You've heard ‘the sky's the limit' so many times that you've finally decided to take the leap and start your own business!
You've got the money-making idea which can't fail, you've got the drive to reach said sky, and you've got a little bit of cash saved to make a start.
Oh, if only!
The first and immediate problem comes when you sit down and work out your budget.
Whatever your innovative-can't-fail business idea, you're only going to get so far with your savings. Even if you have all your startup costs covered, you will still need to generate income while you're building your business and as research, and common sense shows; it's not easy to do both at the same time.
But ‘not easy' doesn't mean impossible and by implementing some savvy financial strategy for the first few months while you build your customer base, it's extremely likely that you'll avoid becoming one of those ‘most-businesses-fail-in-the-first-twelve-months' statistics.
Here are some practical tips which you can put into place today to help you build your new business while on a limited income. Follow these and the sky really will be the limit from day one!
01. Continue To Work Part Time
Building a business is an exciting time, and when your energy and creativity are flowing, it makes sense that you want to consume yourself with your new venture. Ideally, though, you should work part time until you have enough regular customers to satisfy your minimum outgoings.
Your job doesn't have to be anything related to your field; it just needs to cover your basic income.
02. Work From Home
While that extravagant office overlooking the harbour is a perfect place to position yourself, I'd recommend having that as a future goal, not a starting point. Rent spent on office space is largely just cash down the drain when you're in the early stages of a business and if you can work from home (for free) do that.
There are lots of shared workspaces available where you can pay per day if you crave human contact and clients are rarely surprised if you suggest meeting at a coffee shop or café these days.
03. Make Use Of Freelancers
If you need to engage with a professional, use a freelancer rather than employing someone permanently. You will only pay a freelancer for the work that they carry out, and there's no long-term commitment such as wages that you need to find on a regular basis. You can hire freelancers in any area such as graphic design, web development and marketing – all those skills you need to get your business off the ground!
04. Find Some Investors
If you have an innovative new business idea, look for an angel investor. There are lots of wealthy individuals and businesses who are looking to support revolutionary ideas that make a difference to society. If you have a pioneering product; seek out an investor, work on a pitch, and say hello to valuable cash that will help keep your business afloat while it's in its infancy.
If your business goals are centred around social impact, crowdfunding is becoming an increasingly popular stream of revenue for one-off projects. Crowdfunding does what it says on the tin and is an online platform where you can tell your story, share your innovative idea and appeal to the masses to donate money to your cause. The key to a successful crowdfunding campaign is to create compelling content which appeals to a large number of people and encourage people you know to share this through their social media accounts.
Crowdfunding isn't an ongoing source of income, but it can certainly help with one-off startup costs for organisations which are socially focussed.
It's critical to your income that you network online and with local businesses and individuals. Creating strong relationships through networking will give you better rates on products and access to more opportunity to make sales. When you're part of an active network of like-minded entrepreneurs, the financial opportunities are endless, so it's important that you place yourself amongst your prospects.
07. Make Full Use Of Social Media.
Social media, for the most part, is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal, and it's free! Facebook offers a paid advertising service however you're not obligated to use that. Create detailed profiles on the platforms your niche use, and attack your social media strategy with gusto!
Providing a constant stream of valuable content for your market which has the potential to reach the other side of the world in minutes is extremely valuable to your business and, I repeat; it's FREE!
Make full use of social media to promote your business and make valuable connections in your niche.
08. Be Prepared To Work For It!
When you start a business, you need to be ready and willing to work around the clock! You have many hats that you must wear, and by taking on the roles of everyone, you will make savings while you work! You might not be able to see the results of your hard work immediately but take heart that you're building your brand every single day which is increasing the value of your business while you toil. Keep going!
09. Be Thrifty
Evaluate every single cent that you spend and always ask yourself the question ‘do you need this?' There are some expenses which can't be avoided, but things such as business cards, logo design and home-office equipment don't necessarily have to be top of the range from the outset. Look at those early days purchases as a temporary measure until your income starts to increase, you can replace everything you need to once you're in a better financial position.
10. Don't Borrow Money
It can be tempting to extend your overdraft, take out a credit card or even apply for a business loan. If it's possible, avoid getting into debt. While it will help you out short term, the impact of this will last long into the future, and it will take you much longer to become financially sustainable. If you can take the hit in the early days, it'll be well worth it.
Lack of budget is one of the top reasons that businesses fail in the early days; get money smart and don't become one of them!
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