If you’re still waiting for the day when the full cast of Shark Tank shout out offers for a piece of your revolutionary business idea, don’t hold your breath!
Without many funding options or ways of getting quick capital, the reality is that you may be bound to launching your dream business on a fairly limited budget.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to make it work — particularly today, when there are hundreds and hundreds of free and inexpensive resources that can help aspiring entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.
Here are four tips to keep in mind when working on a budget!
1. Work from Home
If you can’t yet afford to rent office space for your business, you’re not alone. In fact, many startups are birthed out of a personal apartment or even a parent’s basement!
Consider starting your business from wherever you currently live. You’ll limit your financial burden significantly, at a time when you may have very little revenue coming in —or none at all!
Today, it’s very possible to work from home and be highly productive — without a full-blown office environment and all of the resources that typically come with it.
2. Take Advantage of Free Advertising
Looking to spread the word, gather support, and reach potential customers? Regardless of how groundbreaking and game-changing your concept may be, you’re going to need to lean on advertising.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to advertise and market your business without needing to part with hundreds or thousands of dollars:
- List and claim your business in online directories
- Create original content and share it online
- Develop your brand’s social media presence
- Build your website to grow organic search traffic
- Use social media groups to network with other business minds
- Launch product or service giveaways
- Boost your social media pages or website with a small budget
- Send cold emails (that aren’t spam!)
- Ask other businesses whether you can leave businesses cards or fliers at their offices
3. Develop Skills in Your Downtime
Don’t have the funds to pay a couple of people, let alone a full staff?
This could be problematic, given that you likely don’t have all of the skills needed to build out your startup.
While you’re not going to be able to become a professional in every area overnight, the internet has cleared a path for quick and convenient learning in nearly every discipline.
For example, while you might typically need a web designer or programmer to build a website for your business, you can spend your evenings learning how to set up a site, install a theme, and use basic code!
If you come across a skill that is particularly tricky to learn, you can always look into hiring a freelance employee on a one-time or part-time basis. As over 35% of the U.S. workforce is freelance, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding someone who can work with your startup!
4. Consider Different Funding Options
The reality is that money can only go so far.
Even after prioritizing your expenses and keeping your spend to an absolute minimum, you may find in three months that you need additional funds to keep your startup alive and on the trajectory you had initially forecasted.
Fortunately, there are a handful of different ways in which you can get funding for your business, and doing so is arguably easier than ever. Between 2012 and 2017, startup funding grew by over 50%!
With interest loans as low as they are at the moment, you could secure a business loan for thousands of dollars to put toward your business; and you could pay a limited amount back in interest fees over your term.
Of course, your ability to secure a business loan is dependent on your business history, revenue, business credit, and sometimes even your personal credit.
If a business loan isn’t in the cards, you might consider going down the crowdfunding route.
Oftentimes, there are people in the community who are more than willing to support local startups and small businesses — especially if there are incentives involved!
This is where popular crowdfunding sites, such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe, come into play. These platforms allow you to publish information about your business and your campaign for funding, as well as rewards for contributing financially!
If all else fails, you may be able to rely on your own personal funds and resources. Have a decent amount of money saved up? Consider investing it into your startup.
After all, the sooner you’re able to get your business up and running, the sooner you’re able to earn revenue and get a return on your investment!