You’ve got an idea and a business plan—you want to sell products and/or services to a market that needs them. However, you may not have the funds to do so at first—every small business needs funding from somewhere. Some small businesses have the luck of having investors who are willing to pour money into, while others need to find alternative way of raising funds. The biggest challenge for your business in its formative years will be to find a way to grow the business without running it into the red.
Get Free Productivity Apps
They say the best things in life are free. OpenOffice is a free alternative to the Microsoft Office suite—this can save you at least $100 a year per user—ideal for when your business is still searching for steady avenues of revenue. Skype and Google Hangout are free as well at their most basic levels. Dropbox and Google Docs, which allow you to share files and collaborate in real time from either a desktop or mobile device, are also free at their most basic levels. Eliminating these costs entirely while your business is starting out will help your bottom line greatly.
Ask For Money
Having a powerful pitch for your products and/or services can entice everyone from your average consumer with a bit of extra spending money to investors making money hand over fist willing to back the latest startup company. Crowdfunding has become one of the biggest ways to generate capital for your small business, giving you the room to cover for unexpected costs or even expand. Getting a thousand people to pitch in $50, for example, may be more practical than pitching to a single investor, whose investment portfolio could already include a company similar to yours, to get $50,000 in funding.
Find A Social Media Platform (and Audience)
If you’re selling a product or a service, chances are you have competition—that’s the way of the free market. That means you need to start targeting an audience that will buy your products and services. Are you trying to reach professionals? LinkedIn and Twitter seem to be their preferred social media platform, while Facebook caters to a more general populace. You don’t need to be active on every single social media platform (although it helps), but at least the ones that your target audiences visit often.
Engage Your Audience
As a small business, you can easily distinguish yourself from your larger competitors by putting a personal touch to your customer service. Word of mouth is extremely powerful, even in a day and age when information is readily available online on any product or service, so answering customers’ questions is vital to your success as a business. Your audience will reach out to their audience as well and recommend your products and services to them.
Don’t Be Afraid To Outsource
The word outsource shouldn’t be shied away from. If you don’t have the money to acquire top tier talent to work at your small business yet, you can contract a third party to do services such as accounting or public relations on behalf of your business. There are many businesses that exist for this purpose and each of them can help contribute to your bottom line until you wish to expand.
The barriers to entry for starting a business have gotten lower and lower over the years—even a single email address can help you get into the business arena. However, you need to find ways and means to save money while you expand from your humble beginnings.