Starting a Business On a Shoestring Budget: Here’s Your 5-Point Checklist

Picture this. You have a great business idea, and you’re confident it will be a success. What you don’t have is a lot of money to back that idea. So, do you give up? Certainly not. It’s a golden age for all would-be entrepreneurs. And there are so many ways to turn shoestring businesses into lasting accomplishments. Many large businesses have been built on a shoestring budget. Here are five ways to pursue your dream and turn it into reality. 

1. Create a Shoestring Business Model Before You Start

Shoestring businesses need to start with business models. Think of your business model as a road map to triumph. Refer to it often. Keep it flexible so you can make changes depending on the circumstances. Don’t hesitate to share it with experts for input and guidance.

A good business model for shoestring businesses should also keep in mind the nature of your target audience. What are the reasons they should choose you rather than the competition? Money management is important in this model, too. Develop a budget for estimated expenses and revenues for the short term. You should also build in a contingency plan, in case you need to adapt to the changing conditions. Here, you could look at further slashing of expenses, or even finding ways to generate extra income.

2. Outside Funding Needn’t Be the First Step for Shoestring Businesses

It’s tempting to turn to investors from day one, especially for shoestring businesses. But this isn’t necessarily a good idea. Firstly, outside investors may have their ideas about developing shoestring business opportunities, and you may need to accommodate these. It’s your vision, and you should keep control of it.

A recent US study showed that angel investors fund only 0.91 percent of shoestring business opportunities, while VCs fund a measly 0.05 percent. In the beginning, the need is to get your business off the ground. Once things have been established, you could reach out for outside funding if you need to. You’ll be on the much firmer ground then.

3.Think of the Internet as Your Most Hardworking Employee

The number of things you can do online to establish your business on the cheap is staggering. Make sure you take advantage of them. As self-made millionaire entrepreneur, investor and author Vince Stanzione has said, “You can now speak to the world without a book publisher, a record company or access to TV or radio studios.”

Use the power of cloud computing to grow your business. Remote servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence are all at your command with cloud computing. This gives you faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. You pay only for the cloud services you use, an asset for those on a shoestring budget.

Virtual assistants are also invaluable for shoestring businesses. Take live chat for startups, for example. This offers an easy and effective way to interact with customers. Used properly, live chat for startups combines the roles of immediate feedback mechanism and help desk, for sales and satisfaction. The proper use of social media can also boost your business’s reputation. It can create opportunities for further customer interaction, and it’s also a great way to announce news and developments.

4. On a Shoestring Budget, Only Hire Those You Really Need

Having to pay regular salaries can quickly cut into the funds of those with shoestring business ideas. It’s not that you shouldn’t hire anyone, but take a call from the start about only taking on those you really can’t do without. This also means that you should be ready to do as many tasks as possible on your own. From initial accounting to purchasing resources and supplies to overseeing advertising and publicity. Luckily for shoestring budget entrepreneurs with passion, every such task isn’t a chore, but another way to make their ventures take flight.

5. Start Your Shoestring Business from a Home Office

Before you grow big, start with a small home office. Remember all those giant Silicon Valley organizations that started in small garages? You should start the same way, by setting up an office in your home or any other spare space. You won’t be alone in this: a survey shows that 69 percent of US entrepreneurs start their business from home. Initially, you can even look for pre-owned furniture and computers instead of splurging on new ones.

In your small home office, you should also be very clear about what equipment shoestring business ideas need. Can you, for example, get print-outs and scanning done cheaply from a supplier or do you have to invest in a printer and scanner of your own? These decisions may seem small to begin with, but they all add up to saving resources that can be put to better use later on.

The One Unsaid Rule

Now that you’ve read about these five rules for shoestring business ideas, it’s time to let you know of the one unsaid rule. And that is, very simply: don’t give up.

Perseverance pays. It’s the belief and passion that powers your business, to begin with. That’s what will keep you going through the ups and downs and will help you to reach the peak.

Guest article written by: Jason Grills is a technical writer currently associated with ProProfs Chat. He enjoys writing about emerging customer support products, trends in customer support industry and the financial impacts of using such tools. In his spare time, Jason likes traveling extensively to learn about new cultures and traditions.

1 thought on “Starting a Business On a Shoestring Budget: Here’s Your 5-Point Checklist”

  1. This is such a good read. It can surely inspire those who are planning to start a business but on a tight budget. Your checklist contains practical ways that some other businesses failed to consider. Thank you for sharing this.


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