Getting a new small business rolling has its challenges. There’s advertising, rent and even employees to think about. When you go behind the scenes, however, you might think that perhaps the easiest part is putting together the office supplies you’ll need. If you’re not careful, they can add up quickly. After you’ve decided whether you’ll be running the business from a home office or a bona fide storefront, you should go ahead and set up shop.
1. You can spend a fortune by buying a lot of fancy paper, personalized pens and organizers. You don’t need to. If you’re a start-up small business, these can be bought at a discount store, so you’ll spend less.
2. Get started by making a list of all the things you’ll need, then order them on line and pick them up at the store. This saves you time and money.
3. Buying items in bulk is another option. Stick to the inexpensive office supplies that you know you’ll need over time – paper products, sticky notes, pens and the like.
4. One of the hidden costs in running a small business is keeping the store or office clean. Pick up cleaning supplies that can be used on multiple surfaces. You’ll also need items like sponges, microfiber towels and dish liquid. Yes, even keeping your coffee cup clean leads to expenses.
5. If you’re running your business out of a storefront, it will be easier to keep track of items that you can write off on your taxes. Be sure to keep the receipts. If you’re working out of your home, make a conscious effort to keep the business and personal expenses separate for tax purposes. It will be easier in the long run.
6. Whether your office space is at home or in a brick-and-mortar store, set up a separate office area. Choose a room that can be locked up and secured when you’re not in it. This is important not only for Health Insurance Portability and Privacy Act (HIPPA) reasons, but also for basic security.
7. Use organizers like file folders, CD storage cases, translucent plastic storage containers and stackable plastic bins. It will help you keep your space neat and clean so you can get more work done. It can also prevent items from growing feet and walking out the door.
8. Think in terms of necessity. Convenience is nice, but you can really run up your expenses with the latest, the quickest and the coolest in office supplies. Keep the list simple and frugal.
9. If you’re planning on sending out products to your customers, you’ll need boxes, envelopes, packing tape and other shipping supplies.
10. Expect the unexpected. With a new business, there will always be things you need but don’t have. There will also be things that you have but don’t need. Be flexible and carefully consider your everyday items.
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Nikki is an independent writer for DollarTree.com. Dollar Tree offers great deals on office supplies, party supplies and more.