5 tips for building a business on a budget » SMEInsider

5 tips for building a business on a budget

Getting a small business off the ground typically means some serious scrimping in the early stages, even if you’re lucky enough to get a loan or other source of funding.

Here, the alternative funding platform Spotcap gives their top five suggestions for launching and sustaining a small business with very little cash.

1. Make sure you’re actually on the right path

You don’t need a ton of investment to start building a profitable business, and taking advantage of market opportunities doesn’t just mean jumping on the latest trend – you actually have to be passionate and skilled at what it is you do. As a starting point, suggests Spotcap, think about what kinds of things people tend to ask you for help with. What kinds of things do people see you as the go-to girl or guy for?

Matching individual skills to current market opportunities is essential to avoid hastily entering the wrong market or career path,” says Spotcap. “Often, individual skills are those that friends and family ask for if they need to get something fixed. Take the time to learn about your potential customers, and build your business plan around their needs and desires.”

2. Get some (free) advice

There are tons of organisations and government agencies out there that can give you free resources, advice and even mentoring. Use them. Be confident in yourself to find the right answer, but not so precious or blinkered that you refuse to calmly asses your ideas for potential faults.

Even if you are running your business alone, find someone who can study your plan objectively to point out possible weaknesses and highlight areas of strength. It’s always a good idea to talk to people who disagree,” suggests Spotcap.

3. Make money straight away

From Facebook to Instagram, there are plenty of successful companies that deferred actual income until they had gained popularity among a non-paying user base. You are not one of them. To postpone profit, you need a whole ton of funding, and that’s a luxury you don’t have right now, so make sure your chosen model involves actually getting paid.

If you want to start a business on a budget, you have to earn money from day one,” says Spotcap. “Determine your expenses and rank them. Calculate expenses for each step and keep in mind the impact on your business.”

4. Go back to basics

Renting a fabulous office with all the bells and whistles is out of the question. Starting a home-based business should be your go-to move,” says Spotcap. For those expenses that you really can’t avoid, spend time negotiating the best possible deals for your business and make sure you’re constantly looking for ways to cut down costs..

5. Self-publicise. Shamelessly.

In the early days, you’ll probably be relying heavily on word-of-mouth for advertising, so make sure that everyone you know is aware of what it is you’re up to. You also need to make sure you can be found easily online, to invest time and effort into polishing your online presence, working on your SEO and making sure that vital information, such as contact information, is clearly visible.

Beyond that, says Spotcap, you need to make use of all the free social marketing tools at your disposal.

Promote your campaigns with social networks, like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, where free publicity is waiting to be grabbed. This gets the ball rolling. Reach out to local journalists, bloggers and other influencers to boost your visibility. Offering free initial consultation meetings is a good way to convince potential customers. In smaller markets, getting on friendly terms with the competition can also be a good step for your business,” they say.