One of the primary reasons people hesitate to start a business is their fear of needing many thousands of dollars in startup money. If you’re starting a brick-and-mortar business that requires a physical location and/or inventory, yes, those startup costs can be very expensive. However, if you’re starting a service business online, working from the comfort of your own home, then the startup costs are minimal.
Here are 5 ways to stay on budget while setting up your business:
Purchase a domain. Every business should have a website as part of their online presence so invest in a paid domain. Don’t settle for platforms that offer free domains; those will look similar to www.mynewbiz.wordpress.com and screams unprofessional and cheap. Invest the money to purchase the www.mynewbiz.com instead.
Shop around for web hosting but don’t go by price alone. Domain registrars will always offer you a hosting package but those deals are not always the most cost effective. Do some research, ask online associates, and read online reviews. I’ve seen web hosting packages for as low at $ 10 per month but you also want to inquire about their percentage of down time and how quickly it takes to get a customer service response. If you have an emergency with your site, you don’t want to wait days for an answer.
I recommend choosing a well known provider for your domain and hosting. Throughout the years, I’ve helped many clients with countless issues caused by ‘no name’ or ‘bargain’ services. The little bit they saved up front did not make up for the cost of fixing problems and eventually switching to a more suitable provider in the long run.
Invest in an autoresponder. An autoresponder is an email service that gathers email addresses from people who fill in the opt-in box on your site. Create a giveaway in exchange for their email; it’s a nice incentive and showcases your talents and knowledge.
Some platforms are free up until you reach a certain number of list subscribers. Others are free based on how many emails you send each month. Do your research carefully because free platforms usually have more rules and regulations to follow and are usually not the best for business. My advice is to choose a platform that matches your budget and your needs both now and 3 years from now. Which one is right for you will depend on your business but some of my favorites are ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact and AWeber.
You should also have a plan to use this tool. Growing your list should be a continuous cycle so you can stay in touch with prospects and clients. You just never know when a prospect will make a purchase and move to client status, so staying in touch in paramount.
Create a brand board. You’ll want a brand board for easy reference when it comes to crafting your website and creating any graphics you need for your site, products, or social media. Use Pinterest to pin the colors, fonts, photos, and textures that resonate with you and provide the business image you want. Use these elements in your graphics as well as on all your social media profiles.
Allocate the most money for equipment upgrades. If you’re an online service provider, your equipment upgrades should be the majority of your budget. It’s vitally important to have working equipment and reliable internet if you want to gain the trust of your clients. If you can’t afford the best of the best equipment, upgrade one step above what you currently have. Unfortunately there’s nothing cheap about computers and electronic equipment but if you pay for quality brands, then hopefully they’ll last a long time and you won’t have to think about that expense for a few years.
In a nutshell, starting a client-based service business is certainly possible to do on a budget. These steps are just the beginning of your business building.Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community