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Starting on a shoestring

How can you get a business up and running on a small budget?

You're tired of answering to someone else. You have the idea of the century that is guaranteed to make a fantastic business opportunity. You want to start your own company. But you've also got a tight budget.

Starting up a business on a shoestring seems like an impossible task conjuring up visions of compromises and cutting corners that will ultimately undermine your best efforts. But it doesn't have to be that way. Many industries are well suited to budget beginnings.

This is not a case of restricting yourself to mean margins, there are simply a number of steps you can take to keep overheads down.

The most obvious costs in the early days are premises and staffing. If you start from home then your office space or workshop budget can go elsewhere. This is easy if you are in a desk bound profession. But if it doesn't matter where you are based, rents on out of town premises or those in unfashionable areas will keep costs down.

And if you don't have the money for staff immediately don't forget friends and family. Providing that you don't abuse their good will, most will be prepared to help you out on the odd occasion.

It's inevitable that you will have to put 120% into the business at first. So try and become competent in as many tasks as possible. It will save you money if you can cope with things like basic desktop publishing and accounting. And you'll have a better understanding of the day to day running of the business.

Where possible, lease rather than buy and buy second hand. Tools, machinery and ovens, for example, are widely available to lease if you can provide assurance that payments will be made.

And great savings can be found if you opt for second hand desks, chairs and filing cabinets. Search on the internet in the Yellow Pages for outlets and warehouses. Most large offices refurbish reasonably regularly so the market is generally well stocked.

If you start from home then your office space or workshop budget can go elsewhere.

Ready to get started? Find out everything you need to know about how to start your own business here.