Most people mistakenly believe that they’ll need thousands of dollars to start their own business. The recent popularity of books, guides, and presentations teaching entrepreneurs how to start their own business on a true shoestring budget, though, serves as proof that you really can do it with virtually no startup capital. If you’re able to save just $25 a week, you could start your own business in a month.
In this article, you’ll learn the “bare minimum” things needed to start your business, as well as how to put them to use effectively.
You can register a sole proprietorship for about $25 in most localities. While you could technically start your business without this, it isn’t recommended. When it comes time to open a bank account for your business, you’ll need to have this license.
Website or Facebook Page
There are a ton of free options for setting up your company’s website. Weebly.com offers a free, easy to use system, and you can purchase your company’s domain name with them for $50. If you’re technically savvy, you can purchase your own domain name for as little as $8.99. You’ll need to configure a few things to get it working, but it can help save you a significant amount of startup capital.
If you don’t feel like doing either of those things, you can simply start a Facebook page for your business. It’s completely free and allows for interaction with your customers, makes it easy to publish promotions and discounts, and has a built-in “social proof” indicator, in the forms of likes, shares, and followers.
Plenty of websites offer business cards for free, as long as you’re willing to pay for shipping. Vistaprint.com offers this service, and the shipping is less than $10. Use their templates and you’ll have a nice, professional looking business card to share with your future customers.
So far, if you’ve purchased your domain name with Weebly.com, registered your business, and bought these cards, you still have $15 left to spend.
Using free templates found on the web, or those that come with your word processor, you can put together a simple trifold brochure that lists your company’s contact information, services, products, and anything else your customer’s need to know. You order two-sided copies for $0.10 each, meaning you’ll have 150 brochures to hand out and promote your business.
Putting These Things to Work
Now that you’ve got the essentials lined up, you’ll need to start getting the word out about your business. The easiest way to do this is by attending networking events. There are a number of ways to find them:
- Visit your local SBA and ask about business mixers and networking events
- Ask the Chamber of Commerce about upcoming free networking opportunities
- Check Meetup.com and join local networking groups
Visit as many of these as possible and be sure to attend them regularly. Take the time to get to know as many other business owners and entrepreneurs as possible. With each visit, they’ll get to know you a bit better, and you’ll get to know them, too.
Don’t head in there with the intent of unloading all of your business cards and brochures. Sure, if someone asks, feel free to hand them out. Your goal should be getting contact information from others and contacting them with a nice, short “thank you” email after the event. In your email, simply state that you enjoyed meeting them and would be happy to help them with anything they need.
This is important because the entire point of networking is to network. That might seem like an obvious statement, but plenty of new business owners show up at these events hoping to pull in tons of business. You need to put in the time and effort to get to know everyone so they can start doing business with you and referring business to you, too.
It could take months until networking like this pays off. But, once you’ve established a reputation, you can be sure that you’ll have plenty of business coming your way. Once you establish a monthly cash flow, you can start advertising and marketing your business more aggressively, leading to serious profits.
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By Lee Mckenna