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10 steps to help you start and grow a business on a small budget

How do I start and grow my business on a budget?
Heidi Green
Start-up advice, Mentor, Marketing, Business development
Find out more about Heidi Green

In this article you’ll learn

  • How to keep your costs down when starting your business
  • Where to go to find things for cheap
  • Free resources for promoting your business

So many people wants to start their own business these days, but do not have the finances available to invest.

Banks can be reluctant to lend to start up businesses, borrowing from friends and family can add pressure to relationships, and funding it on your credit card is risky if the business does not progress as you think. If you do need cash, there are government-backed Start-up loans schemes which offer mentoring and support giving you a greater chance of building a sustainable business.

Start-up-loans

However let's think how you can  start and grow you business without any funding or a much lower level than you may think. In difficult financial times money, or the lack of it, can be the one of the greatest sources of stress, by applying some basic business thinking you can free yourself from some of the pressure.  Here’s some tips on how you can help yourself:

 1. Use resources already available to you.

Do you  need an office or can you work from home?  If you need to meet clients arrange to meet them in hotels, cafes or at their premises (making sure you are in a public place is important for safety reasons).

2. Get customers to pay you upfront 

Or at worse, take a deposit so that your costs are always covered. 

payment-image

3. Have a credit control procedure in place

 Invoice promptly upon completion of works and make it easy for your customer to pay you by detailing exact amount, what the payment is for, how you want payment to be made and when it is due, then follow up immediately if payment is late.

4. Tap into free advice. 

Use Enterprise Agencies, Local Enterprise Partnerships, free initial consultations from solicitors and accountants, you will be amazed at the amount of advice and support there is for your venture. 

5. Equipment can be found through Freecycle:

A community website where people can recycle unwanted items, or the freebie section of listings sites such as Gumtree.  Buy what you need as opposed to what you want.

free-cycle

6. Do as much as possible yourself 

This will enable you to build up enough cash reserves to invest in your business and therefore achieve your goals and objectives.

7. Try to hold onto your job.

You work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and your business is then 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. yes, hard work but only give up your day job once your venture is able to pay you a wage. If the venture doesn’t work out, you still have your job. If it does, the transition to being your own boss will be a lot less risky.  However, make sure you are not in conflict with your employer under your employment terms and conditions.

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8. Buy what you need when you need it 

 Buy in services from freelancers by using sites like peopleperhour.com

9. Use free technology to promote your business.

Social networking is free, it’s easy, and it’s an amazing way of promoting your business without spending money. Sign up to Twitter, create a Facebook page, and join Linkedin.  Think about your website, you can build them for free or very little using an online website builder such as moonfruit.com or wix.com

social-media

10. Apply the essential rules of housekeeping

Money comes in, costs go out and you are left with a profit or loss.  Adjust your costs to budget.

With finance keep it simple, keep calm and you will then start to keep in control.

Start your business today by downloading your free start-up guide!

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Summary

When you're starting up your business it's best to keep a tight grip of your finances. Only spend money on what you have to, make the most of free resources, and when you do need to spend it, shop around first.