Starting a business with a limited budget can be quite a challenge but that doesn't mean that it can't be done! So long as you allow yourself enough time to research and plan, you should be able to execute that plan in a successful manner. Staying consistent and working towards your goal a little each day will go a long way in the long run and your efforts will not go unrewarded.
1. A lot of small business owners (especially in large cities) feel the pressure of starting out in large office spaces to keep up with the competition. They believe that so long as they have great views and modern supplies, this is an excellent business decision. Entirely wrong! The last thing you want to do when starting a business is go over your budget on office space and supplies. You can find shared office space and still be in the city amongst your competitors with half the cost. You could also speak to a Realtor to see about subleasing from another business in your preferred area. Ideally, you’re shooting for necessary and functional unless you have the capital to splurge in which case, have at it!
2. Very often, companies spend an obscene amount of money on promotional items for the initial marketing phase and lose sight of the value of these things. While you do want to promote as best you can, don’t buy things that will end up in someone’s garbage within 5 minutes of getting home. Use functional promotional items that stand a good chance of being kept and used. Items such as pens, calendars, key chains, and magnets (to name a few), stand a better chance than bumper stickers, t-shirts, and flyers.
3. Many startups try to save money by incorporating their business using online services or PR firms and don’t realize that often times mistakes are made that can be very costly down the line. Hiring an attorney would be best practice to incorporate your company in order to avoid potential mishaps that will, later on, cause red flags to your investors.
4. Remember that a happy team is a productive team and what you need most at startup is an energetic and driven team. Do your best to provide a comfortable work environment with all of the essentials to make the workday flow smoothly. It is important to provide your staff with sufficient computers, monitors, printers, fax, etc. so that they are equipped with the minimal tools to complete their work.
5. Use Social Media intelligently because it is one of the most promising forms of long-term marketing. Be smart about your use and remember to spend some money on advertising and promoting your brand. Don’t just use social media to gain followers because unless you’re only worried about popularity, what you’re really looking to focus on is translating the social media audience into dollars. You may not see results immediately, but the build-up of interacting and promoting goods and services will pay off in the long run. So make sure your interaction makes sense so you can make cents.
6. Initially, you could avoid trade shows and conferences that are costly and sometimes pointless for startups unless you are speaking or have a meeting setup that can translate into a good business deal. Sometimes workshops and trainings are offered for topics that you are interested in learning about and in those cases then you should attend. Otherwise, you can use that portion of your budget towards additional marketing efforts.
7. During the early stages, try to focus your efforts on production, marketing, and customers. Don’t spend endless hours each week on paperwork, HR, and bookkeeping when there are so many businesses that offer these services at nominal rates. Building your production team and the staff is what ultimately demonstrates your value as a company.
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