In the UK Business Forums Startup Clinic, sponsored by Microsoft, entrepreneurs shared their top tips on how to cut costs when starting a business. Lucie Mitchell summarises the discussion.
To stand a chance of surviving in today’s economic climate, it is essential that small business owners do everything they can to reduce costs and save money. So here are seven top tips on setting up your business on a budget.
1.Use free website tools
UKBF member Ethical PR says: “You can do your own website through Wordpress for free (plus a small fee to register the URL, and you can pay for templates). You can get a great professional site for a small investment; similarly you can do your own social media for free.”
2.Work from home
“I would recommend working from home rather than getting a nasty overhead such as office space; you would be tied into a long term contract and nobody enjoys the stresses of this,” says Cheapwebdesign.
3.Consider cheap options when renting premises
If it is important to have premises or an office, EICIC remarks: “There are plenty of empty shops/offices. Go direct to the landlord of something that has been empty for a while and see if there is a rent-free period. The local council should have a list of empty premises and you can request it as a FOI request.”
UKBF member YesYouCanChange adds: “There are plenty of affordable options, such as renting a desk in an existing office, virtual offices or renting a room as and when you need it.”
4.Network, network, network
“Personally for me, networking was the most important thing and, once I had a few clients, ensuring I did everything I could to make them happy as you can't beat referrals from existing clients to boost business,” comments Paul_Rosser.
One key ingredient to start up on a budget is motivation, says ITsoldUK. “Without that, forget it. Go work for someone else. Over the years you can add new strings to your bow and get relevant qualifications to enhance your knowledge, but with motivation you can start up with nowt.”
6.Be in the know
However, sirearl believes that motivation is nowhere near as crucial as knowledge.
“Knowledge is the key to starting a business on a shoestring. There are many avenues to selling goods or making money without having to buy stock. Motivation and passion will always come a poor second to knowledge.”
Another UKBF member stretchy echoes this point: “You can be the most motivated person in the world, but without knowledge you are going to need money to allow you to get things wrong.”
7.Harness the power of technology
“Take full advantage of technology,” says UKBF member YesYouCanChange. “It's now a lot easier to appear bigger and more credible than you actually are through the use of clever mobile and internet technology.”