Starting your own business can seem like an intimidating task, but it doesn’t have to be. Many business owners created something from small beginnings. It all starts with a good idea and some gumption to make something great happen. There is always a risk involved with trying a new venture. However, as the saying goes nothing ventured, nothing gained. Focus on the big picture and begin to create your vision. When the financial resources are not available, you need to think outside the box and get creative to use what you have. If you follow some simple steps, you can start a business on a small budget.
# 1 Write out your goals and create a business plan
This does not have to be professionally edited since you’re not showing this to investors. You’re creating this plan for your own purposes in the beginning. Once things are off the ground and your business grows, you can take the plan to your local Score small business assistance office for a free review and counseling advice. Inc. has a helpful article on how to create a business budget. When you are ready to get your business name incorporated or legalised, Legal Zoom is a great resource to utilise as they offer personalised assistance.
# 2 Use the resources at your disposal
Start your small business out of your home. You don’t have to put out money to rent a facility. If you’re starting a freelance writing or consulting business, working from home will suffice. If you need to meet with clients and don’t want them to come to your home office, meet with them at a local café or coffee shop. A good majority of people have Internet in their homes. However, if you don’t have that, start working from a local café that offers free Wi-Fi or visit your local library. If you’re starting a catering business or bakery, there is nothing wrong with starting small out of your home kitchen.
- For example, a local Pennsylvania business owner, Taria L. Dean of T’s Tasty Tater Salad, Inc. began her potato salad business out of her home. She started small and has seen success. They’re currently looking into renting a bigger facility.
# 3 Utilize your current skillset
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Use the skills that you have to create a business. Think about things that people need, not necessarily what they want to buy. Can you meet the need and in turn create a business opportunity.
- For example, one idea that my husband is tossing around is to make homemade tomato sauce and sell it first locally and to those we know than to expand to stores. Are you skilled at editing or web design? Are you bilingual? Do you know how to sew? Think about your skillset and utilise that in your new business start-up.
# 4 Use wisdom in your billing
Don’t make the mistake of settling for unpaid invoices and customers or clients trying to get out of paying for your products or work. Doing something pro bono for a family member or friend is fine to build up your portfolio. However, that’s not going to pay the bills. As you are just starting out, you can ask clients to pay you upfront for projects. The second best scenario is to ask for half payment upfront and the other half at the completion.
- NCH Software is available for free download. This invoicing system is compatible with the following systems: Windows, Mac, iPad, Android and Kindle. You can create invoices and orders quickly. You can also automate recurring invoices and easily add multiple users and enable remote access. PayPal also has a free billing system with various invoice templates for business owners.
# 5 Accept free advice when you can
As mentioned in step # 1 make an appointment with your local Score office to review your business plan and receive counseling for your start-up. Begin reading various online newspapers and magazines in the business and financial field. Find a mentor who has also started from the ground up to create a business. Always be open to receiving advice from others who have become successful.
# 6 Become a Jack of all Trades
In the beginning, you’ll want to do most of the work yourself. When you start out you won’t have money to pay employees. So don’t think any job is beneath you, even if you need to be the baker, the cleaner, the receptionist, the billing clerk and the marketer. Being a Jack of all Trades includes being your own marketer. There are many ways to promote your business for free.
- Hang fliers at local stores on bulletin boards, but get permission first.
- Create a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest accounts for your business.
- Create a YouTube channel for promotional and informational videos.
- Weebly is one of the many free website services which you can use.
If you are interested in starting a small business, don’t be afraid to take a chance. Of course, there is hard work involved. However, if you follow some simple tasks you can get started with only a small budget. Create a goal sheet and work on your budget. Seek out professional advice and find a mentor with business experience. Most of all, be creative and learn to think outside the box.