How to stretch your small business budget by improving your productivity

By Henry Brown

If you are a solopreneur and would like to make the most out of your time and productivity, and earn a certain amount per day, you will need to look at your regular business expenditures and find out where you can cut back or get more value. In fact, you can take charge of your business expenses by conducting a financial audit. Below you will find tips to implement after you have looked at your profit margins and decided to improve them.

Smart travel plans

So you get a call from a potential client, and you are happy to travel a hundred miles just for a coffee meeting. You will have to take into consideration the time you lose when you are driving to the client’s location, and the money you spend. Is the lead really worth the effort, or could you simply have a phone conversation with them first, and then find out whether or not they actually have the budget to work with you? Traveling when you run a one-man band can be an important expense. If you need to meet clients for an update, you can hold all the meetings at the same place on the same day, so you can save money on fuel. Also, establish a policy whereby you’re paid for the travel time and make this policy known up front. Many consultants charge one-half their regular rate for travel time while others charge their full rate.

Evaluate the value of professional services

If you are getting coaching, accounting, or marketing services from companies, or maybe are a member of a business club, you will need to ensure that you are getting the best value. When you first start off as a freelancer, you tend to sign up for agency websites and upgrade your account to get more clients. If you are not getting your money’s worth back, it might be time to cut the subscription loose. The same applies to software and premium services.

Free networking events vs. paid ones

One of the easiest ways of getting the word out about your new business is networking. However, some of the groups will cost you hundreds of dollars, which is out of the question if you are a small business owner. You will lose time traveling and attending, and will have to pay to make connections. Instead, you can go to trade shows and free networking events, so you can still brand yourself without the cost involved.

Social media marketing – Value for money

If you are trying to sell your time as a freelancer, the last thing you want to do is spend time on trying to post regularly on social media. While there are some scheduling tools out there, such as Hootsuite, Buffer, or Later, they take time to learn, and time is what you are short of. It might be a good idea to talk to a specialist agency and sign up for affordable social media management packages that will create engagement and send out consistent messages about your business.

Communication costs and benefits

If you are using a separate phone for your business, it might be time to see whether you are getting a good deal. If you have a phone-call intensive business, you may quickly use up your minutes allowance. You might also try and save money and time by getting an advanced telephony software installed. You can see your call duration, cost, and even call tracking metrics, so you can find out what the best way of communicating with your clients is.


There are several ways you can automate your small business and improve your productivity and make your budget stretch further. First of all, you will need to avoid doing repetitive tasks. If you send out proposals or updates to clients, you might want to create a document template that will save you a lot of time and effort. At the same time, you will be able to automate your marketing, report generation, or accounting, by linking some of your existing software and apps together.

Effective systems

One of the best ways of reducing your small business expenses is improving your productivity. You can earn more per hour working smarter, not harder. For example, if you are using a lead generation agency to talk to your potential clients, you will have to create a system that explains how they should work and engage with your market. This will not only save you money and improve their productivity while reducing the cost per lead, but also help you manage your small business reputation, too.

Measure your own productivity

When you run a one-man band, you will need to work constantly to get more out of your own working day. This is not easy if you are constantly jumping from one project to the next. However, some productivity measurement tools can help you track how long it takes you to complete one job, and how you can make a change for the better. You can get a Pomodoro widget installed on your desktop for free, instead of an expensive project management tool that you don’t really need.

Pdf. leaflets and documents

When you start your business, you might think that you need to look as professional as possible and have the flashiest business cards and leaflets possible. You can actually create a virtual version of your business card, and send it to people you engage with online. This will save you a lot of money on printing. The same applies to your leaflets. Ask your clients whether they would prefer to have your price list on paper or in a digital format. Most of them will choose digital, which means you will end up spending very little of your initial budget on marketing materials.

Getting the most value out of your services while maximizing your earning potential is a great way of growing your business on a shoestring budget. Look at the above areas and see where you can get a better value.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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