Launching your own startup is now easier than ever. In this “golden age” of entrepreneurship, all the resources you need – from funding your business to finding the right people – are now accessible over the web. It’s also much easier to promote your brand through online marketing rather than depend on traditional advertising strategies.
However, there are still plenty of challenges you need to overcome, especially since you don’t have deep pockets to get the ball rolling quick. Here are the steps that will help you run your startup on a shoestring budget:
1. Work from a Home Office
Being able to work from anywhere is one of the gifts of the internet for aspiring entrepreneurs. In fact, plenty of startups begin and operate solely through virtual offices; at least until a physical location becomes a prerequisite for growth. However, you should dedicate a specific room that you’ll use exclusively for business purposes. This way, you can isolate your business from your personal life and stay focused on your day-to-day activities.
If you really need a physical office for your business, then you should first consider co-working spaces with other entrepreneurs and freelancers. You can find spaces near your area using tools like Sharedesk and Coworker.
2. Hire Freelancers
Simply put, startups need manpower, but not all entrepreneurs can afford an in-house team. Your next option is to hire freelancers or temporary workers on short-term projects like web design, consulting, and admin work.
The common route is to hire remote freelancers from marketplaces like Upwork. But if you need to fill in-house positions like chauffeurs and desk receptionists, then you should use on-demand worker marketplaces that service your area. London-based startups, for example, can use Flexy while those in Australia can use Workfast. Alternatively, you can use classified advertisements websites like Craigslist to be found by job-seekers near you.
3. Register Your Business Online
Registering your business will give you the peace of mind necessary if you want to survive the stressful life of an entrepreneur. This may not be your first priority, especially if your enterprise is barely on its feet. But the sooner you deal with your business registration, the better.
Fortunately, you can now register your business online with services like Incorporate.com without a hitch. Just remember to read about the different business structures and choose the one that fits your startup.
4. Try Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding does more than just provide your company with cash. By pitching your business idea to online investors, you can also leverage their discretion to validate its profitability.
Take note that the investors in sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo won’t entrust you with their hard-earned cash if they don’t see potential in your company. You can read this post from The Next Web on how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign.
5. Use Freemium Software
It’s time to face the harsh reality of being an online startup. Unless your business idea is 100% unique, then it’s safe to assume that your established competitors already have a set of premium tools that are out of your price range.
These tools are important if you want to make certain aspects like project management, accounting, and marketing a lot easier. While you need to invest in them eventually, you should settle for freemium tools first that scales with your business in terms of functionality and price.
For example, MailChimp offers a free plan for companies with up to 2,000 subscribers. Trello, on the other hand, is an online collaboration tool that you can use for free, but you can also upgrade to a premium for added features like external app integrations, security, and team overviews.
6. Think before Buying Equipment
Apart from being smart with software, you should also think twice before spending money on hardware. The first thing you should consider is to provide your own equipment such as laptops, printers, and chairs. If your startup is already registered, these office equipment and furniture qualify for tax deductions.
Lastly, if you don’t already possess the equipment you need, consider renting them first before purchasing. This has plenty of advantages, especially if you only need them for the short-term.
Hopefully, the guide gave you the much-needed confidence boost for your startup. In case you’re still unsure of your startup idea, click here. Good luck!