you save could be
Trim the fat --- expenses to cut
1. Don't print fancy business cards because
nobody will do business with you purely on
the strength of gold leaf or embossing, says
Likewise, he says, don't go overboard on
letterheads. Use a borderless inkjet printer and
resist the urge to do print runs of thousands.
2. If you buy rather than lease computers, go
for second-hand. Unless your business relies
on technology, last year's hardware will do for
now. Only upgrade when the money rolls in.
Software-wise, assess all the open-source
and free cloud products. "No need to buy MS
Office for every computer," Tong says.
3. Another Tong tip is not to hire droves of staff.
"I've met people who boast that they have
x number of staff --- when I visit, they're all
sitting around doing nothing," he says. "Hire
the least number of people you can get away
with. Get them to buy into the dream and put
in that extra bit of effort," he says, adding that
unless a profitable full-time role for someone
exists, just outsource the work.
4. Forget about having a flash car and swanky
furniture. Tong says he has seen start-up
offces equipped with gleaming $800 Herman
Miller chairs. Again, second-hand will do.
5. Forget about having acres of gleaming office
space. Some companies whose clients never
even see their offices waste hundreds of
thousands in precious capital remodelling
warehouses, says consultant Barry Maher.
Instead, Maher says, the companies should
have set up "in a garage someplace". No
harbour views required. Consider sub-leasing
space that may come with furniture.
6. Beware overpaying for "expert" leadership.
When hired by a start-up, a high-flying, high-
wage Boeing executive may crash and burn.
Different skill set, says Maher.
7. Avoid computerising existing processes
unless they have been streamlined and you
understand them, advises "lean philosophy"
coach Mike Karle. Companies swallow the lie
that "automation" will slickly solve their woes.
Then they invest, read: waste huge amounts
of time and money trying to automate
complex processes. "Automated chaos
and an empty bank balance will be the only
result," Karle says.
8. Another outlay that commonly comes under
fire is hiring a public relations firm. Nobody
cares more and knows more about your start-
up than you, it's said. So why outsource the
publicity side? You might do better sacking
the flacks and conducting your own PR
through free social media platforms --- the
likes of Twitter, Facebook, su.pr, FriendFeed
9. The acknowledged downside of trade shows
and expos is that, despite their networking
potential, you may find that your coveted
costly space on the nylon carpet yields no
clients --- just other booths' bumph. Again,
promoting your business with no-cost
networking platforms might be more effective.
10. A final widely loathed expense to axe is
blanket, spam-like fax campaigns. Faxes
are prehistoric --- they chew up time, paper
and money. Besides, they often fail to get
through. So, why be a dinosaur?
How to blow money
fast: 10 stupid expenses
to avoid at all costs
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