Eight Things To Remember When Starting A Business On A Shoestring Budget by Forbes – Entrepreneurs

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It can be a real struggle to start a business when you don’t have the funds you need to pursue all the sharp ideas you want to explore and see grow. You know there is a myriad of costs to cover, especially when getting started, and your budget may be getting tight just trying to do the basics.

Discovering where you can cut expenses as you embark on a new business venture can help you get your company going without having to stress as much over making sure all the finances work. So what do you need to know? Below, members of the Young Entrepreneur Council provide their best tips on how to start a business when working with a shoestring budget. Here’s what they said:

Members share a few ways you can help your business develop when funds are tight.

Photos courtesy of the individual members

1. Hone Your Minimum Viable Product

The concept of an MVP is crucial to start a business on a tight budget. You don’t want to waste money on ideas that are not tested and proven. Creating your basic business concept and trying to sell that is a worthwhile experiment. We started with no money, no web developer, and only five tours in Panama. We got a WordPress website using a basic template and sold our first tour within two weeks. Our case shows that it’s possible to get traction even with just an MVP. After that, ride the momentum. Even without resources, just experiment. – Kyle Wiggins, Keteka

2. Do Your Research

Do proper and thorough competitive research. That’s Entrepreneurship 101, but despite it being something everyone knows to do, it doesn’t make it easy. When you have an idea that you’re excited about, it’s human nature to be nervous about seeing the full picture. However, spending the right amount of time on this research will save you a lot of time and money as you start building your business—this is especially crucial when you are on a shoestring budget and need to be making smart decisions. You can learn so much from your competitors by seeing what decisions they made. As you start your business, you will need to experiment and gather your own data, but in the beginning, stages, when you don’t have much live data, using your competitive research as a baseline, is a smart move. – Valerie Grebenyuk, ChatterBoss

3. Be Flexible And Use Freelancers

Keep full-time staff at a minimum as long as it is feasible. When beginning a business, you should expect to take on a big workload and shouldn’t pass that work off if it will cut the venture short. Instead, build a project schedule which allows you to multitask, and then look for freelancers to help with specific tasks when that becomes necessary. Choosing freelancers is a great idea because of the flexibility of contracts involved, the negotiable pay rates, and the expertise they can bring to the table. Just by taking a look at some popular freelancer websites, it is easy to find someone with an impressive resume and with specialized skills that can help you raise your business without breaking the budget, you rely on. Remember to push yourself—the beginning is the toughest period. – Bryan Driscoll, Think Big Marketing, LLC

4. Leverage Crowdfunding Options

Crowdfunding is a great way to source extra income and gain clients. It is a great way to reach a lot of prospective customers for free. In turn, you make some extra cash and maybe a few customers. Almost everyone has some sort of social media they access on a daily basis—reaching them through a crowdfunding link can be beneficial even if they don’t contribute. It’s a great way to get your company attention. It would help if your campaign was highly productive. Even if you’re to reach and connect with 100,000 people and each contributed $1 to $5, imagine what a big boost in a budget that would be. With the proper marketing avenues, crowdfunding can be a great source for extra cash when starting a business. It also allows you to test your product or service and see firsthand if it will be viable.  – Ajmal Saleem, Suprex Learning

5. Run As Lean As Possible

Whether you’re starting a marketing agency or coffee shop on a shoestring budget, the way to successfully move forward is by running as lean as possible. That means zero bloat: Do whatever is possible to produce the greatest value for clients/customers with the least amount of workforce. Choose your first employees wisely by seeking those with a positive attitude and aptitude to learn. Provide an incentive to your employees by keeping everyone in the loop with business and marketing plans, and keep those employees satisfied with proper pay and optimal downtime. Also, don’t forget immediate training in time management and productivity—two elements that can drastically move a business forward and quickly. - Ron Lieback, ContentMender

6. Focus On Marketing

Focus on marketing first if you have a tight budget. Precise (gorilla marketing) marketing creates a perception of much larger budgets; this strategy helps your brand get ahead with a small budget. I’m a huge believer that one co-founder should be strong in marketing or business development. It’s also very important to build relationships with folks who believe in your mission and position them as aligns; they will not take your money, but rather invest in you. – Anna Anisin, Formulated by

7. Become an Expert

The best way to start a business on a shoestring budget is to become an expert and do all the work yourself. Learning new skills while building your business will save you a lot of startup money until you can afford to outsource. But you have to be willing to put in the time and effort. Don’t know how to manage a website? Learn. Bad with numbers? Learn. New to the industry? Learn. If you are passionate about your business and willing to learn anything, you will gain so much more through hands-on experience. Not only will this save you money, but it will keep you from being taken advantage of. Many business owners are at risk when outsourcing jobs and they don’t have enough of a basic understanding to oversee the work. No one cares more about the success of your business than you. – Turath D’hont, San Diego Moving Company

8. Solve Real Problems

Founders spend years and millions of dollars looking for their product-market-fit. Lack of it is the primary reason for startup failures. However, if you are on a shoestring budget you have to make revenue from day one. You just can’t afford trying things to see what happens. And this is the best way to start a business, in fact, even if you pose a hefty budget. My background is B2B and the vast majority of successful B2B businesses started from making 1-2 real paying customers happy—in many cases before even product has been built. When we started Influ2, I only had a deck and my business partner launched the first person-based advertising campaigns manually. Our initial idea was to boost the PR results of our clients via person-based ads targeted to journalists and bloggers. This idea was wrong, and when the first couple of customers asked us if we could target their prospects instead, all I had to do is to change a couple of slides in my deck. We released our first self-service product only when we had five paying customers. After all, customers don’t need your product, they need the value that it promises to deliver, and we did! Shoestring budget keeps you focused on solving real problems to make revenue from day one, and it’s a very good focus. – Dmitri Lisitsk, Influ2

July 1, 2019 at 08:15AM
https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2019/07/01/eight-things-to-remember-when-starting-a-business-on-a-shoestring-budget/
Forbes – Entrepreneurs
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