The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
1. Rent Your Resources on Weekends
At our business, we have no one in the office on the weekends, so we rent out the classroom and communal room area to our own customers who teach English to Chinese students. Everyone wins in this situation. Because the teachers have a professional place to teach — versus being at home or in a cafe — the student is in the mindset of learning. Plus, we get to cover the costs of our rent.
- Derek Capo, Next Step China
2. Negotiate a Flat Fee
Some spaces will tempt you with a low rent and then nickel and dime you on everything. Negotiate a flat fee for electricity, telephone, Internet, conference rooms, copying, faxing, answering services and the myriad of other amenities your landlord provides. Not only will you save on costs, but budgeting will be much simpler when you know what will be on the bill at the end of the month.
- Peter Minton, Minton Law Group, P.C.
3. Try Non-Traditional Spaces
Even if you don’t have money to build on or out, you can still adapt most spaces into an office. Even a shed in someone’s backyard can be wired up for work with very little effort. Don’t just shop exclusively for spaces described as offices.
- Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting
4. Telecommute to Lower Expenses
With fewer employees showing up for work each day, you’ll save on energy, office supplies, IT issues and more. Just be sure to monitor the folks working from home as effectively as you do your in-office staff. Communicate regularly and assign deadlines to keep them producing at a high efficiency level.
- Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
5. Allow Someone to Shadow You
There are many ways to improve efficiency, but one that I found effective is to have a friend with experience spend a day with you at your office. Let him critique you as much as possible. His constructive criticism will be a fresh view and angle that can help you see things differently.
- Yosef Martin, Merchandize Liquidators
6. Work Anywhere BUT an Office!
If your business doesn’t need an office, then don’t have one. This may not be possible for businesses with foot traffic, but for most online businesses with low employee counts, it’s a very realistic choice and quite the money-saver.
- Wade Foster, Zapier
7. Leave the Office Unfurnished
If you’re planning to build a cool office space to impress visitors, just don’t do it! All of our furniture is used, and while our basement space is funky, it’s mostly just functional and cheap. It’s number 18 on our list of monthly expenses. We haven’t spent much on decor, but we do have a few video and arcade games that our employees enjoy.
- Jim Belosic, ShortStack/Pancake Labs
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