How do I get my business started with a limited budget?
I have incorporated a business name legally in my country with the government agency that handles business registration and have procured the basic documents and tools to kick-start the business of selling cement and handle general contracts, but I do not have financing. What's the best way to get started on a low budget? Should I focus on getting funding? If so, what's the best source of funding for a business like mine?
You must get started no matter how little. Get an office. Get a bank account where your history can be traced. With operation for a little time as 1yr, it's easy to get funding. Organisations as Aspire do a lot in helping small start up. Try them.
First of all, you need to make contacts with suppliers who will provide you with cement that you are going to sell. You probably don't have to buy any right away but you will need to know much you can get, at what rate and how long will it take for the supplier to fill your orders.
You will also need to get information on the quality of the items you are planning to sell. You'll use this information when talking to potential customers.
You'll need to determine the price you charge to customers. For this you'll need to know the current market rate of the products you plan to sell as well as other information, such as who your target customer is. Your price should be high enough to portray the quality of the things you sell and not too high to discourage buyers. It should also cover all your expenses. You'll also need to consider how much discount to give to bulk or repeat orders and what price to take upfront from customers.
In addition to information about the products you plan to supply, you'll also need information about your target customer. Are your target customers individuals who buy limited amounts for personal use or are they construction companies that buy in bulk? You'll then need to find a way to contact your target customer. If your target customers are companies, you'll find it easier to directly contact them. You can do so by phone or sales visits.
You'll need this information when preparing a business plan too.
I concur with Jillian. You want to be careful putting the cart before the horse in a business situation because you can end up being in reactionary mode vs. planning and execution mode. Prepare a business plan so you can document your customer base, competitors, advantages of doing business with you, goals and weaknesses. Secure that and then create your website, attach a Facebook widget, Twitter widget and even your local construction association link. Join the chamber of commerce, create a Facebook page, develop a simple brochure, print and disburse business cards, make copies of your liability insurance coverage page and just start hitting the pavement. Minimal cost to market and personal networking is the best. May want to invest in a couple of trade events with a table top display and whatever relevant materials to get your sales points across.
thanks very much Robert, for your comment, i am also in same situation. i just registered my business six months ago, and i have been searching for Funding and Partners for my company till date, its proving difficult to find either funding nor Partners.
I need now from your advice to set up a website and also develop a business plan
My business is into construction and African Food exports
Mr. Epoh Eseh
Tel: 237 76 25 98 43
Tel: 237 94 73 99 26
When i started up i did the above but agree with Jillian. Write a Business Plan first focus on your cash flow and determine your start up and running costs. A cash flow chart will confirm your honeymoon period. I got a guaranteed small business loan (UK) which was 85% underwritten by the Government this covered my running costs and overheads for the first 4/5 months.
That was 13 years ago.
Please fill the following steps
(0) Market re-search………………………….why?
(1) Market re-search……………………………what?
(2) Market re-search…………………………..How?
(3) Title or name …with respect to name, with respect to business, with respect to location, with respect to era.
(4) Motto…with respect to business.
(7) Mission Statement.
(8) Vision Statement.
(9) Location……with respect to positive and negative aspects.
(11)Finance……..Fix and Running.
(12)Finance Management……with feasibility report in the form of chart.
(14)Business Flow…with the help of flow chart.
(15)Mathematical Model of Production…with cost estimation method.
(16)Promotion Strategy ……..with Probability or regression model.
(17)Risk factor…with your weak points (S (strengths) W (weaknesses) O (opportunities) T (threats) Analysis).
(18)Role of Technology.
Congrats Mfon on your new business.
Your business could be a home based B2C or a B2B.
If you are in B2C, you could start by informing your social circle and neighborhood to spread the words to get the first sales. You may ask for downpayment/ deposit for the material costs and collect the service charge when the work is done.
If you are in B2B, you need to prepare more extensively for your corporate clients, setting a well presented web-site and your business profile. You may approach trade unions or associations and get listed in their directory. When you secure any job, always sign a proper contract. And when you fail to get deposit payment from your clients, you may approach banks for financing based on contracts you secured.
Moving forward, if you need to grow your business properly, i suggest that you draft out a your business model which help you to focus on the key elements of startup. I recommend that you take a look at Business Model Canvas.
And reserve at least 6 months of your financial resources as a start. Stay lean, stay focus on generating sales.
Please let me know if you need further help. Best of luck to you.
This one of the most common issues...There is not a simple answer to your question. Anyone can start a business with a limited budget. The number one reason start-up businesses fail, is due to under capitalization! You need to have your business plan with projections based on the necessary funds needed to support the business until you break-even. This includes paying yourself and what you need make as an income.
I would start be seeing how much of a demand here is initially for your services or products,,, nothing happens without a sale...I would make personal call first to the potential buyers you generate through research.. Library, Internet etc. by SIC code in the gov't local state and national,,,,
Basically I believe low budget and go sell and get the budget up
hi I agree with Mr Donnelly, If you have not done it yet, set up your social media, get your business facebook page up, set up your Google plus,google local, account, and what other social media fits your business, it is all free to do, you just need to stay on top of it and post items, articles, ect. do your research.and get the word out about your business.
Don't spend all of your money on the Internet. Make brochures and flyers. Join free sites like Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook. Get a webpage and do blogs in your area of expertise and promote your business.
I take more of a shoot first aim second approach to launching businesses. I've started 3 businesses now with $200 (S Corp and US Bank account). The first of which was a painting business. At the age of 20 without any painting experience I sold $60,000 of work before even hiring a painter, months before even painting the first home. What I love about the contractor industry is that it's common place to request 50% down for a scheduling retainer. If you can't make sales then a loan will only put you in debt, so why not start with sales and validate the business? How do you compete with no experience in a crowded space? Give them something they're not getting elsewhere. Majority of the time if you can offer a white collar experience in a blue collar industry you will win enough times to at least get started. Perception is reality! Just make sure you can deliver on what you say you are going to do.
Resources to build a credible foundation:
Fiverr.com - For a logo for $5
PowerPoint - Create a slideshow presentation link and upload it to Slideshare to send clients via email (Free) Here's an example of one we just put up for my company that our clients are loving. http://www.slideshare.net/JordanBryant1/preparing-for-development-the-4-decisionksd
GoogleVoice - Create a company number and route it to your cell (Free)
Documentation - Create contracts and sales docs on word with your logo on everything.
BRAND EVERYTHING! (Free)
Business Cards - $50 or less
Look for networking events where your target market will be, often Chamber of Commerce events are great for contractor work. (Free)
Once you've made sales -
Website - If you can manage. You should be able to get a simple quality responsive site up for around $1000 or less
Google Maps Advertising
Bank Account (Technically you don't even need a bank account set up until you've got money to deposit)
First ask yourself, Do you really need funding for the type of business you have? If so, what aspect of the business do you need funding for? Do you need funding to handle contracts? Think of what the funding will be used for and the type of funding you need. I suggest to view the SBA website. It has helpful resources to point you in the right direction. Also if you have a business plan develop, make sure your strategic plan and operational methods are sound! Good luck!
Get customers lined-up and under contract. Take the contracts to the bank so you can use them to secure working capital. Check all the newspapers and trade pubs and make a list of all the decision makers with a project in proposal stage that will have to purchase cement. Don't bother with a website or any of the other BS people will tell you. Get gas in your car, put on clean presentable clothes and get out their and sell. Have your story together as to why they should by from you and not their usual supplier. If you can't close one good sale, if they won't event talk with you because they're content with their current suppliers at least haven't dumped time and money into all the "traditional" BS the experts would have you do. You've found out about the cement business and you may or may not have a strong business
I agree with Robert, a business plan is one of the first things you should create.
EVEN BEFORE THAT, you should tap into your network, or visit networking events to find other business owners that have built substantial businesses from scratch. Find someone that you can be a friend to that would provide emotional support, and would talk into your life. The principles that govern building a successful business in any field are universal. Learn from successful people around you.
Find complementary businesses that you can partner with. Identify your specific niche even within your market and what is your "unique selling proposition." Recognize that what you sell is more than just your product. You are selling a service. Convenience, timely fulfillment, trust, etc.
Why should anyone hire you versus another cement seller? (Not a rhetorical question. You need to be able to answer this question.)
For more principles and advice, feel free to send me a private message.
Mfon, I would start by drafting a business plan. With this plan, you will be able to define your market, labor and budget requirements.
I recommend getting a bank loan for your business. To do that, you'll need to put together a business plan that explains what your model of business is and why its financially viable for you to get a loan. Aside from a bank, you might also look into organizations that offer microloans.
no financing. Very tough, but not impossible. It depends. Check planmagic's web site for business plan software and possibly for an online business coach. You'll need both.
It sounds like your business is a capital intensive one that would require some sizeable upfront investment. If so, I would agree with the others who suggest searching out government /private financing sources. But develop a written business plan first, so you know what funding you need and can demonstrate to potential funding sources that your business idea is a viable one. Good luck to you!
Bootstrapping is an art and science.
Have a a complete course on technqiues at: http://startupplanet.com/CD_bootstrapping.htm
You need a market entry strategy and well define target niche (including ideal customer profile). I recommend no less than 6 months personal living expenses in the bank when you start and 1 year is better. Service businesses can rent their time (not a real business just a contracting) to help bootstrap. I call this a "Service to product flip" because you get the first customers to finance your start-up costs to some degree and own what you develop along the way.
You will find a full CEO Boot Camp 14 DVD set on this web site too. All timeless information on what may be the most expensive and riskiest endeavor you will ever take. Get advice from real experts. You likely need an experienced CEO and busness advisor to guide you.