Running a business is always going to be a costly and time consuming challenge. Unfortunately even startup business owners need to save money for emergencies and other unexpected expenses.

This can be very difficult considering most small business owners have put everything they have into their business venture.

Save For a Rainy Day

Fortunately there are several ways a business owner can start setting money to the side, while still efficiently running their business.

1. Don’t Go All Out On Office Furniture

Of course any business that has a waiting area needs to have presentable furniture in that area, but this rule does not apply to back of the house jobs.

Offices where workers go but customers are forbidden can use furniture bought from surplus stores or secondhand stores.

Furniture that no one will see besides employees doesn’t have to look luxurious. It really shouldn’t matter what employees think their desk looks like either; they are supposed to impress the boss, not vice versa.

2. Open-Source Software

No matter what computer program is needed to help run a business there is likely a free version of it on the Internet.

Skype, Open Office, and Teraterm are all free software programs (freeware) that accomplish the job of several other expensive programs.

If a corporately priced software program is not absolutely necessary, then using freeware can save a company hundreds of dollars that can go into the rainy day fund.

3. Market Yourself

Most owners see marketing as a huge part of their business’s growth, and they are absolutely right. This doesn’t mean that an expensive marketing firm must be hired.

There are several methods a business can use to run its own marketing campaign. Search engine optimization (SEO), for instance, can cost hundreds of dollars a month just to help a business work its way up in the search engines.

What these companies don’t let people know is that the best SEO methods, rules, and practices are all available absolutely free on the internet.

After reading a few pages online an owner could be fully capable of optimizing his website for search engines on his own.

4. Work From Home

Business owners who have the option to work from home probably already do so, but this rule even applies to owners who have their own business location.

With certain small businesses there are going to be times when it is unnecessary to go into the office.

During these times it is smart to stay home. Going into the office unnecessarily ends up costing gas money, electricity, time, and energy. If working from home, even for a day, is an option then that is what the owner should do.

5. Become Energy Efficient

Even though touting the merits of energy efficiency seems to be beating a dead horse, it is still worth mentioning. Just replacing regular light bulbs with compact florescent bulbs will save seventy-five percent on lighting bills.

These light bulbs will also far outlast any conventional bulb. Other energy efficient methods include taking advantage of natural light and turning off lights when not in use, and these methods can save on energy costs as well.

In the end, being energy efficient will not show an immediate huge return, but over the course of time it will end up saving a company plenty of money.

6. Outsource Your Work

Outsourcing doesn’t mean sending jobs overseas in every context. In fact most small business owners would probably lose money just trying to accomplish this.

Outsourcing to college students is a quick way to get competent work at a great price. Sites like Craigslist allow businesses to post internship opportunities for local students. Some colleges will even allow a company to post an internship on their student job board.

You can even find internships where students work for free just for the experience, so this is a great area in which a business owner can save on employee salaries.

Any small business needs to save as much money as possible to be successful. Every dollar an owner saves is money that can be put aside for a rainy day.

If anything unexpected comes up that requires a little additional money, a smart business owner will be well equipped to handle the issue if they took a few steps to prepare themselves.