When starting a new business, you’re often working with limited capital. Your needs may be many, but it’s rarely a good idea to plunge deep into debt—even if it’s for a promising business. If you’re smart about it, you can tap into the resources that you need to launch your business without breaking the bank.
Here are a few ways to grow your business on the cheap:
- Get Free Advice. Groups like SCORE are poised to help entrepreneurs succeed. The nation’s largest network of volunteer business mentors works in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration and boasts more than 10,000 volunteers in 300 chapters across the U.S. These mentors can help you accelerate your learning curve and get your business on the fast track to success.
- Use your network. Chances are, you have people in your network of friends and associates who are knowledgeable in areas that affect your small business. Everybody loves to feel like an expert. Ask them to teach you what they know, and make sure to follow up with a thank you note.
- Outsource. Perhaps you need someone to handle payroll or marketing, but you don’t have the funds to hire a full-time employee. Try outsourcing the work to niche experts as needed. This will affordably free up your time so you can scale your business.
- Buy used. Perhaps you need some furniture for your waiting room or a new piece of equipment. You’ll be surprised at what you can find on the second-hand market. Try Craigslist, OfferUp, and other online marketplaces. Estate sales and auctions are good sources of free things as well.
- Foster loyal customers. A healthy following of loyal customers can give you a steady source of income. Offer special deals to a few key customers—including low costs, over-the-top customer service, etc. These customers can guarantee cash flow as you build up your business in other areas.
- Trade services. Perhaps you own a housecleaning business and the guy down the street owns a finance firm. Maybe you need accounting help and he needs someone to keep his house and office clean. Try trading to conserve cash. If you can’t find people to trade with, consult the International Reciprocal Trade Association . They serve as a “matchmaker” for businesses that want to barter for products and services.
- Get selling. Early cash flow is critical, so prioritize your selling efforts.
- Tighten the belt. Do what you can to minimize your personal spending. If you’re opening a new business, it’s not the time to be planning your dream vacation. Live “lean and mean” until you get your footing. That will allow you to avoid accruing personal debt in addition to business debt.
- Attend seller events. Keep an eye out for conferences and expos that allow you to network and learn from experts in the field. If you sell online, watch for Amazon seller events like Prosper Show that can provide tips and tricks for launching your business.