It is difficult to start a business with limited money, but it is possible. Entrepreneurs are restless people, and it’s easy to “get started” on a business idea even if you don’t have all you need. We praise “starting a business with nothing” and admire corporations like Mary Kay Cosmetics and Domino’s Pizza, which began with just a few hundred dollars.
However, even if your business is “technically” profitable, if you run out of funds, you’re out. Starting with a small amount of money works best if you get paid quickly, have cheap overhead, and don’t have a lot of inventory or labour costs.
Cash flow is critical in every organization, and there is frequently a large gap between when you are paid and when your obligations are due. If you don’t have a buffer or a line of credit with a bank, unexpected spending, fraud, or a customer default can sink your entire organization. Some business owners have relied on personal credit cards to stay afloat.
I once had $50,000 in accounts receivables and deposits awaiting payment, while also digging my couch cushions for spare change and borrowing money from friends and family to keep the lights on until the payments arrived. This difficulty will worsen as your company grows, beyond the point where credit cards and personal loans can keep you afloat.
If you’re starting with a small amount of money, you’ll need to plan carefully and save every penny you can. This begins with your company’s business concept. Ideally, you’re beginning a firm with little overhead, a model that can scale as you develop, and you as the major source of labour. Keep in mind that any firm using this strategy will face a lot of competition, so you’ll have to fight tooth and nail for clients.
Things to keep in mind when starting a business with limited capital:
Don’t spend a dime without considering how it will help your company expand
Don’t spend money on anything that won’t get you more customers or allow you to service more clients. You’ll stay humble and focused if you have a slim mindset. Maintain a modest cost structure and make every dollar count.
Your business account isn’t a personal savings account
Even if you pay employees, be prepared to take little or no money during the first year of your operation. You may be the lowest-paid employee for the first several years of your company. Reduce your personal spending to as little as possible.
Don’t assume you have to buy everything for your firm
Almost everything is available for lease. If you’re just getting started, you won’t be able to get a line of credit unless you personally co-sign and guarantee the loan. However, if you can rent a piece of equipment for $50 per month rather than paying $1,000 for it when you’re just starting out, you may put the $950 toward something else.
Use cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) capabilities
Before you spend a dime on software, examine if a monthly fee-based alternative is available – accounting software, CRM, sales planning, project management, email, cloud file storage. Cloud apps allow you to pay per month per user and scale up or down as your company requirements change.
Don’t open physical office space, If you don’t have to
Office space is pricey, so don’t open one unless you need to meet consumers there or have a physical retail or production location. I worked for a consulting firm that took about 18 months to build an office after they started. They were bringing in over $1 million a year at the time.
Don’t acquire any new equipment
Businesses fail all of the time. Almost anything you require, from office furniture to manufacturing equipment, may be obtained secondhand. Speak with your business banker; they are likely to be aware of other businesses that have gone out of business and are liquidating their assets, and the banks want these assets off their books.
You can sometimes enter a business with very little money. (For example, Domino’s Pizza began with a $900 purchase of a Domi-pizza.) Nick’s They couldn’t afford to alter the sign, so they made a hasty adjustment).
Make a friend of your business banker
If your company receives cash or checks as payment for services, make sure you walk those deposits into your branch during business hours and say hello to the bank manager and business banking manager on a weekly basis.
You will eventually require a bank line of credit or a loan, and this will not be your first encounter with a banker. You will have a much simpler time getting aid when you need it if they recognize you and see you frequently.
Learn the fundamentals of accounting
You don’t need to be a CPA or even an accountant (you can always hire one), but you do need to know how to manage your income and spending and identify which activities are profitable. You must also be able to forecast cash flow, something I cannot emphasize enough.
Unexpected expenses and occurrences will arise. You can appear prosperous to the outside world but still go out of business if you don’t have enough funds. You’ll have more influence over your business if you know more about it. Also, If you hire an accountant he/she will help you with the pay stub, taxes, wages, W-2 forms and other financial stuff.
Take your time when hiring
You may hire business services and freelancers to accomplish practically anything your business needs until you reach the scale where you need a full-time staff – and even then, 2 or 3 dependable part-time freelancers may be a better alternative.
Choose between quantity and quality customers
Three terrible clients who spend twice as much but never pay on time and are difficult to deal with are better than one nice customer who is simple to work with and pays on time. If you keep track of how much time you spend dealing with bad consumers, you’ll rapidly discover that you’re losing money.
Always remember that “cash is king” and that net profit (what you keep after all bills have been paid) is more essential than high revenue targets. You’re finished if you run out of cash and can’t get a line of credit (or have exhausted your lines of credit). To be successful, you must concentrate on high-value activities and investments that will help your company develop.
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