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As a start up entrepreneur it’s natural to want to make your new enterprise look as big and as successful as possible. This is because we live in a time when corporations and big companies seem powerful and more trustworthy. Times are changing, though, and it really is in your best interests to maintain your independent status for as long as possible.

The easiest way to do this is to conserve space. Working in a smaller space is cheaper and helps you maintain your “indie street cred,” particularly in cities like New York, Seattle or Chicago where property costs – even to renters and leasers – is astronomical. To save as much money as possible, try one of the following options:

1. Work from home, but employ a virtual office to upgrade your professionalism. Working out of your garage endears you to your buyers and clients and makes you look dedicated and innovative. Google, Microsoft and Apple are all companies that started in someone’s garage. Virtual office space, though gives you a professional mailing address for your business and access to meeting and conference spaces when you need them.

2. Buy cube or office space in a coworking space or loft (such as Guild in Chicago). These spaces look, on the surface, like any other cubicle or professional environment. The main difference, though, is that each cube and office belongs to an entirely different business. These spaces are available for much less than traditional office space but give you the same benefits that come from working in an office: professional mailing address, meeting spaces, break rooms and “coworkers” that you can talk to and bounce ideas off of.

If you truly require office space to call your own – you’ll want to economize on space to save money. Don’t splurge for an expansive loft when the smaller single office with receptionist area will do the job just fine. Remember: save money now so you don’t have as much to make up for in your profits later. And, thanks to the affordable rate of Chicago storage units (and units in other cities) you don’t have to worry about cluttering up your office with extra supplies or files that you only need access to every few months.

There are, of course, other ways to reduce your overhead. Using Skype or Google Voice and forwarding the calls to your cell phone instead of buying an entirely new phone plan is one suggestion. You can also buy office supplies in bulk from a discount outlet or install “green” technology to reduce your energy costs. Also, working with freelancers and independent contractors so that you only pay for the work that is actually done (as opposed to an employee who might spend all day playing games on Facebook) is one of the best options.

People are more sympathetic to startups and indie businesses and you will be more attractive to investors if you don’t try to pretend to be bigger than you are. Pretending to be bigger than you are costs a lot of money – money that you may or may not recoup.

Article contributed by Jenna Smith



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