The biggest roadblock between a great idea and a great business is the tedious execution process. Acquiring and aligning resources, setting up your business, and finding customers can be time-consuming, physically and mentally draining, and expensive.
While there is no substitute for hard work and smart planning, there are several steps you can take to keep your startup cost to a bare minimum, even as little as $10! Sounds too good to be true? These 5 tips will show you how it is a possibility and help you start your business in no time.
1. Start with what you have
New businesses often find it difficult to make a profit—or break even—because their setup cost is disproportionate to their revenue. In order to avoid large expenses even before you start earning, plan your business around what you already have.
- Take up work that you can do from home or from any space that you already have. By doing so, you won’t have to invest in real estate for an office or spend money on travel.
- Your computer and your internet connection are your best teammates. There are several jobs you can take up that don’t need a lot of resources, such as graphic designing, content development, editing, writing, music-making, data entry, social media, and digital marketing; these are just to name a few.
- Consider turning your passion into your profession. Not only would you have the interest and the expertise for it, but you will most likely also have all the other assets you need.
For instance, if you enjoy fixing things, you can start a handiwork business with just your trusty toolbox. Or you could be a baker/chef, an artist, a couturier, a fitness instructor, or even a music teacher.
- Don’t bite more than you can chew. Start off with work that you can manage doing on your own. Once your business stabilizes, consider hiring others and then expand your range.
2. Start a website
Even a brick-and-mortar business needs a website. If there is one expense you should not shy away from incurring, it’s to invest in a high-quality website. Even if it’s not where you plan to sell products, a website makes it easy for potential customers to find you and learn about your company. Here are the steps you should follow:
Define its purpose
Is your website going to serve as your eCommerce store or a place where you tell people the compelling story behind your business? Or is it just a way for customers to find you online? Whatever the purpose of your website, think of how you will guide the user journey towards meeting the customer’s and your business’s needs.
Register your domain name
Your domain name is your business’s online brand identity. People will type it to find you online. You will use it in all your marketing efforts, including social media. Your domain name should be easily understood and easy to remember. Pick something short and indicative of your business.
Using industry-specific domain extensions makes your domain name descriptive and unique while helping define your niche. For instance, www.yourgarden.store (for an online plant store), www.fluentinfrench.online (for conducting virtual French classes), or www.gadgetrepair.tech (for a business that does electronics repairs).
Run a thorough search of your chosen domain name to make sure that it’s available to use and free of copyright issues.
Find a web host
Website hosting platforms cost anywhere between $1 to $500 per month, which means that you can find one that fits your budget and purpose. There are many popular web hosts for eCommerce websites, however, Namesilo gives your affordable hosting with free email and website builder.
3. Leverage your expertise
Your skills and expertise are what make your business great. Showcase them to give people a chance to understand (and be impressed by) that greatness. Create and publish content that educates and informs customers about your business, highlights your own knowledge, and also tells your users that you care about their needs and interests.
Here are a few things that you can do to get started:
- Create a blog section on your website and publish content on topics that are relevant to your industry. Such topics can include trends, buying guides, how-to tutorials, or an intriguing story about your brand, and more.
- Harness the power of video. According to a survey, 88% of video marketers have claimed that video gives them a positive return on investment. Content pieces such as product reviews, tutorials, user testimonials, vlogs, live streams, and ads are great for taking your user engagement to the next level.
- Participate in or host virtual educational events such as webinars, live Q&As, panel discussions, and interviews.
4. Count on family and friends (and happy customers)
How likely are you to try a new product because a close friend or family member recommended it as opposed to when you saw an advertisement for it? The fact that the former recommendation comes from someone you know and trust, who has nothing to gain if you do end up buying that product and simply wants you to share in their great experience, makes word-of-mouth more powerful than any other marketing tool.
As a new business that’s tight on its marketing spends, this can be your greatest asset. Below are a few tips on how you can create a solid and low-cost marketing campaign around word of mouth:
- Enlist your family and friends to spread the word about your business on social media and among their circle of acquaintances.
- Create a pleasant and seamless experience for your customers, one that compels them to remember you and talk about you.
- Encourage happy customers to review you on upvote platforms such as Yelp, Google Reviews, and on your website.
- Create a simple referral program for your customers built around referral links and codes, social shares, and incentives such as discounts.
5. Use social media
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are some of the best places to find your customers, learn about them and engage with them for real-time feedback on your products and services.
Apart from marketing, social media also helps you create a brand personality that resonates with your target audience and enables you to build not just profitable but also meaningful customer relationships.
While paid posts help you gain more visibility among relevant customer segments, you can still use social media as a free and effective marketing tool by:
- Creating highly engaging and top-quality content that promotes itself.
- Analyzing your audience and posting at times when they are the most active.
- Interacting with your followers by replying to their comments and even starting conversations through polls, question posts, etc.
- Partnering with other relevant brands that are not your competition through co-created content, mutual shares, and giveaways.
- Adding social sharing buttons to content on your website.
Starting a business is always a risky proposition and while money is important, it should not deter you from creating your own company. Stay focused, be patient (don’t give up when you don’t see immediate results), learn from your failures, be emboldened by your little successes, and keep moving forward.