With the job market being scarce, many people are trying to find a way to start a small business on a shoestring budget to supplement their income. If done properly, it can indeed be a viable option for making more money.
First and foremost, you need to strike a balance between trying to choose a business that won’t require office space, stocked inventory, or expensive equipment if possible. But it should have the ability to generate revenue rather fast. That’s the ideal balance anyway.
Funds – How much money do you have to invest in your startup? Be as realistic as possible and start off with a rough draft of expected expenses and revenue. Also decipher if you have a backup plan should things not go according to plan as is usually the case for one reason or another. Try to avoid borrowing if at all possible. It’s easy to get carried away and want to buy all things big and small but hold off on the items that you really don’t need to get started. You can always add them later after you are up and going strong for a few months.
Location – Using your home is ideal, when possible, because office and retail space tends to be expensive. But it is important to check with the zoning office in your area because each state varies in restrictions and guidelines for operating a business from your home.
Online, Offline or Both – Will your business be operational only online? If so, a web host and domain are the two most important things you will need. You can purchase hosting for as low as $10 a month a domain name for less than $15 a year. Most people are drawn to using a blog platform such as WordPress for their site and there are thousands upon thousands of free templates available for you to use. Will you need to accept credit cards online? That doesn’t have to be a complicated task like years past; in fact, it’s easier than ever to add a payment process to your website. Mobile readers are making the process easier and easier, they can even attach to your iPhone
Promotion & Marketing – Business cards are most important – give one out everywhere you go. Vistaprint.com is a great source for free and affordable business cards.
Furniture & Equipment – If starting your business with a small office you may already have the majority of items needed but this will be determined by the type of business you are starting. If your business is operated full online you will need standard office items which can be found at thrift stores and also Craig’s List. Try to get only what you really need and hold off on the extras until later if possible.
Inventory – Stocking inventory makes things slightly more complicated if you are trying to start on a shoestring budget and keep your costs down. Research affiliate options, wholesalers and companies that will drop ship the item on your behalf.
Starting a business – big or small – on a shoestring budget or with excess funds – requires sacrifice and hard work if you want it to be successful and that is the plan. Network in your chosen field and try to barter services where possible. If you design website perhaps you can barter with someone that does SEO. Join likeminded groups and share and discuss as much as you can which can equate to saving money in more than one way – from knowing where to get the best products to what companies are the best to work with and everything in between.
This is a guest post by Gabrielle Green of Tips on How to Save Money. Her friends often refer to her a “Gaby Gabs a Lot,” especially if it has anything to do with freebies and saving money! As the mom of two teenage girls, being frugal is an absolute must. It tends to drive her husband crazy, but oddly he doesn’t complain when the coupons are for golfing.