Clever ways to keep costs down when starting up your own company.
So, you’re considering launching your own company? Having your own business venture will give you somewhere to focus your time and energy and the prospect of seeing a healthy return on your investment is rather exciting too. Shows like Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice may lead us to believe that a considerable sum of money is required for a successful startup, but that’s not necessarily true. Here are seven top tips for launching a business while on a budget.
1. Utilize your skills
This may seem like an obvious one, but starting a business in a sector where you have interest and expertise is always going to set you in good stead. Also, consider that your business could be service-based rather than product-based as this will keep your overhead costs to an absolute minimum. If you’re a dab hand in the garden, for example, why not offer your gardening and landscaping skills locally? Or perhaps your career was in finance, so you are able to pitch yourself as a bookkeeper.
2. Seek out investment
You can definitely start a company on your own with only a small amount of capital behind you, however if you have a more ambitious business plan or are very short on startup funds, there are many ways of gaining a little helping hand. Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Crowdfunder are great tools – they are platforms for you to pitch your idea on in order to receive funding from friends, family and other unknown investors, which will eventually help you to launch your business. You could also look into the possibility of government schemes and local funding being able to assist you.
3. Make mutual business deals
A major way to save on costs is by organising trade-offs with other businesses – this move will require you to be quite pro-active and maybe even a little bit brazen, but it’s true when they say ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’. Let’s imagine you’re setting up your own B&B and you contact the local paper to invite them to come and review your facilities. If they say yes, they will be getting a lovely complimentary stay and you will be getting some free advertising – win, win. Or perhaps if you know somebody who’s good at website design, you can get them to design your site for you in exchange for use of your services.
4. Advertise for free
As a startup, you might not have the funds for traditional forms of advertising, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t advertise. Exploit the powers of free promotion through social media. Social media users make up 37% of the entire world population and total 2.8 billion people worldwide, so that’s the place to get your brand noticed. Set up pages on any social media sites that are relevant to your target market and offer discounts and giveaways to gain new followers straight away. Also, it’s important not to forget the power of word of mouth – tell your friends and family about your new business venture and get them to spread to the word!
5. Acquire a sponsor
Start by making a list of brands that you affiliate with and think up ways that you could promote their brand. This could be in the form of banners on your website or marketing signs at events. You can even suggest promoting their products – for example, if you own a tutoring service, you could team up with a local bookstore. If you send your students there for books, they may be able to offer initial sponsorship to help your business get off the ground.
6. Minimize waste
From packaging to printing, you need to be savvy with your resources because the small things can quickly add up. A good way to save money (and help the environment) is by going paperless. Many companies and consumers are used to e-correspondence now, so why not eliminate as much printed material as you can? Also, it’s worth considering dropshipping – this is where a retailer doesn’t have a shop or warehouse and the products go directly from the supplier to the buyer. By using this method of shipping, you won’t have to rent out a warehouse or pay for packaging, meaning you will save a substantial amount.
7. Budget branding
The great news is, creating coherent business branding can be done with minimal cost. There are so many websites out there for reasonably priced business cards – you’ll be sure to find great deals on Vistaprint, and the same goes for logos on Logo Shuffle and Logo Shines. Remember to create a consistent brand image, which means using the same logos and brand colours across all of your commercial channels and social networks. The next step is getting it out there into the world for potential consumers to see – this can mean placing it on your work clothing and even your vehicles so that your logo becomes locally recognised.
Now you’re all set with the advice you need to start a business the frugal way, it’s time to take the plunge and become the entrepreneur you’ve always dreamt of being. Who knows, you may just be able to fund an early retirement.
This is a contributed post to Leisure Freak by the awesome author Kayleigh Alexandra.
Passionate about writing for the startup and entrepreneurial audience, I love to share my insight into the world of ecommerce and digital marketing. I hope to inspire others to start their own journeys and share their stories. Find me at MicroStartups.