How can you Start and Grow your Business on a Budget?
You will 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
A large number of people are interested in starting 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; 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.
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 are 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.
3. Have a credit control procedure in place
Invoice promptly upon completion of works and make it easy for your customer to pay you. You can do this by detailing exact amount, what the payment is for, how you want payment to be made and when it is due. If payment is late, follow up immediately. If that does happen to you, check out our guidance on handling a late payment.
4. Tap in to free advice
Use Enterprise Agencies, Local Enterprise Partnerships, and 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:
Freecycle is a community website where people can recycle unwanted items. You could also take a look at the freebie section of listings on sites such as Gumtree. Buy what you need as opposed to what you want.
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 on to your job
If you work 9am to 5pm, hours for your business are then 5pm - 9pm. Yes, it is hard work, but only give up your day job once your venture is able to pay you a wage. If the venture does not 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.
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, easy, and 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 wix.com.
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.