Having your own business can be hard but can also be very cool. You can work the hours you want and do the things you love. Contrary to popular belief not all types of businesses need investments of hundreds of thousands of Rands before they hit the ground running. Some, particularly home-based sole proprietorships, can be started within a modest budget.
If a large upfront cash flow problem was the only thing standing between you and your own startup… hesitate no more.
Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Find a great idea
The pièce de résistance of any successful business is a great idea. Consider your skills, the tools you have in your possession, ideal target market, location, competition and timing before you decide what business you’ll start. There is no point in taking your baking skills to the next level if your neighbouring areas are flooded with home bakers. Do your research first.
2. Work from home (WFH)
It is essential to start a business on a budget at your home. Working from home can save you having to pay additional rent, electricity and water bills. Utilise the garage if you must. But before putting up the neon sign make sure the type of business you want to run is permitted in your estate, complex etc. If you need access to people in order to sell products, apply for a spot at a local market as this will help give your business a weekly or monthly sales boost.
3. Keep it simple, start small
When it comes to sticking to a budget, less is always more. Re-use old office furniture and equipment. If you don’t have anything, reach out to family and friends for help toward this. Should your business idea require you to purchase upfront stock, start with fewer best-selling lines only. If you need expensive tools to do your work, research if you can get good quality secondhand, or find out if there are renting options available. Do everything you are capable of doing yourself to save costs.
4. Get online
It is 2020. If your business isn’t online, it will be missing out on opportunities. Get a domain name and email hosting at the very beginning so you can start to reach out to potential customers while looking professional. Alternatively, build your own website for as little as R95 per month (domain name and hosting included). If you are selling products, consider selling them online too.
5. Market your business
If only a handful of people know about you, you won’t get enough new leads, calls, or sales. Use free online marketing platforms like social media and business listings to get the word out.
Any business big or small needs to network. Networking allows a business owner to meet new people, gather new insights and open new doors. Attend networking events relevant to your industry.
7. Apply a positive mindset
Although there are many benefits to running your own business, it won’t be easy. There will be times of doubt and times you might want to give up. Just keep your end of the bargain; burn that midnight oil (i.e. give it your best) and stay as positive as possible, because if you have a great idea and you are doing the right things, it will eventually pay off.