Starting and growing a business can be difficult regardless of the country’s economic status. This difficulty, however, doesn’t prevent the over half a million businesses that open their doors every year. Unfortunately, many people just don’t have the capital to start their own business. There are people who save up money to start their own business and don’t ever feel that they have enough to get off of the ground, but in many cases they are wrong. There are actually several ways to start and maintain a business on a shoestring budget.
1 Don’t Hire Companies for Things you can Do Yourself
Many new business owners believe that they need to hire professional companies to handle several of their needs. This really isn’t necessary for things such as websites, business cards or marketing content when a budding entrepreneur first starts out. All of these things can be done for free by the business owner, and they can even find free advice on accomplishing these tasks online. These things may not be as aesthetically pleasing as the ones procured from other companies, but this can be worried about when income starts rolling in.
2 Hire Independent Contractors vs Employees
If a company needs workers other than the owner when first starting off, it is advisable to work with contractors instead of paid employees. Contractors can do all of the work a regular employee can do, but they will only get paid for the work that they complete, even if business is slow. Contractors also don’t require office space and the relationship with them can be ended quickly if necessary.
3 Offer Free Stuff for Reviews
Positive online reviews always generate more business for a company. Offering current clients free stuff for leaving reviews on sites such as Google + Local and Yelp is definitely worth the investment. This will also keep current customers excited about the business.
4 Cloud Computing
The invention of cloud computing not only makes it easy to access information from anywhere; it can also reduce a business’s bottom line. According to cloud service provider, QTS, this service eliminates the need for extensive amounts of on-site virtual storage space. Many cloud computing providers also allow their customers to access software from their servers; this means a business owner can use software via the cloud that would usually cost them an arm and a leg. According to QTS, there are also a wide variety of free cloud apps that can help business owners accomplish their objectives such Google docs, Dropbox and Zendesk.
5 Use Less Space
While this may seem like an obvious tip, there are many people who don’t realize just how little office space they really need. Hiring contractors and employees that can work from home can eliminate the need for an office altogether. The Wall Street Journal posted an article called ‘Starting on a Shoestring’ that recommended checking with other businesses about leasing shared office space if an office is absolutely essential. This will save a ton of money in the long run.
6 Pay Only For What is Used
The aforementioned Wall Street Journal article also suggested that a business owner only pay for what they use. Some web hosting companies, for instance, will only charge a user for the server space that they actually utilize. A new business may not need twenty gigabytes of data storage for their website, so they shouldn’t have to pay for it. The aforementioned use of contractors is also a great example of only paying for things when they are needed.
7 Use Free Services Whenever Possible
There are several marketing tools that can help a business build traffic and grow, and best of all absolutely free. Social media sites, for instance, can be used to garner fans who will often re-post content that a business adds to their page. Websites such as Yahoo Local and YP.com also allow a business owner to create a page with all of their business’s information on it; which can help market the company and the website. Any type of free service that can be obtained should definitely be utilized.
Starting a business is a complex process full of pitfalls and successes. Luckily, it isn’t necessary to have huge amounts of capital and top industry investors to get off of the ground. The rough economy has actually made it easier to start a business in some respects; this is due to the fact that other companies will likely offer their services to start ups at reduced prices just to get in business with them. Anyone who can manage to mitigate their start-up and marketing expenses will be far more likely to succeed in the business world.
Have you started a business with little to no capital? Please share tips you might have in the comment box below
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/59937401@N07/5856886727/