6 tips for entrepreneurs and small business owners on a budget

Editor’s Note: Today’s guest post was submitted by Nerd Wallet, a resource driven website that makes recommendations and provides education to help consumers and businesses improve their finances.

Even if you have a great plan for a business, it takes more than an idea to effectively run one.

From money management to administration, many factors go into making a business well rounded, and the foundation of a successful business is money. Although many may think that business owners need truckloads of money to get started, there are numerous ways to create a business on a strict budget.

1.- Start from Home

Having the option of working in your pajamas isn’t the only bonus of working from home; you save money on commuting costs and extra utility bills from an outside office when working in your own home. With the convenience of a home office, you’re also able to set your own schedule and hours to fit your clients’ needs.

From saving money to saving the environment, choosing a home office over a rented space when you’re just starting out provides many benefits.

2.- Rent Instead of Buy

Whether you have a home office or an office elsewhere, renting furniture and equipment helps you test out certain machinery you may need in order to see which fits best with your business. Plus, it saves you money in the long run.

If you bought a machine for your business just to find out later it wasn’t the best equipment, your money goes down the drain and you’re stuck with an item you’re unable to get rid of. Even if you were able to sell the equipment, you might not receive as much in return for it as when you purchased it, so you’d still be losing money.

You can also rent furniture and fixtures for your office.

If you’re planning to move to a bigger building, then renting furniture can be beneficial to your business as you do not have to waste furniture or money when you move office locations.

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3.- Love Thy Neighbor

If there are businesses near your office, contact them to see if they’re interested in splitting business advertising and promotion costs in the surrounding area.

You can have a sidewalk sale or host a large, promotional event at a venue with goods and services from the businesses you’re partnering with. To strengthen your newly formed marketing collaboration and aid in each business’s growth, share mailing lists and suppliers with businesses that provide similar items you do.

4.- Get Free or Cheap Software

There’s no need to dish out $50-$100 per month on software to help your business organization. Instead, find lesser-known brand names for all types of software, from photo editing to accounting, to get cheaper prices.

If you’re looking to save even more money, check out sites like Download.com to find hundreds of free software products that are available through trial downloads, limited software versions, and freeware.

Also, sites like freecode.com offer free or open source applications for Linux, Unix, and cross-platform software, which are applications that work on multiple operating systems.

5.- Video Conference

Whether stranded at home due to bad weather or expensive airfare, meetings with employees and clients can be costly in terms of both time and money. Instead, switch to a videoconference program to decrease travel times to your meetings. In addition to reducing travel costs, video conferencing reduces stress among your employees, which improves work-life balance.

There are various types of programs that range from free to reasonably priced and can support several people during a conference call.

For example, GoToMeeting allows you to host a video conference with up to 25 people. GoToMeeting also supports Android, iPad, and iPhone gadgets so that you can have meetings on the go.

If you’re shopping around for a video-conference program that fits your business perfectly, here are other video conference programs to consider:

● Skype
● Google Hangouts
● ooVoo
● Adobe Connect

6.- Barter Your Services For Goods

As an alternative to monetary exchanges, bartering is an excellent tactic to get what you need for your business while helping another business or person without spending a penny. Through online networks, such as LinkedIn, you can contact other business owners or professionals to see if you can offer services they might need in exchange for your services. You can also barter with acquaintances, neighbors, friends or anyone else you may know who can provide a service you need.

Manifesting your business idea doesn’t have to be expensive; with creativity and the right resources, you can find more ways to bring your business to life while on a budget.

When using cheaper alternatives to develop your operation, remember to maintain your business’ reputation by staying professional and building your brand while making contacts with other businesses.

About the author: Sara Collins is a writer for NerdWallet, a site that helps consumers find the best credit card rate.