If you dream of running your own business but have a limited budget, don’t despair! There are ways you can get your venture off the ground without a big bank loan or support from relatives. Here are a few tips on how to start your own business with little to no money:
Work from Home
Working from home rather than investing in office space is an ideal way to save money as you start your business. Try to create a dedicated workspace. This will make you more organised and help you to switch off from work at the end of the day. Alternatively, if you have a little bit of money and don’t find working from home conducive, find an office sharing facility where you can rent a desk rather than an entire office. Retailers may also be able to find shared space at local venues.
Keep your Day Job
If you’re still at college but have some free time, now is the perfect opportunity to start working on your business venture. If you’re already at work but don’t have any money to invest in your new business, it’s a good idea to keep working for as long as possible. Use your lunch breaks, evenings and weekends to work on your business idea. And save some of your salary to fund it.
Choose a Business Carefully
Some businesses require more initial investment than others. Businesses which operate with a lot of stock require storage and if you have to deal directly with your customers you’ll need a shop front, which can be expensive. If you love the idea of working for yourself but don’t have a fixed business idea in mind, consider prospects with low initial overheads. For instance, freelancing as a writer or graphic designer only requires a computer, an internet connection and some software. Or setting up a cleaning business, like 1300 Rubbish, just requires some insurance and cleaning products.
Don’t Opt for Bricks and Mortar Right Away
A bricks and mortar residence for your business – be it an office, a retail outlet or a workshop – costs a considerable amount in terms of rent, utilities and insurance. If you can avoid it, try to keep your business online to begin with. With a good website, you can tell customers all about your product or services and even sell to them, too. Not only do you save money on premises, you’ll also open your business up to customers from all over the country, not just those walking by your door.
Use Online Platforms
A great website is a cornerstone of any good business. But if your budget won’t stretch to what you’re looking for, consider whether an existing online platform could do the job in the meantime. eBay, Shopify and Etsy are good options for retailers, Airbnb could work if you’re setting up as an accommodation provider, and freelancer platforms are great if you want to find work without a strong online presence.
If you’re running a tight budget, it’s unlikely that you’re going to want to spend hundreds on a big marketing campaign. But you still need to get your company name out there. Make the most of social media. Develop a presence on a number of platforms and use them to engage with potential customers and share information about your company. A well-maintained Facebook page can even work in lieu of a business website.
Setting up your own business with little to no money requires a lot of dedication and resourcefulness. As you develop your business and begin to make some money, invest back into the company. That way you can work towards having the office or the website or the marketing budget that will take your business to the next level.
This article was contributed by guest author Melanie Saunders.