Starting a small business is hard. And in today’s economy, getting the most for your money often equates to the creative distribution of your financial resources.
That’s why so many entrepreneurs and small businesses are inventing ways to bootstrap their operations. Luckily, there are a number of affordable tools and strategies that cost little but deliver big, which is ideal when your business is on a budget.
As a provider of business services and entrepreneur myself, here are five resources I’ve found that are currently working well for small businesses.
- Inventive marketing – Generate interest in your business through creativity. For example, try promoting a contest like The Royal Society of Chemists. They challenged people to solve the crime depicted in The Italian Job, released in 1969 – an initiative that generated over 2,000 entries. With social media and similar forms of marketing, this is a fun and highly cost-effective strategy.
- Utilize free web services – Here’s where you can save a bundle on costly software suites. Try open source websites like WordPress.
- Outsource staff – Outsourcing everything beyond your expertise is another way many small business owners are cutting costs and overhead. Accountants, web designers and marketing people can be hired online at places like ODesk and Elance.
- Virtual selling – If you own a retail business, consider selling products on sites like Etsy or eBay instead of spending time and money on a big retail website or brick-and-mortar location.
- Virtual offices – Do you really need an office? Take advantage of low-cost conference call apps, virtual office and free collaboration software suites, and hold your meetings in a local coffee shop.
There are plenty of opportunities for new and developing smaller businesses to cut costs without cutting quality or sacrificing growth. The web provides countless free or almost-free services to make running a business easier and more profitable. And as seen in the inventiveness of upstarts throughout history, the first step is bootstrapping – inventively taking advantage of modern resources to realize the greatest profit.
Growing Money Photo via Shutterstock