Building a business on a budget
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Whether you have a great idea for a first venture, or you are trialling another addition to your business repertoire, it is possible for a new business to be set up on a minuscule budget. We’ve collected some tips for small businesses in order to grow your company, without the risky investments that are often deemed necessary.
For most start-up ventures in the trial phase, setting up as a sole trader makes sense. However, as the business grows it is worth registering as a limited company in order to separate your liability, it’ll also allow you to raise money through shares in the company and can often have tax advantages. Don’t expect this to be expensive at all, as there are a number of value options available when registering your company.
Consider buying any necessary equipment second hand; a powerful laptop and a decent printer for instance could be picked up on eBay. Software doesn’t have to be expensive either, take a good look around the web for free versions of software necessities. Skype could also be an option for a free alternative to a phone-line.
No matter what type of business you’re setting up, it indisputably needs an online presence. Make sure you acquire your business name on every social media platform you know, then go about building a website. If the website will be central to your business then it’s worth investing in a professional design; try approaching web development students through universities for cheaper rates. If the site is less crucial, build the site yourself with simple to use software such as Wix or WordPress. Also, remember your mobile platform; mobile internet users are fast exceeding traditional desktop visitors, so it’s important to have optimised versions of your site for different devices.
A recognisable brand is imperative to a successful business, particularly in the early stages of its life. Firstly you need to identify your branding – not simply the logo or your name, but on a deeper level – what are your business’s values, its USP and what kind of personality would you give to the business. Once these are defined you can reflect them through your branding. Use it consistently in your letter heading and throughout your website, place personalised stickers on any outgoing packages and use your individual tone in any promotional writing and social activity.
Hire an Accountant
We’ve previously examined the benefits of hiring an accountant for small businesses. The majority of the time, the savings accountants achieve will outweigh their fee. Also, by doing as much of the financial legwork as possible yourself, you can ensure these fees stay at the minimum.
Whether you’re looking for a basic workforce or highly skilled professionals, large amounts don’t need to be spent on recruitment agencies or buying job adverts. Utilise social media to find suitable employees by posting jobs, involving yourself in group discussions on LinkedIn, tweeting out with hashtags such as #jobhunters, and using social hiring software like Tweet my jobs.
Look at what the big businesses are doing to keep their business alive, and adopt their methods. From viral marketing basics to graphic design and search engine optimisation, there are a variety of skills that you can teach yourself in order to become a self-reliant, one-person marketing powerhouse. This doesn’t have to be expensive. Attend night classes, watch instructional videos online, follow a variety of field-specific blogs, and most importantly keep trying techniques yourself; it may sound cliché but the quickest way to become an expert in an area is to keep putting your skills into practice.
The beauty or PR is that much of it can be free. Host events specific to your business and invite everyone you can, brainstorm some viral video ideas, engage in relevant social circles and set up a competition giving away your service or product as the prize. Be as imaginative as possible; creative ideas have put even the smallest start-ups in front of global audiences.