Starting a Small Business on the Cheap

by Ida Rowlands


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Starting a small business is always an exciting venture and most people who decide to become entrepreneurs do so with flair and a certain amount of gusto; unfortunately, a large percentage of new business start-ups fail within a short period of time.

The wise business owner learns very quickly that maintaining a firm grip on the purse strings is not only a prudent move, but is one that will result in increased profits. The following list of money saving tips may get you started on the path to boosting your bottom line.

Office Supplies and Equipment:

  1. Unless your business is contingent on regular mass mailings, you may want to consider using stamps on your correspondence rather than renting a postal meter.

  2. Search online for free business forms. There are hundreds of sites that provide access to free forms that can be readily customized to fit many universal transactions.

  3. Prior to purchasing new computer programs, look into downloading a free trial version from the software provider so you can determine whether or not it meets your particular needs. Make sure any programs you download to your system come from a reputable, secure site so that you do not inadvertently infect your computer with spyware or a virus.

  4. When purchasing office equipment you may want to consider buying used instead of new. There are hundreds of auction houses and warehouses where good, used computers, copiers, phones or other items can be attained at a fraction of the cost of new. Very often you can get great deals on gently used desks, chairs, filing cabinets, etc. simply by perusing newspaper classified or one of the many free "buy & sell" sites on the Internet.

Marketing:

  1. Make sure you take advantage of every opportunity to market your business. When sending out invoices, you may want to include a promotional flyer or coupon. In addition to saving money on postage, this point-of-purchase technique provides another means of securing additional recognition for your business.

  2. Another economical way of promoting your service is to promote a joint venture with other businesses in your area. By sharing mailing lists, contacts and distribution methods with other small businesses, you can develop a good rapport with other business owners while developing a whole new stream of networking opportunities. Events such as multi-business sidewalk sales or moonlight madness sales are a great way to increase your customer base.

  3. Blow your own horn. A simple and effective way of promoting your business is to distribute your business card freely. Other effective ways to get recognized without spending a cent are to volunteer in your neighborhood, offer to teach a class at the local community center, speak at meetings or write a small column for the local newspaper.

With today's ever escalating costs and a declining economic arena, it is more important now than ever to watch your pennies so that the dollars take care of themselves.


Ida Rowlands is a freelance writer. You can reach her at irowlands @cogeco.ca

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