Starting a new business is certainly not a bed of roses, especially if you are doing it on a shoestring budget. Being Dawoodi Bohras, many of us have the inherent urge to be enterprising and jump into the bandwagon even though when we may have limited resources on hand. So, let me share some practical ideas and tips that can help you execute the typical business tasks without burning a hole in your pocket.
If you are one out-of-the-box thinker and possess the ability to do more with little then here are some smart and newer ways to manage the common business functions. Read on!
1) Market your business Online
Got limited resources, yet want to drive high on your marketing efforts? Try new age techniques to engage prospects and find customers online. A presence in the online world is a must for every business as it gives you a global visibility in a short span of time. Gone are the days of distributing flyers and cold calling, even print and TV ads go ignored. With people spending most of the time surfing the internet, it is one platform that you just can’t let go of. Set up an online presence; build your website and advertise your product or service on search engines and social media sites.
Today, customer’s buying decisions relies on Google search so investing in content based marketing is the need of the hour. This ensures high rankings on search engines leading to traffic to your website and more customers. Pay per click ads and email marketing are also economical methods to attract customers.
2) Outsource instead of hiring staff
Human resource constitutes an integral part of an organisation but if you are low on budget then try to DIY by knowing all the angles of your business efficiently. Do not jump into hiring full time staff members as it adds up to the operating costs.
When you are ready to scale up, opt for outsourcing work. There are freelancers out there on sites such as Upwork, Elance and so on where you can hire anyone from Virtual Assistants to Project Managers from across the world. You not only have an endless range of options at such sites but also the benefit of getting the best in any field at low cost.
Managing a global team can be handled easily with online tools like Asana. The site is one of the best platform when it comes to tracking team work, driving projects to execution and completion and producing great results.
3) Alternative ways to finance
Meeting capital needs is definitely a matter of huge concern when you have limited funds to start off with. The easiest thing to do would be to create a cash cushion (save up) to meet your basic necessities for a year or two. The more personal cash buffer you have the longer you can sustain if your business takes longer to deliver results.
You can also capitalize on the new age ways to raise funds, such as…
- Crowd funding – A popular method is crowd funding where a project is funded by the public in return for some reward which can be anything from profit share to a free product or service produced by the company. Kickstarter is one such crowd funding platform that can help ambitious entrepreneurs with their new businesses.
- Angel Investing – Many successful entrepreneurs help start-up ventures with finance by angel investing.
- Business Partner- Team up with a partner who’s willing to share the risk & rewards of your business. He or she can alleviate the load of your finances and you don’t bear the big burden all alone.
4) Manage back office processes with SaaS tools
Automate your processes and minimize dependency on labour for common admin and accounting tasks. Using Software as a Service (SaaS), software applications are hosted by a service provider and made available to you on a need basis. SaaS is a cost-effective service that allows bootstrapped organizations to access business functionality at generally less costs than opting for licensed applications as SaaS pricing is based on a monthly fee. Some of the popular tools here are –
- Zen Desk – This software manages help desk functions allowing you to provide excellent customer service without a huge support team.
- Google Apps – Get email, cloud storage, collaboration tools and other business apps with Google Apps for Work.
- QuickBooks Online – Helps you to manage your accounting with ease.
- Trackur – The tool that helps you to monitor your social media accounts in the easiest ways.
- Basecamp – For developing new projects and feature updates.
There are many budding mumineen entrepreneurs who have some amazing business ideas and yet they hesitate in starting up due to various limitations. With many cost-effective ways to help you get going on a tight budget there is simply no reason to prevent yourself from running forward with your great idea. So, work smart and soar to the summit with your new venture. All the best!