1. Custom websites
Often we are drawn into the concept of custom websites as we think they will make our life easier, and whilst this can be true, there are many great companies offering template-based solutions for a variety of sites now that will keep a small business’ costs down while they’re learning what they need in a site.
2. Non-Measurable Marketing, Advertising & PR
One of the biggest money wasters is hiring a PR, marketing or advertising firm to help get the word out in which performance is not easily measurable and the firm is not held accountable whatsoever to performance. Note, this is not to say don't hire them as they can often save you significant amounts of money, just ensure that you do so in a way whereby you can monitor their contributions to the business. If the contribution brought about is not significant enough then it's time to look for help elsewhere.
3. Office space
This one comes in two forms, the first applies to businesses who are still in the early stages of development. Renting office space is a significant cost and can often be avoided if you can work from home, where this is not possible try a work-space or public library. Thanks to technology virtual workplaces can function efficiently. The second form of this argument applies to larger businesses who often over-spend on fancy new offices with features that are completely overlooked by employees. By all means, invest in a comfortable workplace as this definitely has been proven to increase employee productivity, just don't go forking out on chandeliers.
4. Human capital
During the early stages of business growth it can often be a huge waste of money to hire employees. This can be for many reasons, besides the direct wage costs, there are also high fees associated with HR and training. One way to get around this issue is to hire unpaid interns who are a free source of help, allowing entrepreneurs to learn the process of delegation in a way which will not have significant financial implications on the business. Not only do they cost virtually nothing, they can often bring a fresh outlook to the business, something which is not always possible for individuals who have been working within that industry for a significant period of time.
5. Hire sensibly
With the above being said, if you are looking to hire, don't compromise talent for the sake of a few dollars. Often it can be worth spending a little bit more on an individual who is passionate, knowledgeable and hard working, you will soon see them giving back to you by several times their initial cost.
6. Fancy software
When launching a small business, one of the biggest money wasters is to purchase databases and complex software. You simply cannot take full advantage of complex software until you're in the thick of it, and in addition to this, the time you spend trying to understand the software can be costly to the business. Sometimes an Excel spreadsheet will suffice until you can isolate your exact software needs, remember the software is not going anywhere and you can always purchase it at a later date.