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Six tips to help start a business on a budget

Successful entrepreneurs have lots of things in spades – great ideas, the passion to bring them to life and the guts to turn them into a business.

But budgets are tight in the startup world and an entrepreneur also needs to be great at managing them. Couple this skill with the right mix of work ethic, creativity and business smarts and success is within reach.

Here are six things an entrepreneur may want to consider to help get a great business idea off the ground (even with limited funding):

1. Focus on revenue

This may seem like a no-brainer but many of today’s digital heavyweights started off without a monetisation strategy. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are just a few examples of businesses which built up a huge free-user base in the hope they would eventually turn them into a lucrative revenue stream.

If you want to start a business on a budget, you need to earn money from day one, make this a key priority.

2. Be business savvy and keep expenses to a minimum

A savvy entrepreneur understands the importance of having a good business plan in place. It doesn’t matter if it’s long, short, elaborate or simple but it does need to outline the strategic future of your business. Essentially, the plan should show what you plan to do, and how you plan to do it.

A savvy entrepreneur also knows how to manage expenses. Determine what yours will be and rank them in order of necessity. Next, look for ways to streamline, without cutting corners.

This might be as simple as working from home or seeking out low-cost services. Sites such as Upwork have a number of users offering cheap designs with even cheaper revisions. Sort by reviews to find a freelancer you like and top-notch designs are at your fingertips.

3. Generate positive WOM (word-of-mouth)

Digital media can help store and aggregate all of the positive word-of-mouth you’re sure to generate. By encouraging happy customers to leave positive feedback about the business online, brands can successfully build trust and reach a wider audience.

There are also a number of free recommendation tools, such as recomazing, which can help to streamline the customer review process.

4. Get social

Let’s face it, traditional advertising is expensive and likely to be out of reach for a startup in the early days but, that doesn’t mean brands can’t build a profile in other ways.

There a plenty of cost-effective ways to promote a business through digital and social channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Social and digital amplification will allow you to be more targeted, precise and convincing.

5. Capitalise on free advice

There are a number of government and administrative bodies, such as Advisor Finder, which offer to help entrepreneurs, particularly when it comes to developing a business plan. Having someone to objectively scrutinise the plan and call out possible weaknesses is invaluable to the success of any business.

6. Embrace the power of the crowd and alternative lending

There is an unfair stigma attached to borrowing money, which can make some entrepreneurs feel squeamish about going into debt. The truth is, if you have a great business idea and want to make it successful and profitable, borrowing money is not only acceptable, but necessary.

If banks aren’t your thing, alternative lending platforms or even crowdfunding are both attractive options to help grow your business.

About the author:

Lachlan Heussler is the Managing Director of Spotcap Australia and has more than 15 years’ experience in financial services, both in Sydney and New York. He has witnessed the profound impact technology can have on financial services and is passionate about using technology to support Australian small business.

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