Are you worried about the high cost of launching your new business? Calm down: Starting a business doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Here are six ways to save big on your startup.
- Buy used. From restaurant equipment to retail fixtures and construction tools, just about every type of business equipment and furnishings can be purchased used. You can find used business equipment and furniture at resellers or auctions near you, going-out-of-business sales or searching for used equipment on eBay. You can even buy used computers—just make sure they’ve been reconditioned and come with some type of warranty.
- Start your business from home. Depending on the industry you’re getting into, you may be able to save big on rent, utilities and commuting by running your business from home. Before deciding on this option, be sure to check with local zoning ordinances—some neighborhoods still forbid home-based businesses. Even if yours doesn’t, you may be prohibited from activities such as receiving shipments to your home, manufacturing products in your home or having customers visit your home, because these can negatively affect other residents’ quality of life.
- Get creative with your location. Even if you can’t start your business from home, there are many ways to save on space. Do an online search for “co-working space,” and you’ll likely find several places where you can rent space on an as-needed basis. These shared facilities offer business services such as copiers, printers and conference rooms, as well as the camaraderie of working next to other entrepreneurs. If co-working isn’t right for you, look into subletting space from another business that has room to spare (my company did this in our early years).
- Tap into free startup help. Just about every community has resources to help people start businesses and get advice from experts. Check out SCORE, your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and local economic development organizations. Nearby colleges and universities can also be a source of free help: Contact the right professors, and you might be able to get business students to work on your startup as part of a class project.
- Think digital. These days, marketing your business without spending a bundle is easier than ever thanks to the internet. You can set up a business website for practically nothing, create social media accounts to spread the word about your business for free, and use search engine optimization (SEO) to boost your business’s online search results so customers can find you.
- Get your paperwork in order. Choosing the proper form of business for your new company, obtaining permits and business licenses, and trademarking your business name and logo might seem like unnecessary expenses. In the long run, however, taking these essential startup steps ensures your business and personal assets are protected, which can save you lots of money if someone sues your business or another company tries to use your business name.