Brian Spero is a frequent contributor for Money Crashers Personal Finance. He writes about financial topics ranging from budgeting and business to careers and couponing.
So you’ve cultivated an idea for an online business that you’re certain can’t lose. The only hitch is that it’s going to take time and money to get your venture off the ground. Being an entrepreneur is about believing in yourself and doing whatever it takes to make things work, so don’t let a limited budget impede your path to success.
If you are thinking of following your dream of launching an online business but have serious budgetary concerns, here are some smart tips that make good sense:
1. Keep Your Day Job
When your mind is made up to start your own business, the first impulse might understandably be to jump in with both feet. Keep in mind, however, that it will likely take some time to get your business going, so hold onto that day job in order to maintain a source of income. Your personal life might take a temporary hit and your sleep will likely suffer too, but these are common sacrifices for those driven to succeed.
2. Take a Partner
While you want to be your own boss, finding a business partner is a strategy that presents multiple advantages. Look for someone who will not only help shoulder the financial burden, but who also possesses skills that strengthen areas in which you are deficient. Ultimately, it’s about climbing the ladder of success, and an injection of energy and moral support can give you the boost you need to reach the top.
3. Barter Services
In order to limit spending in the initial stages, seek out providers essential to your growth that are willing to accept products or services as payment. Bartering is an ancient business practice that’s had a resurgence among small business owners, so don’t be shy to broach the subject. One way to get started is by utilizing one of the many bartering websites dedicated to connecting professionals interested in swapping services to reduce out-of-pocket costs.
4. Recruit an Investor
You are confident enough in your business plan to invest your time and energy into making it work, so you should be able to make a compelling case to inspire others to contribute monetary support. Sure, you want to fully benefit from your hard work and ingenuity, but if you lack the capital to get the wheels turning, you run the risk of coming up empty-handed. If adding an investor for a limited stake gets you to your goals faster, you’ll be happy to share the profits in the end.
5. Utilize Free Marketing
In businesses marketing, paid advertisements are often the fastest way to see results. However, utilizing lower-cost or free Internet marketing strategies, such as search engine optimization and social media, not only provide a solution for gaining exposure for your business on limited resources, but are also avenues for achieving more sustainable results.
6. Find Low-Cost Web Solutions
A custom, high-end e-commerce website with all the trimmings can cost thousands of dollars, landing you in the red before you ever produce your first widget. Luckily, there are myriad free and low-cost solutions for launching an online business, from customizable templates that allow small businesses to create a website inexpensively, to accepting Paypal for payments to avoid the costs associated with processing major credit cards online.
Big businesses do it all the time, uprooting an operation to a less expensive geographic region in order to cut business overhead. It’s another sacrifice that might be hard to swallow, but even when you are working out of your home, a move to an area with lower rents and utility costs can help you stretch the funds you have and buy you more time in which to establish yourself.
8. Hire Interns
Operating a fledgling online business is a learning environment an intern can benefit from. Contact local schools and post on a job forum like Craigslist to recruit talented and driven individuals willing to trade some hard work and clerical support for the opportunity to get real, on-the-job experience. With structure it’s possible to participate in programs that allow interns to earn college credits, while free lunch and a small travel stipend is often compensation enough to land you the temporary help you desire.
9. Be Thrifty
It’s a common pitfall for new business owners to compromise resources by splurging on office space, equipment, and incidentals. To keep start-up costs to a minimum, consider buying the equipment you req
uire on the used market, and furnish your office by utilizing a website like Freecycle.org, which connects members of a community interested in giving and getting free stuff like computer tables, chairs, lighting fixtures, and electronics.
The Internet has made it possible for millions of entrepreneurs to follow their dream of launching an online business. By making sacrifices, being smart with your spending, and being creative in procuring the support you require, you can break ground on a successful business without falling into a financial hole that’s hard to climb out of.
What other tips can you suggest to save money when launching an online business?
More posts in this Setting Up Your Business series:
Naming Your Business [INFOGRAPHIC]
Branding Your Small Business with a Tagline
Identify Your Small Business’ Target Audience in 3 Steps
Designing a Small Business Logo 101