Low-Cost Startups and Business Plans

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    Not every would-be entrepreneur has deep pockets, or rich friends and family, to get their business started. Indeed, most small businesses are started on the cheap. Here are some tips on how to start your venture with minimal cash.

    Pick your venture carefully

    Service businesses tend to be cheaper to start up than product-based ventures. They have less overhead, and rarely require large investments for equipment and inventory.

    Consider a service for people (or companies) to do what they don’t want to do themselves. Doggy daycare and pet cleaning services come to mind, both fast growing sectors that require minimal investment. Consulting is another field that’s easy to get into.

    Cheap Marketing

    Marketing is typically the biggest expense for a service business. So don’t pay for it. Really. Instead, participate in online discussions. Fire up your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Write a regular blog (gulp). Go to conferences and workshops. Even introverts can excel at networking. Just do it. Most importantly, use word of mouth marketing to your advantage. Do a great job (for a good price) for your initial customers, and ASK them (don’t assume) to refer you to other folks who might want your service.

    Cheap Business Plans

    Similarly, writing a cheap business plan is possible too. Don’t hire a consultant (double gulp). Check out my earlier blog listing sources of sample business plans. Use your networking contacts to find someone who runs a similar business, in your town or somewhere else. It’s amazing how much they’ll tell you if you approach them the right way. They usually LOVE to talk about their business!

    Good luck!

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    For more resources, see our Library topic Business Planning.