How to start a business on a small budget
Many of us dream of one day starting our own business. We have a good idea and we have the hunger to make it work. But we never get around to realizing our vision. Why? A common stumbling blocks is money. We think it’ll cost a fortune to bring our dream to life. But if your idea is sound and your appetite for success is insatiable, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from getting started on a budget.
Crowdsource your logo
Chances are you’re going to need a good logo before you start selling anything and digital signage is an important first step in legitimizing your endeavor. While logos can be expensive investments, the good news is that there are dozens of crowdsourcing platforms that will give you plenty of choice at a good price.
With a website like 99designs, you write out a brief. Then, competing designers give you their take on what your logo should look like. After a week, submissions are closed, and you choose the design you like best. You then pay the winning artist. If the final price seems steep, you can always head over to a website like fiverr. Here you can pick up a logo for as little a $5, but the quality won’t be as good.
Partner with someone
When you’re small and strapped for cash, a partnership can be the difference-maker. Go into business with someone who shares your passion for the project but offers a complimentary set of skills. And always be upfront about what you expect your partner to deliver. Communication is often the number one reason relationships in business break down.
Cash-flow is king
Ask any fledgling business owner their number one worry and they’ll likely say cash-flow. Cash-flow is the bane of any small business. To overcome it? Specify upfront payments of 50% or more, and be sure to keep enough in the kitty for clients that are slow to pay that invoice.
Build a website on Wordpress
Almost every modern business benefits from a website. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Wordpress is your go-to option: a powerful, customizable tool that takes care of the coding work and offers thousands of themes to make your site beautiful.
Wordpress themes run the gamut, and almost all of them scale across mobile phones and different computer screens. Plus, if your aim is to start selling only online, there are “plugins” that will add a shopping basket feature to your site. Check out a few good options here.
Work from home
You don’t need an expensive office to run a business, and many entrepreneurs are discovering the benefits of setting up shop in their own home.
The world’s greatest entrepreneurs often rose from a humble milieu - be it a garage or garden shed - to make it big.
Worried about meeting clients? Simply rent an office by the hour in a co-working to keep up appearances.
Thanks to sites like Upwork, you don’t need to hire full-time staff. Simply browse talented freelancers advertising their wares or post an ad specifying what you need and you could be on the way to a beneficial working relationship within hours.
Give product away in lieu of payment
If you’re bringing a new product to market, a good tactic is to pay people in stock. Sure, it’s not a long-term solution (you can’t get away with it forever) but it doesn’t hurt to ask while you’re finding your feet. And if you want a magazine or media house to write about you, fire off a mail offering the product delivered to their door.
You’ll be amazed what you can get simply by keeping your expectations high and being prepared to ask for it. It pays to be picky when money is tight.
Remember, if you’re going to start a business from scratch, what it needs most of all is time. There’s no such thing as an overnight success. It takes energy, perseverance and a passion for the project at hand. But in the end? It’s one of those life-affirming decisions you’ll likely never regret.