How can I start a business on a budget?
Starting a business is difficult even if you have the money to get it off the ground. If you have little to no money I can say from experience that it does add an extra level of complexity to it all. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to do, you just have to think outside of the box to create what you want.
We all have the urge to make purchases when starting a business to make it look like we’re doing well for yourself. This normally means buying brand new computers, leasing fancy office spaces and getting a company car. You can easily get these sort of things on finance which makes the temptation even harder to resist. When in reality, you really don’t need to put the extra pressure on yourself and your business to keep up with the monthly repayments. So my top tip is until you earn a good profit or the need for something such as an office becomes a necessity just to avoid it.
If you are starting on a tight budget there are so many ways you can get up and running without breaking the bank. Some of which involve spending a bit more time looking around to find a bargain and some involve getting your hands dirty and building it rather than just buying everything off the shelf.
I fell into this trap of thinking I needed a big office when starting up a previous business. You need to put your pride to one side when you’re trying to watch the pennies, take it from me, you don’t need it. If you do well it will come in time! Obviously, if you’re a baker or a carpenter you will need appropriate space to work in. But if your someone who works from a desk there are so many options out there that can provide somewhere for you to work. Hot desking or co-working is a great option to give you a dedicated place to work. Plus, it gets you in the real world where you can talk to actual people. If you want to find somewhere local to you that has co-working space checkout Coworker.
If you really want to look after your money you can always work from home. This is what I do now. This way you have the convenience of there only being one set of bills, you never forget anything and you are keeping your overheads as low as possible. As a warning, working from home is difficult and you really do have to have a lot of self-control. I’ve had days working at home where no work gets done, in my mind I’ll know that a new series of Stranger Things has just been released and I suffer from the infamous ‘I’ll just watch 10 minutes‘. You have to be able to differentiate your workspace and home space.
We all love opening up a brand new phone or computer. The plastic film, the amazing box and turning it on for the first time, but you are paying a premium for that. When in reality, you could get a laptop that’s a few years old that has a very similar spec for a fraction of the price – especially if it’s Apple! With a bit of searching on websites such as eBay, Gumtree and Facebook marketplace you can find some real bargains from phones to cars. You can even find cheap second-hand furniture on there as well. There are some risks you face have when you buy second-hand items such as the product breaking after you buy it but if you do your research and check reviews/feedback of sellers you can quickly tell when a low price is too good to be true. Making the purchase through Paypal or using a credit card (and quickly paying it off) can give you some protection against dodgy sellers.
You can save a fair amount of money if you’re willing to be a bit more hands-on with your furniture. Flat pack furniture is convenient and easy to put together but we’ve all been to IKEA and had our eyes water when we get to the till. Did you know that the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos’ first desk was actually made from an old door? Every penny saved can be an extra penny spent to grow the business. The amount of wood, metal and all other bits and bobs that are just scrapped every day could be reused to make furniture. I’ve made desks, cupboards and even a pallet wall out of scrap bits of wood which has saved me a small fortune over the past few years.
So there we have it, those are my few tips on how to start a business on a budget. It is difficult but embracing the fact you have no money makes you enjoy the little wins when you get something for a fraction of the price. You feel like you’re winning – because you are!
Do you have any tips when starting up on a budget? Let us know in the comments below!
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