Can you really start your business on a shoestring?

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English: A display in shop that sells biltong.
English: A display in shop that sells biltong. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More people are able to start businesses these days because of the Internet. Online tools help bring down the cost of creating a form or structure for your business and making payments online. It’s a far cry from the hefty entry fees you pay for starting a physical, bricks-and-mortar business on main street or in a shopping centre. The upfront costs for a franchise are often so high that you need to have at least over a million.

An entrepreneur, Stacey Jacobs told Startup Smart how she started Tidy, a professional cleaning business, in five days with only $125. She used a range of online tools and apps to get started, even hiring three cleaners using Gumtree. Although the website platform she is using is “clunky at best and will only serve its purpose for a very limited time” it gives her the opportunity to test her idea without spending thousands only to find out that it is a dud.

Yes, it is possible to start a small business online on a shoestring as a pilot or test. But once you scale things up you will need sources of finance. For a bricks-and-mortar business you may have to commit yourself to a rental agreement, purchase a delivery vehicle, hire staff and by inventory or stock.

It’s important not to fall in love with your first idea because it’s going to change often in ways that you may not have thought of when you started out. But by starting with a small minimum viable product you are able to test the reality of your identified market need, the feasibility of your specific idea and whether your business model is robust.

Business ideas need to be supported with strong marketing tactics and strategies otherwise they will run aground. People, potential customers, need to know about your product or service for your bank account to start filling up. This means that you need to come up with a marketing plan that fits your business idea and will attract the potential customers for your product or service and persuade them to buy.

Again, not every marketing plan is going to work so you need to experiment with different marketing techniques to find out which ones work best for your product or service. Starting a small business requires much learning and adaptation. So you’d need to brainstorm different ways to reach your target market and test them out for effectiveness.

You may not be able to start your small business on a shoestring but at least you can assess the viability of your business idea through a small market test. This will give you a good feeling of whether your idea will work and identify areas that you need to redesign and revise.

If you want to find out how you can start a new source of income in your life through commercializing your promising business idea, or come up with a promising idea if you don’t have one, then go read this now.



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