6 Unexpected Cost-Cutting Strategies for Small Businesses

Being a small business owner isn’t always easy. The business will always have up and down periods. Sometimes customers line up, and the company may not be able to keep up with the demand, but other times it may be very quiet. During these low times, you may not have enough income to keep your company as supported as you may like. At such times, cut back on your spending rather than take out more loans. You need to be thrifty to keep your venture afloat. These are six unexpected cost-cutting strategies small businesses will benefit from.

Unexpected Cost-Cutting
1. Automate

Why do tedious tasks yourself when you can have a machine do them for pennies? Automation is the future of business. It can be very annoying to do repetitive, mundane tasks manually. Plus, someone could make an error which could cost your company even more money. To prevent this, you should invest in automation. Small businesses need to focus on the bigger picture items to grow and be successful. By implementing automation into your company, tasks like sending out reminders, getting notifications, sorting through invoices, etc., could be done in seconds. Employing automation is much cheaper than having employees do this work. Many companies, like Simply Flows, offer a free trial version of their product and then reasonable plans to choose from. Using automation will help your small business not have to worry about tedious tasks and save you money in the process.

2. Hire Freelancers  

Instead of hiring full-time employees or expensive consultants, hire freelancers for your standalone or independent projects. The reason why freelancers will save you money is because they have no overhead fees. All you have to pay them is their designated fee for the work they perform. No health insurance, retirement, or time-off expenses to worry about. Instead, only pay them for the work they have completed. Obviously, a contract should be drawn between your company and the freelancer defining your expectations, but this is a significant cost-cutting strategy, given that labor costs are usually the biggest expenses for a business. Using freelancers is a great way to help your organization save money.

3. Right-Size

Having ample office space for a small number of people and the occasional meeting with a customer is not efficient. It is not smart to pay rent, utilities, insurance, etc. if you do not properly utilize the amount of space you have. Downsizing could be your unexpected cost-cutting strategy. Plus, you can arrange people in this smaller office to sit where it would promote the most efficient results. For example, if someone is constantly going to the filing cabinet to get excess paper or other products, it would be beneficial to place them by the filing cabinet rather than the printer. This strategic placement in a right-sized office would save money and promote productivity.

Also, consider running a fully virtual company, i.e., not having an office at all. Then, you would not have to pay for rent, furniture, or property insurance. Even before the pandemic, many companies were starting as virtual. That way, they could hire people from anywhere without being restrained to a physical location. People, on the other hand, would have the benefit of working from their homes, shared spaces, or the beach, if they wanted to, without being forced into crazy commutes and unpleasant cubicles. Both right-sizing and going virtual are viable options to save you money.

4. Cutting Operating Expenses
Unexpected Cost-Cutting

Operating expenses can go through the roof if not appropriately managed. Bills can begin to pile up, and small businesses may have no way to pay them if they do not have the income. It is essential to do whatever possible to cut back on these expenses. For example, electricity costs a lot in the industry. If you forget to turn off machines or lights, this could result in higher fees for your organization. Possible ways to cut these operating costs would be investing in solar energy or more cost-efficient lighting.

Additionally, consider reviewing and renegotiating the professional services you pay for. A small business may work with a few agencies for their bookkeeping, accounting, marketing, hiring, etc., and each may be willing to lower their fees if you renegotiate them. If this did not work, you could transfer to another agency with lower fares.

5. Do Your Own Advertising

Another unexpected cost-cutting strategy is that small businesses can do their own advertising. Rather than hiring someone that charges a lot to create digital advertisement materials, you can do this yourself. There are various free applications to get the job done. For example, companies can use Canva to create all sorts of materials for posts and ads – images, infographics, banners, postcards, etc.  If a small business does not know where to place its ads, it can utilize programmatic advertising. Programmatic advertising is the placement of ads on websites and social media through AI. This is much cheaper than hiring someone to do this process for you. To cut costs, small businesses could make their own ads and do the ad placement themselves or through programmatic advertising.

6. Buy a Smart Thermostat 

Would you be able to do work in a place that was overly hot or cold? I doubt it. Being in a comfortable setting contributes significantly to employee productivity and job satisfaction. Investing in a smart thermostat will surely pay back. These thermostats learn the company’s climate preferences and automatically adjust to create a comfortable temperature. Over time, this investment would cut back on heating and cooling costs. People would no longer have to constantly adjust (or argue over) the temperature settings in the office. Plus, a comfortable workplace contributes to workers being more relaxed and productive.

Small businesses need to cut costs to remain afloat, especially during low points for their organization. Saving money will help with the financials. Furthermore, these strategies can lead to more efficient and productive workplace. Also, being efficient means more time and attention towards customers and your products. Strategizing and determining the best ways to save money is vital to small businesses. These unexpected cost-cutting strategies will help your organization not only thrive but be more successful than the competitors.

Learn how to automate your small business and cut costs by checking out Simply Flows product.

Free Digital Marketing Apps for Small Businesses

Free digital marketing apps

Every business owner is looking for marketing tools that allow them to accurately market and promote their products or services, with hopes of gaining new customers. Marketing tools can serve many different functions across a business and can come in several forms. Here are the best free digital marketing apps we have identified. They are all great for small business owners to have under their belt.

From image creation, file sharing, posts scheduling, to sending email campaigns, you are covered by the apps we’ve selected for you.

Sendinblue

Email marketing is one of the best ways to keep your customers updated, infromerd, and nurtured. With applications like Sendinblue, companies can build custom email campaigns for their customers. You can send up to 300 emails a day with their free plan. Email marketing can entice customers to spend more money with a business because of possible promotions sent. Also, you can share product and company information with your customers and give them an insight into the business. Sendinblue offers tools for creating visually appealing and engaging emails. Additionally, it allows scheduling of your email marketing campaigns.

Hootsuite

Small business’ biggest marketing tool is social media. It is free and there are many different platforms that range in target audience and focus. Hootsuite is a tool that helps you manage and schedule posts to various social media platforms. With Hootsuite you can plan ahead and prepare your post content in advance. You can also collaborate with your team members through this tool. In addition, Hootsuite can be used to curate the content you’ll use on your social media. Tools like Hootsuite benefit small businesses because posting consistent and quality content is important for building a brand. Social media is a great way to connect with your current and potential customers. Also, it gives your business visibility and trustworthiness. 

Canva

Whether posting graphics on your social media, sending emails, or updating your website, graphics and visuals are used. Canva is a great tool for creating content such as images, flyers, presentations, etc. You can access many features that Canva offers for free or opt for the paid version for additional features and opportunities. Tools such as Canva are important because quality imagery is something that could get you recognized and is a great way to get customers’ attention. With Canva, small businesses can create an unlimited amount of unique branded content specific to their business and further build their brand’s recognition. 

Dropbox

With small business owners managing all aspects of the business, having an organizational and communication platform is key. You can easily store and share documents in Dropbox. Additionally, you can collaborate on projects. This enables owners to run their business smoothly and keep recent and older documents easily accessible and securely stored. You can communicate with your teammates through Dropbox and even create calendars. The best part is that Dropbox is free, so small businesses can get a high quality organizational tool at no cost.

There are many ways that small businesses can manage the marketing mix most effective for them. But using tools will help smooth marketing operations and make knowledge and tasks easily accessible and transferable. Having the above free digital marketing apps in your tool belt is great as each has its specific purpose. Lastly, try out different marketing tools, especially if free, and see which are the most beneficial to you. The end goal is by utilizing these tools to get new customers and new sales, ultimately growing your business. 

Learn how Simply Flows product helps small business owners.

Best Time-Saving Tips for Success in Business

Throughout the workday, there are various tedious tasks a person has to do that consume a large amount of their time. A lot of other, high-value, tasks don’t get completed because there isn’t enough time in the day. Not to mention that people feel burnt-out from doing such mundane work. It is essential to find ways to save time because time is the only non renewable resource. Here are the best time-saving tips for success in business. They will help your organization be more productive and, ultimately, more successful.

Time is the only non renewable resource and we have very little of it. Therefore, wasting it on low-value work is unacceptable.

Time-Saving Benefits

Time savings can help increase productivity within a company. You open yourself up to getting more work done throughout the day by eliminating minuscule tasks. This, in turn, can lead to higher productivity and professional satisfaction in the workplace. People like to see that what they are doing is making a difference. Getting rid of low-value tasks means more time dedicated to growing the business, taking better care of the customers, and investing in employees’ professional development. This, in turn, would lead to higher customer loyalty and job satisfaction. Last but not least, saving time would contribute to increasing the organization’s value, revenues, and opportunities.

Time-Saving Tips

So, how does one increase time savings? There are various ways that a company can cut down on its inefficiencies. To start, a person has to stay organized. If someone’s files are all over, there is no way to get their work done efficiently. They would just be searching for what they need, which would take up a large portion of their day. It is essential to focus your attention to ensure you are doing high-quality work without making mistakes. Getting a job done before deadlines is crucial, so keeping an eye on the time and hitting those deadlines can increase time savings. To add, one other way to help save time is to avoid multitasking. Although it can be tempting to try and get everything done at once, it could be a distraction. Using these tips, one can become better at implementing time-saving techniques into their routine.

time-saving tips for success

Automation: The Biggest Helper 

The best way to increase time savings is through automation. Automation can eliminate tedious tasks, so that you do not have to waste time doing them yourself. You could create workflows for repetitive data entry and other manual data processing tasks. Then, you can focus your attention on your customers, for example, while the software does the tedious work. Something else, investing in automation to do your payroll is a huge time-saver. You get back that person whose only job is to work on the payroll tasks all day long. Business would grow, revenues would increase, and customers would be happier once you employ automation – the most significant time-saving helper a company can get. 

Using the above time-saving tips for success, you can help your company cut back on inefficiencies and make more money. Automation is the biggest helper when it comes to saving time in a business. Automated workflows can eliminate tedious tasks and give you time back to grow your company and make it even more successful.

Simply Flows can save you an immense amount of time, check out our product.

6 Free Tools to Get Solopreneurs Started

Free Tools to get Solopreneurs Started

Solopreneurs are responsible for all aspects of the business. They don’t have the resources or staffing like larger and more established businesses have. They are super careful with their spending, since they often bootstrap their business (i.e. use their own savings) or rely on loans from friends and family. However, there are many free tools that business owners can use that can help them in all aspects of running their business. We have collected a list of top free tools for solopreneurs to use in their day-to-day communications and business operations.

Wix

Every business needs a website. They need a touchpoint for customers to see so they can learn about the business, see their products, and potentially make a purchase or sign up.  Wix is one of the best and easy to use website builders on the market. You can make a free account on Wix and build a website that has full feature capabilities. Furthermore, Wix allows you to create websites that are mobile-friendly. This way customers can access your website conveniently.

Glip

Glip is a video conferencing application. it is free but, unlike others, meetings can run as long as 24 hours. The number of people limitation being much higher than on Zoom, Google meet, etc. With Glip you can be on a conferencing call with up to 100 people.  The time limit for their meetings is up to 24 hours. With Glip you can still screen share and send messages to the participants or privately. In addition, you can create tasks and agendas for the meetings. 

Wave

With Wave, business owners can have better control of their finances. Wave allows you to receive and send an unlimited amount of invoices and you can make an unlimited amount of transactions. Furthermore, it has an e-commerce feature so you can sell your items on your website. Not only is Wave good for payment transactions but it can also be used for human resources and payroll. However, their payroll feature is a part of their paid-subscription services. 

Google Drive

Using Google Drive can help owners with keeping all their documents organized. Certain files or folders can be shared with team members, vendors, customers, and community members for collaboration and review. It has ample free storage and you are able to access files when you are offline. Additionally, Google Drive can be linked to other applications so you can share work across applications. 

HubSpot

Hubspot is an easy to use customer relationship management (CRM) tool. They offer free tools for sales, marketing, operations, and customer support. In addition, you can have an unlimited amount of users. Also, you can add a live chat and chat bot to your website to help communicate with customers and assist them in online needs. Hubspot can also track website activity and give you feedback on your customers. 

SurveyMonkey

If you’re ever wondering how your current customers are feeling or what they want to see in the future, a survey is the best way to ask. SurveyMonkey is a survey application that allows you to make multiple free surveys. You can send and share these surveys with anyone. Surveys are a perfect way to connect with a customer and receive feedback.


Solopreneurs are focused on growing their business. Initially money may be scarce, so startup owners should spend it wisely. At this stage of the business, free applications are their best friends. There are many free tools available that owners can use to help them grow their online presence and their customer base.

Find out more information on how Simply Flows can help you as a solopreneur.

How Non-Technical Startups can Utilize Technology with no Budget

Starting your own company can be one of the most exciting moments of your life. It is an amazing feeling when you find something you are passionate about and push to make it become a reality. However, startups require a lot of money to get off the ground. It can be difficult to get investors to believe in your idea right away and even if they do, getting funding takes quite a bit of time. Initially, you will have to bootstrap your idea. This can become very costly if you do not budget correctly. Therefore, you should always try to save money whenever possible. Non-technical startups can still utilize technology even without any budget, as long as they avoid money suckers.

non-technical startups

Biggest Spending Mistakes

Many small businesses are run by first-time owners. To succeed, they need to be extremely cost-conscious. Some of the biggest mistakes a startup can make are:

  • Hiring staff you don’t need (yet).
  • Spending money on unnecessary products.
  • Overspending to the point where you take on debt. 
    • You need to have backup savings in case any problems arise.

It is essential to be cognizant regarding your spending. Even more so at the beginning, when revenues are not yet consistently coming. But even down the road, avoiding these major spending mistakes is vital for your success.

How to Avoid Overspending 

non-technical startups people

Rather than hiring too many people, it would be more beneficial to focus on 2-5 vital employees who will help develop your idea. It is crucial to find knowledgeable, experienced, self-driven, and flexible people whose values align with your own. Additionally, there is no point in hiring full-time employees when part-time ones are all you need.

When it comes to buying products, you should only get what is necessary. It is also important to create a budget and stick to it. Keeping your organization lean and spending only the minimum is vital when just starting. Also, always set aside some savings. Chances are something will go wrong (late, unexpected) and you will need that money. Having an emergency fund is always a good idea. Avoiding overspending early on will help your startup run longer and successfully.

No Money, No Problem

It takes a decent amount of time for startups to become recognized. Spending money can help with the promotion of your products but can burn a hole in your pocket. These are three of the best ways to succeed as a non-technical startup without spending a large sum of money.

1. Self-Teaching

Small business owners do not have to go through intense and expensive training programs to obtain new skills. In fact, there are many online resources that they can use to learn the many necessary skills of a startup owner. There are tons of online resources for digital marketing, accounting and finance, hiring, and other skills for running the business in the form of blog posts, podcasts, white papers, etc. This will not only expand a person’s knowledge, but it will save them money as well. Rather than using costly consultants to help them, non-technical startup owners can teach themselves how to do something that will benefit their company. Later on that knowledge and experience will pay back because it will help them hire the right people for their organization.

2. Getting Help from Mentors

Seek out experienced professionals among your network. Mentors can be a massive help to the development of your company and product. You can ask them for help, advice, guidance, and new ways to position yourself strategically in the market. They could also tell you where your startup could improve, whether in the advertising strategy or the product itself. For example, if you need help with your marketing strategy, reaching out to a marketing professional would be beneficial. There are many programs offering free mentorship. Most times you’ll be able to get the help your startup needs without spending any money at all.

3. Using Free Tools 

Hiring a team of professionals would be very costly. Plus, you may not be able to fully utilize them at the beginning. You would be overpaying for services that you could get online for free. People have created a lot of tools to help others with their work. Many of these tools offer a free tier, which is more than sufficient for the needs of a startup. Once your company and its needs grow, you can upgrade to a higher (paid) tier. Plus, there are so many low-code and no-code applications, especially designed for non-technical startups. You could easily create a prototype of your product without worrying about coding it yourself. There must be an easy no-code app which would do it for you. This is a massive benefit for non-technical startups and a great way for them to save a lot of money.

As you can see, there are many ways for you to be successful as a non-technical startup. Knowing how to be proactive and avoiding major spending traps will help your business. You will be more competitive if you put in the work and use the most cost-efficient procedures and technology. A product that would be beneficial to startups would be Simply Flows because it can automate your busywork. Rather than hiring someone to do the job, you could utilize this product to do it for you. Click here to find out more on how Simply Flows can help your small business thrive.

Which of Bain’s 30 Elements of Value are Important to your Customers?

Companies can succeed in many different ways. However, increasing the perceived value of their products and services is by far the most impactful tool they can utilize. Bain’s 30 Elements of Value introduce fundamental attributes companies can choose from, combine, and deliver into their offerings. The right combination of values results in stronger customer satisfaction and loyalty. Furthermore, delivering more value accounts for a steady revenue growth, according to the research.

What are the 30 Elements of Value?

The authors of the model have combined three decades of experience doing consumer research at Bain & Company to identify 30 elements of value. Their model extends Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs’. They have arranged the elements into a pyramid: ‘functional’ at the bottom, ’emotional’, then ‘life changing’, and ‘social impact’ at the top.

  • Some functional elements are: ‘saves time’, ‘makes money’, ‘simplifies’, ‘reduces risk’, ‘connects’, ‘reduces effort’, ‘quality’, ‘reduces cost’.
  • Examples of emotional elements are: ‘reduces anxiety’, ‘rewards me’, ‘nostalgia’, ‘provides access’, ‘fun/entertainment’, ‘wellness’.
  • Life changing attributes are: ‘motivation’, ‘provides hope’, ‘affiliation and belonging’, ‘heirloom’.
  • ‘Self-transcendence’ is the only element at the top of the pyramid.

The attributes have different relevance depending on demographics, culture, and industry. For example, people value cost, variety, quality, and rewards when grocery shopping. At the same time, they appreciate reduced anxiety when buying an auto insurance.

How to Choose the Right Element(s)?

To decide on the right combination of elements, businesses may try to figure out which ones are the most important. Should they aim at the ones at the top more so than the elements at the bottom? Could they be successful by focusing on the functional elements only? Bain’s research answers these questions.

It turns out that perceived quality matters the most. Even more surprisingly, no other elements can compensate the lack of quality. After ‘quality’, the next most significant attributes depend on industry. For example, ‘variety’ is second for grocery and apparel retail, while ‘provides access’ is the second most important for consumer banking.

Another interesting finding is that customers believe they receive more value from digital than brick-and-mortar businesses.

Which Values to Focus On?

Start by looking at the elements important to your industry. Then evaluate your performance on those attributes relative to your competitors. If you find a weakness, that is the element to focus on first.

Next, consider adding a new element, aligned with your brand and capabilities. Adding value has a huge revenue growth potential.

Last but not least, ensure that leadership is well aligned with the values the business delivers. A leader from the organization should be appointed to monitor and holistically manage the elements of value crucial to the company success.

elements of value

Explore more of the Bain’s Elements of Value via their interactive graphic here.

Learn how Simply Flows brings important elements of value to life.

Why Digital Startups had an Upper Hand

Insights from Statista’s Digital Economy Compass 2020

Moving to a Digital Setting 

Before COVID-19, the world was slowly adapting to a more digital environment. However, most companies still neglected their digital marketing strategies. Many organizations focused solely on promoting the in-person experience and did not try to improve their online business. When COVID-19 hit, companies that did not have a well-developed digital marketing strategy were ill-prepared for this drastic change, and many struggled to keep up. However, internet-based companies benefitted from this change. Even more interesting to note is that digital startups performed very well in this new environment. The pandemic exacerbated the digital transformation, thus creating opportunities for digital startups to be successful right from the start.

Digital Startups
Startups Stronger During the Pandemic

It’s not easy for a startup when it first enters the market, and a global pandemic never helps. This was not the case for digital startups. According to Statista’s “Digital Economy Compass,” many startups, such as gaming, blockchain and crypto, and social media, to name a few, did not suffer when they entered the market. In fact, there was only a -14% change in revenue for blockchain and crypto companies, while companies in traditional industries had a loss of income between -39% to -70%. Being a startup in the digital economy during the pandemic did not severely harm revenues. Companies would more than likely become more profitable over a short span of time.

Remaining Digital 

We were all looking for new things to do once the pandemic hit. Due to the lockdowns, we turned to the digital environment for everything. Work, learning, shopping, entertainment–all switched to being done online almost overnight. The pandemic fast-forwarded the inevitable future. Now, these digital companies need to keep up with their strategy to be even more profitable. We will continue to go online for most of our needs, and businesses need to stay competitive. The startups which were born digital, navigate the digital economy much easier and that is giving them the upper hand. If these organizations can continue adapting to the ever-changing environment, they will not only hold their standing in the market but outperform their peers.

Learn more about Simply Flows, a startup that entered into the digital economy during the pandemic.

Simply Flows among the ‘Startups to Watch in 2021’


Excited news! Simply Flows has been featured as one of the 15 startups to watch in 2021! Startup Grind has selected us among the companies accelerating and making an impact in their industries.

We are grateful and honored by this recognition! Startup Grind is a global community helping founders to realize their dreams. They provide various learning opportunities at conferences and summits. Also, they pair founders with mentors, assist in finding co-founders or other team members. Furthermore, they facilitate introductions to investors and networking opportunities. They hold various other local and global events throughout the year. It has been a pleasure to be part of such an active and helpful community of like-minded ‘grinders’. Therefore, we are super delighted to participate in their Accelerate Program. According to Startup Grind, the program showcases ‘a carefully curated collection of startups that are working tirelessly to reimagine the world around us.’


startups to watch in 2021

Simply Flows is the streamlining platform that will transform your business. This no-code, secure cloud platform connects applications, automates labor-intensive tasks, and is entirely self-service to make your day easier. Manual data processing is a thing of the past, and with their flow technology, errors are eliminated altogether. Simply Flows makes life easier, and with their instant notifications, it’s sure to change the way you do business.’


Read more about the 15 startups to watch in 2021 here.


We are so excited for this opportunity. That is why the date of the summit, 9/15/2021, cannot come soon enough!


Sign up today to try Simply Flows out!

25% of the $500M NJ Innovation Fund for Female Businesses Owners

NJ Innovation Fund dedicated to women-led startups. How awesome is that?

NJ Innovation Evergreen Fund

25% of the $500M NJ Innovation Evergreen Fund (NJIEF) will go to women-owned businesses. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) has set this extraordinary goal.

This Fund, created out of the Economic Recovery Act, aims to reclaim New Jersey’s innovation leadership role.

Tim Sullivan, CEO of NJEDA, shared this information during a conversation with Aaron Price, President & CEO of TechUnited:NJ. At the end of the webinar, I asked the question I’m sure every female entrepreneur was thinking of:

‘In 2019, only 2.8% of venture capital went to women-owned businesses. How do you plan to correct for that?’

The answer was more than I’d expected. NJEDA’s goal is to give one-forth of the money to female-owned businesses. Indeed, a ten-fold increase over the current average and quite a whopping sum of $125M!

How does it work?

The New Jersey Innovation Evergreen Fund was created as a partnership with the private sector. It will raise and invest money in companies based in New Jersey. The problem it solves is the shortage of venture capital funding in the state. Therefore, its mission is to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem and to facilitate innovation and success for the NJ business.

Qualified venture firms will purchase tax credits to invest in innovation programs. Then, qualified businesses in innovative industries will receive funding. Also, the NJEDA will give dividends and returns on investments back to the Fund. As explained by Mr. Sullivan, that is how the Fund will become self-sustaining or ‘evergreen.’

In the meantime, there are some policy and regulations changes still being worked out. But once out of the way, the program will start rolling out and, hopefully getting traction.

What businesses would qualify?

  • Companies operating in New Jersey.
  • Entities with less than 250 employees.
  • Businesses from targeted industries. Targeted industries are, for example, autonomous and zero-emission vehicles, clean energy, information and high-tech, etc. In addition, ‘other innovative industries that disrupt current technologies or business models’ could also make the list.

Indeed, it is super exciting to know that female-owned companies can apply and get $125M of the NJIEF. Women-entrepreneurs, watch out for the program’s rollout in the fall of 2021!