Starting Your Own Business on a Budget: Tips & Tricks

starting your own business on a budget

Starting your own business can seem unattainable, especially when you have limited funds to work with. When thinking about launching, you might feel as though you need a large sum of money in order to even begin. But, I have good news; this is not always the case. In fact, I was able to start my own business for roughly $650, including the paperwork to register as a limited liability company (LLC). I still have yet to take out a business loan. So, fret not; starting your own business on a budget (and without a loan) is possible, and the following are some tricks and tips to help you launch:

Starting Your Own Business On a Budget

Don’t quit your day job:

Normally, “don’t quit your day job” implies you should not pursue anything more than what you are currently doing for money. But, when I say this, I mean maintain your full-time job as you develop your dream. Spend a few hours every night after work (or at your leisure, depending on your level of motivation to start) developing your business plan. Know that you want to start a business but unsure where to begin? Pick something you are passionate about or very knowledgeable in.

As you start the process, plug away some money from your full-time job each month for your business. Even if it is just $20 a month, every little bit helps and will make launching more of a reality.

Reach out to friends:

Assuming you have already done your market research and developed a business plan, you can reach out to supportive friends who may be willing to help you with certain services you may need to move forward.

For example, if you are a copywriter needing a logo, see if one of your friends in graphic design would be willing to do a trade for service and/or a discounted rate to create your identity. Most of the time, you will most likely find someone willing to help. Even your friends with a background in law may be available to provide some tips on getting started with paperwork or offer a lower rate to help. You can also use the money you’ve been saying from your full-time job to pay for these services up front. Never assume your friends will do it for free; they are, after all, also in business and need to make money too. Also, don’t forget to refer them and spread the love! They will appreciate your word of mouth referral more than you know.

Start online:

The internet is full of amazing opportunities. You can easily start your business online through the creation of a website. Sites like Weebly, Wix, and even WordPress.com all are great platforms to begin on a budget as they all offer templates you can work off of with zero web design skills. With these, you’ll also need to purchase a domain name (AKA your business web address), a process they each walk you through when you sign up. When using WordPress, you will also need a hosting site, which is basically a home for your domain name. Weebly and Wix have theirs built into their platforms, but their customization is not as advanced as WordPress. Bluehost or GoDaddy.com are both examples of where you can find hosting sites. Again, you may want to reach out to a friend or use a consultation with a marketing company to help you get started with this particular process, as it can sometimes be complicated.

In addition to a website, you can now sell items on Facebook. If you do not want to upgrade your site to be secure enough to sell items (all websites need to have what is known as an SSL certificate when selling items or even collecting emails, which protects private information of site visitors), you can create an account at Shopify.com and connect it to your Facebook page or use Facebook as your store. You will need, however, a PayPal or Square account in order to move forward.

Starting online allows you to save on initial overhead costs (other than your website) on a brick-and-mortar. But, you can surely invest in a physical location after getting your feet wet. This all depends on whether your business would benefit on a physical address or if you can survive solely online.

Make it a side hustle and have supplementary income:

Starting your own business on a budget does not mean you have to wait until you are no longer at your full-time job to begin. You can start with it as a side hustle and continue to grow it until you are ready to be full-time. By all means, you can also make it your primary focus and help your financial situation with a supplementary income until you start seeing a profit in your business. House sitting, dog walking, and freelancing are all examples of easy ways to get this going. You could also use the money from your supplementary income to invest into your business if you needed the extra funding for a special project.

Grow through networking:

Networking is an especially cost-effective way to grow your business. No matter what industry you are in, everyone can benefit from networking. Check your local events calendar to see where opportunities may be for you to meet prospects. You can also utilize your existing connections or memberships to grow. For instance, if you have a gym membership, and you are starting a catering business, you can reach out to the gym manager or members who work at local businesses to see if they would be interested in your services.

All in all, know that starting your own business on a budget can be done. No matter what, though, it always takes consistency and a lot of work in order to make it happen.

Have you been dreaming of starting your own business or have you already? What tips would you add to the list? 

Tips for Businesses to Increase Workflow Efficiency

The goal of every business owner, whether their company is small or large, is to increase revenue. Without it, your business will become stagnant and possibly fail. The good news is that with the right tools, resources, and a staff that’s motivated, you can achieve this easier than you may expect.

Take a Step Back

Time is something that’s necessary to keep the focus on bringing in new business. Unfortunately, many business owners feel the need to either handle all aspects of the business or micromanage those they entrust with various components. Taking a step back and allowing your qualified employees to perform their duties will allow you to stay on track. Another time-saver is outsourcing. It’s a common practice these days, and for very good reason: it works. For example, managed IT services provided by another company will keep your employees working by reducing downtime for unforeseen problems with software and programs.

Goals for the Company

Monthly meetings are essential. They provide a venue for you, as the business owner, to show in black and white the direction you want the business to go. They also let employees have a voice that they can use to offer suggestions. Since your employees deal directly with the customers, they bring something incredibly valuable to the table. Keeping an open mind and allowing your staff to participate in company meetings will make them feel that they are an important part of the business.

Energized

Working at a desk and sitting in front of a computer for 8 or more hours each day can sap the energy from your employees. This is true for many companies who know that productivity is at the highest level early in the day. Once mid-afternoon comes around, your staff is more likely to be less energized. Thankfully, there’s a solution. Implementing 15 minute breaks mid-morning and mid-afternoon will allow them to get up and move around and get their blood pumping. They will return with a clear head and renewed energy.

Prioritize and Complete Tasks

Trying to run your business with a singular focus or by spending all of your time on just one thing isn’t going to produce the results you want to achieve. Most often, there are several tasks to perform in a single day. Learning how to prioritize them is a great way to make the best use of your time. Not everyone is good at multitasking. In fact, having too many tasks to perform often causes everything to take longer to complete. Instead, delegate duties to qualified individuals. This way, all of the work is done on schedule.

The Employee Role

As a small business owner, you rely on every person under your employment. However, if an employee is unhappy with you they may not work as hard and start looking for new employment without notice. If you only have a staff of 5 or 6 people this can mean a reduction of 15 or 20 percent of the workforce. By assigning certain tasks to employees with an imposed deadline, you can identify the individual quickly and take steps to uncover the problem.

Upgrades

As a small business owner, money is always something that you must spend wisely. Older office equipment such as a printer without double-sided copy or color capabilities and outdated software programs will cost you in wasted time. However, acquiring new tools is often something not in your budget. Thankfully, you don’t have to replace everything at once. For example, you can upgrade the inefficient copier with a new high-tech model from a leasing company. This will allow you to save time and, if any repairs are needed, the company will service the machine at no additional cost.

Increasing workflow efficiency will help you stay the course and focus on bringing in new business

Making the Best Use of Your Time in 2020

With the new year just starting, small business owners are looking to the future. The old adage that ‘time means money’ holds true in 2020 as it did in past years. How can small business owners make the best use of their time?This article will offer a few tips.

1. Time Management Software

There are many advantages to using time management software. The benefits of a schedule management tool for small business owners involve knowing just how to spend your time. You begin by adding in the duties that need to be completed per day, week, and month. You could even put yearly duties if you so wish.

The software will then schedule it accordingly. You could even take it a step further and have it schedule just how much time you should be spending on your duties. This helps ensure that you never spend too much time on a single project.

Instead, everything is progressing by some margin every day. Time management software helps you stay on track. This means that you can be sure you’re spending time efficiently. Efficiency leads to productivity which leads to profitability.

2. Invest in Analytics

Many schedule management tools also offer analytics. In the event that it doesn’t, you’ll want to invest in analytics. Whether it’s about your customer base or how you spend your time, analytics can give you a wide and localized view of the data surrounding the topic you’re investigating.

In regards to managing your time, analytics can help you see where all of your time is going. Perhaps you spend too much on one project over others. If that’s the case, you can make an effective plan that will reduce the time spent on that project. This then allows you to focus on other projects so that they can be done, and you can further increase your productivity.

Software that runs analytics is a more efficient tool than attempting to analyze where your time is spent yourself. It’s also more accurate.

3. Understand Your Strengths

Every small business owner is particularly good at something. If it happens to be marketing, then take on more marketing duties. Yet by taking those duties onto yourself, you also need to give up some duties. In understanding your strengths, you also uncover your weaknesses.

Those weaknesses should be delegated to those who understand or perform at it better than yourself. This saves you time because you can rely on those experts to get the job done a lot faster and more accurately than yourself. With everyone working on the projects and duties that they’re the best at, your productivity will soar.

4. Make Chain of Command Clear

One big time waster is meetings. They’re often unnecessary. Everything can be communicated through email. However, if someone is unsure about how to proceed with a certain duty, then they need someone to ask. It doesn’t always have to be you. Interruptions due to mundane queries should be avoided.

A method to handle this is with a clear chain of command. You should establish project managers. They should understand the project from beginning to end as well as every aspect of the project. If someone has a question, the leader should be asked instead of yourself.

Make Your Time Efficient

In 2020, your overall goal should be making your productivity increase. By managing your time, you will likely see that increase. Try these few methods to improve your time management.