When it comes to running a small business, one of the biggest challenges is knowing how to spend money. There are plenty of other obstacles, of course (such as cultivating a brand image, devising a marketing strategy, or assembling the right team structure), but the fundamental issue of budgeting will inevitably affect everything. Consider the awkward setup phase that has traditionally called for massive upfront investment. It’s a huge risk that piles on the pressure.
Over the years, though, alternative budgeting options have become extremely popular — and there’s one model that currently dominates. Buoyed by the growth of the internet, subscription services have infiltrated every corner of the business world, taking away upfront costs to allow more flexibility while also letting providers make more money in the long run.
But seeing the value in subscription services isn’t difficult. What can be difficult is knowing which subscription services to use. There are so many out there, after all, and they range massively in what they bring to the table. In this post, we’re going to look at some of the key subscription services that small businesses can benefit from. Let’s get started.
Even before the world had to contend with a pandemic, the classic office model was on its last legs. Businesses everywhere were starting to see the value in using coworking spaces instead: they could have the rooms and desks they needed without having to spend massively or deal with furnishings, and have valuable opportunities to work around experts from other fields. The major benefit of any subscription-based service is flexibility, and these days, people have choices when it comes to how they want to work. Flexible office space providers offer a list of options to choose from ranging from full-time offices, to part-time virtual office plans, drop-in open coworking memberships, and All Access Passes that allow work-from-home and remote professionals the ability to choose where they want to work on any given day.
But that isn’t all startups can get from moving with the times. They can also take advantage of the various services offered as part of flexible office space subscriptions such as mail management, live answering services, and access to professional meeting rooms with high-tech features like Zoom Rooms Video Conferencing.
All of these things and more can be offered as part of the Workplace-as-a-Service model (WaaS). The more tasks you can leave to the company overseeing your workplace, the more you can focus on your core business goals. It’s a fantastic way to reduce your day-to-day responsibilities and get more done with the time you have.
While some small business owners try to take full control of their finances, figuring them out manually as they go, that approach rarely goes well. There’s simply too much to do, too much to know, and not enough time to get up to speed with the principles before major mistakes are made. This is why it’s best to turn to subscriptions for support.
There are two vital areas to accommodate: account management, and billing management. Accounting, as the name suggests, is all about getting and keeping your business accounts in order, while billing is about nailing the process of charging your customers. There are broad financial solutions geared towards startups that can handle most things (invoices, taxes, payroll, etc.), so you should start in that area.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to supplement a core financial solution with something more specifically suited to your model. If you sell subscriptions instead of products, for instance, you may want subscription management software. In particular, the process of subscription billing can be awkward to get right using all-purpose software, so it can help massively to use something more targeted.
IT equipment provisions
Laptops capable of handling high-level business tasks are expensive — and the more people you hire, the more laptops you’ll need. And that’s just the start. After that, you need to factor in numerous peripherals: keyboards, mice, monitors, headsets, etc. You could buy these things in bulk and absorb the cost, but what happens after a year when some of those items start to feel unfit for purpose? IT demands shift quickly, and value plummets.
It’s ultimately far better to use an IT equipment provision service. Instead of buying the laptops, you pay to lease them for set periods. When they break down or you run into general IT issues, you can turn to the provider for support. And when they eventually fall too far behind the tech curve to be useful, they can simply be swapped out for newer models under the terms of your subscription agreement.
Note that this gives you tremendous flexibility for hiring (and firing). If someone joins your company, you can get them the equipment they need without having to spend hugely — and if someone leaves, you can get the cost of their equipment off your books almost immediately.
Part of running a business is ensuring that all agreements and processes are properly (note: legally) documented. All respectable prospects will require proper documentation for their consideration and records. And while it might seem easy to produce legally-binding documents, there’s a lot that goes into it — and a lot that can be missed if you’re not an expert.
To address this, you can hire an in-house legal professional and task them with managing your documentation process, but that’s going to be an expensive move. Instead, try using a service that makes it easy to produce watertight documents and have them signed from afar (highly convenient during times of social distancing).
A good electronic signature service will save you so much time and effort, but more importantly, it’ll allow you to establish a highly-professional brand with a strong reputation. And if you ever run into legal confusion, you can call upon that service provider to support your position and steer you in the right direction.
The advantages of these key subscription services offer endless growth opportunities for your small business. What subscription services has your businesses benefitted from?
To learn more about the Workplace-as-a-Service™ subscription model, check out Pacific Workplaces.