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A guide on how to build a business without a big budget.
5 Mins

How to build your business without a big budget

Jess Gibson
Jess Gibson

Business-building dreams. An entrepreneurial spirit. And a shoestring budget? At first, the three things seem incompatible. How can you possibly fully utilise your entrepreneurial know-how and realise your dreams of constructing a bustling business with a barely-there pot of finances? Surely that’s impossible, right? Because, when we think of some of the hottest up-and-coming start-ups and fledgling businesses trying to attain growth, we’re often bombarded with this notion of them vying for substantial investments or calling on the bank of mum and dad for a bit of a cash injection to kick-start their baby. And this reinforces the idea that the only way to build and grow a successful business is to have an abundance of cash to hand.

Luckily, however, this just isn’t true! With a bit of savvy planning, a bucketful of resourcefulness, and a good network of contacts (which you can build over time) it’s an achievable dream. Most important of all, though, is to ensure you’ve got that all-important business plan drafted or written up to help guide your journey and stick to a general route (even if you end up having to take a few shortcuts or tweaks to your trip along the way).

So, interested in finding out exactly how you can build your business without the big budget? Then you’ve come to the right place!

Space race

Once you’ve got your business plan set out and you have a general idea of where you want to head – short-term and long-term – you can start taking into consideration some of the bigger aspects of building a business, such as the initial location.

A key question to ask yourself here is whether it’s essential for you to buy/rent a building or office space, or if there’s scope for using your own home to work from whilst you’re just getting started? Choosing to work from your home is a practical, down-to-earth approach that will inevitably save you a bunch of much-needed cash that can instead be used elsewhere. Additionally, it will prevent you from investing in long-term overheads that are going to drain your profit margins and divert money away from more important avenues.

Working from home doesn’t mean sacrificing the formality that can be achieved in an office space, as you can set yourself up in an area of your home that’s separate from where you spend time relaxing. And, with any luck, this set-up is just a means to an end – hopefully you’ll expand enough in the future to be able to justify forking out for your own dedicated space!

Going solo

When you first start out, you have the choice of setting your biz up as a corporation or going it alone. Operating as a sole proprietorship allows you to be in full control and requires limited expenses to register. Reducing your overheads in this way means that you are aware of each and every aspect of your business as it’s getting off the ground, with an additional bonus being that you haven’t got anyone’s wages to pay out of your money pot!

Once you’ve gained enough capital, you can always turn your business into a fully-fledged corporation and take on staff to handle certain areas of responsibility, as required.

Scrimp to save

Finding different things on which to scrimp and save money on when starting out is crucial to helping grow a business from the ground up. A handy way of doing this is to either use equipment you have already – rather than wasting money on brand-spanking new office equipment and décor for the sake of it – or seek out and take advantage of online vendors who specifically market to start-ups and small businesses. With regards to the latter, online auctions are a safe, secure, and enviably savvy way of acquiring much-needed equipment or stock for your business.

These auctions allow you to purchase what you need at a price you deem acceptable AND affordable. Plus, with them usually running for a few weeks at a time, you have plenty of time to watch the bids being made and decide on whether or not to make your own bid, meaning that you’re less likely to make ill-judged, snap purchases that you can’t afford and will regret later!

A little help from friends

A big expense for many businesses just starting out is the cost of marketing. It’s a vital aspect of the business world – how else will you spread the word and drum up business? – but also pretty costly.

Well, this is where your friends and network of contacts can help you out. Leveraging both your personal and professional networks to help promote your business allows you to reach different demographics and often leads to some initial clientele interest. Starting a dedicated (and free!) social media or blog page can also be pretty useful – although these do take a fair bit of time and skill to master.

Another cost-effective way of marketing, especially if you’re in the business of retail, is to utilise the systems set up by platforms. So, for example, if you’re looking for a platform to sell on but aren’t in the position to spend money on a domain or targeted advertising, an online marketplace such as William George not only allows you to sell your wares in collective auctions free of charge, but also handles the marketing side of things for you as well!

Size doesn’t matter

If in doubt, start small. When deciding on investments for your business, weigh up the pros and cons to help you work out if the potential returns are worth the costs – i.e. will this investment lead to substantial growth? Will it help you to gain customers and contribute to your bottom line? If the answer to either of these questions is a resounding no, then the investment isn’t worth it – it’s a luxury that you can consider later on down the line.

Settling accounts

Last but not least, spend some time scouring the internet and teach yourself the basics of accounting to help you keep on top of your finances rather than pouring huge amounts into official accountants. If you’re really struggling, there are online spaces and apps that allow you to input all the information in a simple, easy-to-follow way that are perfect for when you’re in the opening stages.

We’re not saying that having a small budget when getting started will make the process of building your business easy – on the contrary, actually – but we promise that not only will it be worthwhile in the end, but it will also help to create a much stronger business in the end. Starting out with lean finances helps you to create a more considered, focused, and disciplined business overall, with habits that you’re obliged to form at the very start when cash-strapped becoming ones that end up underpinning the entirety of your business ethos in the long-run.

If you’re looking for items to help get your business idea going, have a look around our auctions as we could have just what you’re looking for, at a price you weren’t expecting!