It's frustrating: you read all these articles telling you to invest in this software or that conference to grow your business, but the fact is: you simply don't have the budget to put back into your business yet. Fortunately, there are several ways you can work on growing your business without going broke.
Take On More Yourself
Easier said than done, right? Still: you're able to take on things you assume you have to hire help for, like managing social media or your accounting software. If the choice is between you doing them yourself or not doing them at all, get ready to learn some new skills and take on new tasks. Look at youtube.com to learn some tips. If social media or blogging have you stumped, here's a great webinar I produced with Infusionsoft that can help. You can also look for free online courses geared toward entrepreneurs.
Delegate Some of Your Work
I have a rule. I don't spend my time doing $10-$20 per hour work. While it wouldn't seem like a way to save money, hiring help can actually help you make money. Start by hiring a part-timer for the most menial tasks you have, like responding to company emails or managing the cash register. Whatever you outsource, the time it frees up should give you the opportunity to do what you do best which should be making money.
Work Out of Your Home
Certainly, this isn't an option for every entrepreneur (like if you run a restaurant or retail store) but if office space is unnecessary, you can drastically cut your costs by working out of your home. You just need to make sure you can handle working from home. Just be sure to carve out space for your work so you can avoid the distractions of your household.
Take Advantage of Free Trial Software
I'm a big advocate of having the right software and apps to be more productive. Fortunately, many of the tools I use are free or really affordable. But before you shell out any dough, see if a company offers a free trial. Often you can try out software for 30 up to 90 days. That gives you time to see if it actually makes you more productive, and whether it's worth the cost. Other tools are free if you have limited uses, like with email marketing. If your email list is still relatively small, you can probably get away with using free versions of email marketing software like MailChimp.
Cut Costs Where You Can
It pays off (literally) to review your business expenses monthly. Ask yourself: where can you cut back? Do you really need that landline for your office or should you just use your cell phone? You could easily save $100 a month or more just by cutting your phone service. If things are tight right now, maybe that daily gourmet coffee habit or fruit subscription isn't a necessity. Question every expense and decide whether it's the best place you could be putting your money right now. After all, every penny you save is one you can invest back into your business to help it grow.
These little actions can really add up and make a difference, and you didn't have to spend much to accomplish them!