5 Tips for starting your business on a shoe string

Tips for starting your own business

Starting your business is exciting but also daunting. Many businesses are started whilst the entrepreneur has another job or business so as to mitigate some of the risk. There are many ways of reducing the cost of setting up and establishing a business before the financial risk becomes too big to handle.

1. Work from home

Finding affordable work space suitable for your business locally can be a headache. A key question to ask is how much space do you need, and does it make sense to work from home initially. Client meetings can be held in coffee shops or cafes if you do not want to invite clients into the home. Many home businesses begin from a desk in the corner of a room, the kitchen table or space in a garage or shed if you need space which will get dirty. It is good to have an area you can leave at the end of the day, so that you maintain work and home space. Think about going for a brisk walk before starting work to switch from home to business mind.

If you do need to work away from the home, there are websites advertising shared office space or approach local businesses to see if they have a spare desk in their offices you could rent.

2. Free training

When you start your own business, you need to wear many hats, some you will not have worn in previous lives (such as marketing, accounts, legal, HR). While you may feel the need to pay for training to get a qualification, there are also a variety of free webinars online to give you a basic understanding of each.

3. Focus, Focus, Focus

Your time is a valuable and a scarce resource. Once an hour has gone you cannot get it back. You need to focus to get the most out of each hour. This is where the 80/20 rule comes in, which states that 20% of your effort should create 80% of your results. Focus, don’t spend time loading invoices into your accounts when there are Apps available to do it for you. Try AutoEntry, Entryless, or ReceiptBank.

4. Outsource only what you need to

When you start a business, you want to look after your baby and do everything yourself, but the time will come when you will need to outsource some areas to free up your time to focus on other areas. There are a variety of options to outsource specific parts of the business. Various websites are available to help with designing marketing materials, or where you can hire freelance workers by the hour to design materials for you.

5. Keep costs low

There is no need to incur expensive computer systems from the start. Google, Amazon or DropBox provide plenty of power and storage space for a small business at a low monthly cost plus they are scalable for when your business grows.  Accounting help is also available at a low monthly cost with services such as Xero, QuickBooks or Sage. These will not only keep your finances in order for your accountant, but can link to other Apps to generate time savings giving you time to focus on your business.

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