In a recent Facebook poll, BizFilings asked entrepreneurs what the biggest challenge was to start a small business. Out of 65 participants, 52 of them noted a steady profit flow was their #1 business challenge.
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs think they need tens of thousands of dollars to start a business and incorporate, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Far more important than money is the sweat equity a person is willing to invest in the success of their business.
Take Kael Robinson, who started Live Worldly LLC by parlaying a $40 investment in handmade bracelets sold to customers around the world. Our customers have shared some helpful resources that they have used to get their business off the ground, with little startup funds.
Put Your Skills to Use
Don’t think you’re qualified to start you own shop? Use what you already know! Skill based companies are the easiest to start if you don’t have much cash. Chances are, you already have most of the necessary equipment in your own home. Some businesses include:
- Repairman, landscaper or general contractor
- Blogger/freelance writer
- Personal trainer
Pair up with local organizations, businesses or clubs to spread the word when you start a small business. Offer your services in return for promotion during a major community event or act as a sponsor, and donate your product/service. Riding the tails of a larger, established company will help increase awareness about your business and also learn from established business people about best practices. Use Meetup.com for finding local groups, ideas and community resources.
Use Public Resources
Many of us think starting a business means shelling out tons of cash outsourcing services – fear not! There are plenty of free online services that can help you establish your brand:
- For a website: Use WordPress.com
- For online business sales: Set up a free PayPal account or sell your goods on Etsy or Big Cartell
- For a Company/product logo: Find a freelancer on Elance or Guru. Freelancers typically charge $60-$90 per hour.
- For PR/Marketing: Use Help A Reporter Out and pitch your own story! Find media opportunities through a free subscription, which can help your business get placement in local and national publications.
Be a Social Butterfly
A professional social marketing consultant may charge anywhere from $500 to $5,000. Save the cash and do it yourself! Our customers have found networking success via social media, which helps build interest in their Company through interacting with others in their industry. Also, be open to creating your own content, such as blog posts and videos, which are used to attract new audiences and establish your credibility as a Company.
Get an Extra Set of Hands
Internships are a great way to offer work experience and in return, get someone to help when you start a small business. However, an intern should not be a replacement for a paid employee, but rather someone who will help you with your business needs in return for mentorship and a fulfilling learning experience. Try InternMatch or Craigslist, where you can search by local resumes and industry.
Still need backup? Check out these alternative sources to funding, including boutique banks and Angel investors, who can help you get that extra push you need to startup! One area where we recommend investing the money is a registered agent, who will help you stay compliant and navigate legal needs as you are starting and building your business, all for around $150 per year.