Entrepreneur Start-Up Tips – Congratulations—you’ve decided to take the plunge and make your dream a reality by starting your own business. It’s no secret that starting your own business is both exhilarating and terrifying. On one hand, you’re envisioning immense success, freedom, and a thriving business. On the other, you fear your business flopping within the first six months, plummeting your credit score, and forcing you to pay off that second mortgage on your home with an overdrawn bank account.
This a real fear for all new business owners. Only about two-thirds of new businesses survive the first two years, half of all businesses survive five years, and one-third survive ten years. These statistics are less than comforting. It comes as no surprise that every new business owner is searching for low-cost start-up tips to keep their bottom line from going bust.
Almost every low-cost start-up tip will begin with ‘manage your money’. Even the best new businesses can go under if they run out of money. Of course, everyone knows the best way to keep your spending low is to manage your money strategically and stick to a strict budget. There are many apps and software choices available to help you manage every penny.
However, it’s when you’re faced with exactly how and where to spend your money that you start thinking, “Okay, great, I need to manage my money but how exactly do I do that when I need to purchase so many things for the business?” To help you start out on the right foot, we compiled the best low-cost start-up tips to guide you when starting a new business.
Entrepreneur Start-Up Tips – Strategically Plan Your Office Purchases. One of the most useful low-cost start-up tips is to watch your spending when starting a business. The easiest way to do this is to use what you own. Maybe you can use that dining room table that’s been in storage for six months or that desk in your parents’ attic they never use. Even your laptop could work just fine with a quick tune-up to get up to speed. Whatever you need, try to use what you have before buying something.
While you may want to have the nicest desk and top-of-the-line laptop, you should hold off for now. New, quality office supplies and furniture come with a hefty price tag. Thinking in the long-run, you don’t want to waste money on something cheap that will last a whopping six months before falling apart. Now, there are other options that allow you to stay on budget and not sacrifice style and quality.
Entrepreneur Start-Up Tips – Buy used furniture. Remember your grandparents preaching, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Grandma and grandpa had a point. Today, goods are produced with the idea that you’ll buy something new in a few years. This can put new businesses owner in a tough spot. One of the best low-cost start-up tips you’ll receive is to purchase used furniture. With businesses constantly relocating, closing, etc., it’s in your best interest to spend a few weekends checking out some of the business sales, as well as garage and estate sales.
If used furniture still looks good after years of use, chances are its sturdiness isn’t going anywhere. However, don’t let a few scratches or cracks deter you from a great piece. Sometimes a diamond in the rough only needs a fresh sanding and a coat of paint to look new. Shelling out a few hundred dollars for an old maple desk in need of some TLC is a much better investment than spending the same amount on a brand-new desk with wood overlay and will last a few years at best.
What’s the bonus of buying something that may need a little TLC? If for some reason your business goes under, you could resell the furniture and recoup more of your money. Thinking in the short-run and long-run is great, but also considering multiple outcomes for your business when making purchases is a great low-cost start-up tip.
Entrepreneur Start-Up Tips – Beware of ‘too good to be true’ used IT deals. A 2016 Mac Book Pro ’15 inch selling for only $300?! Seems a little too good to be true? That’s because it probably is. Many low-cost start-up tips will tell you to either spend money you may not have up front on good IT or plan on investing more into it as your business grows. Are good IT and cost-saving solutions mutually exclusive? The answer is no.
There are great buys on used or refurbished technology. Many companies, whether moving or upgrading, will sell their IT to a used technology store. This can be a great opportunity to snag a good deal on some quality IT.
There are two low-cost start-up tips you should always follow when buying used IT. The first is only buy from a store with good reviews. If someone bought used IT that stopped working within six months and the store did not fix it or offer any support; you best believe that now ex-customer will be lighting up the store’s social media and website with bad reviews.
The second tip is only buy used IT if it has a warranty. No one will guarantee something they know will break in two months. If you can buy an extended warranty, do it! This is well worth the extra money.
Pro-Tip: Instead of bargaining for a lower sticker price, use your negotiation skills to get a better warranty—it’s a better value in the long-run. When buying used IT, a great price tag is tempting, but a great warranty is what should make you seal the deal.
Entrepreneur Start-Up Tips – Divide and Overestimate. A great low-cost start-up tip is to divide the budget into several categories: IT, advertising, labor, etc. Doing this allows you to project what percentage of your budget will be allocated where helping you make a better plan on where and how to spend your money.
When starting your business, a useful low-cost start-up tip is to overestimate costs. The last thing you want to do is to use every dollar in the budget because you assume everything will go off without a hitch. The key to a successful business is to create a financial cushion for times of limited cash flow.
You overestimate for two reasons. One, you have backup money if something goes terribly wrong, and ponying-up extra money is the difference between making a sale or losing a customer. Two, you have money left over to set aside for the future. What you save today, could mean the difference between surviving or not surviving a few bad months of business.
Pro-Tip: Exactly how much should you overestimate? Whatever you think something will cost, double it. Overestimating by a factor of two means you’ll scrutinize every dollar spent, helping you make rational choices from the beginning. If you only used half of what you planned, that’s fantastic! More money to keep in savings and use elsewhere.
Entrepreneur Start-Up Tips – Plan to Delegate: It’s tough to do things entirely on your own. You may start your business yourself, but shortly you’ll need to bring on some more staff to help get things done quickly and efficiently. Almost all low-cost start-up tips will tell you to start equating your time as money. By bringing on someone to manage something you don’t know, like advertising or website design, it gives you a chance to focus your time and energy on your strong suits.
Bringing people on early helps you train your employees on how you want the business run. For example, breaking down your budget into the business’s different sectors makes it easier for you to eventually delegate an employee to each sector. By mastering overestimating the budget, and then passing it along to your employees, they’ll learn how to approach managing the money. Delegating more responsibilities over time gives your employees an incentive to work hard and prove themselves.
Entrepreneur Start-Up Tips – Hire the Right People. Now that you know you need to delegate and have a budget for wages, you need to hire a few employees. A low-cost start-up tip to get your business off in the right direction is to hire the right people. The keyword here is ‘right’. Bringing people on, even if it’s only one or two at first, will help you in several ways. It will give you outside opinions when making big decisions. People can bring their experiences on what worked and didn’t to help plan methods to ensure your new business is a success.
You need to bring people onboard who share your vision and want to see this business succeed. First, reach out to your professional networks, friends, and families. Chances are someone knows of a great person who would love to get their foot in the door at the early stages of starting a business.
When interviewing prospective employees, discuss the vision, long-term and short-term goals, and mission for your business. Discuss with them, that as your business grows, so does this person’s responsibility and pay. This gives you a way to incentivize employees and demonstrate that this could be a long-term position; provided the work ethic is there. You want to show that while you may not be able to pay much now, you’re looking for quality people to help you achieve a goal and share in the benefits of achievement.
Pro-tip: Freelancers are a gold mine! Low-cost start-up tips will tell you to take advantage of social media pages because they are free advertising. Yes, social media, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, is free, but making these pages bring in new customers takes a lot of time. Let’s be honest, successful marketing and advertising can make or break a new business.
Freelancers are a great way to get quality marketing, advertising, logo and website designs, etc. for a great price. Many freelancers are still in school or working in marketing already, but need extra cash. The best thing about hiring freelancers? If they don’t know exactly how to do something, they have endless resources to learn what to do to fit your needs. Who knows, if your business booms, you may bring them on as a full-time employee because they’ve already proven themselves.
Entrepreneur Start-Up Tips – Evaluate Each Step of the Way. At the end of each week, you want to evaluate yourself and your purchases. When looking at a purchase, you want to separate them into two categories: necessary and unnecessary. Necessary purchases will be items like rent, wages, internet, etc. One of the best low-cost start-up tips is to minimize unnecessary spending. In fact, many software tools needed by the new start-up owners are now free. For example, do you really need that premium LinkedIn membership for your business? Probably not. Maybe you want to stick with using the free G-Suite app and email service until business starts to boom.
Entrepreneur Start-Up Tips – Listen. The best low-cost startup tip you can get from anywhere or anyone is to listen. Listen to your future clientele, listen to your employees, and listen to your friends and family. Asking for the opinions of those around you is a great way to get free feedback about the goods or service you are trying to sell. You want to stay true to your business goals and mission, but you want to keep a bit of an open mind to the opinions of others. At the end of the day, if you don’t have customers, your business is going nowhere.