You have an awesome idea for a new business, but you’re concerned that you don’t have the necessary capital to start it up. In the modern economy, that is not a reason to admit defeat as there are many ways to get your business up and running on a shoestring budget.
Put in the Time
There is no substitute for effort. Early on, try to put in as much time as you can into refining your ideas and putting together a solid business plan. This way, when the time comes to grow your business and find financing, you are ready and efficient. The “good” news is you don’t need to pay yourself a salary early on, so there is no cost. Your compensation will come later, when the sweat equity you’ve poured into your project makes it a reality.
Use Social Media
Marketing strategies have changed dramatically from the days of purchasing costly ads on billboards and telephone directories. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and many more social media platforms can be used at little to no cost to generate interest in your business and get the word out there. You want to take the time to build public profiles that are specific to your business and distinct from any personal ones you may have. Then, follow, like, and retweet industry-related people and news on a regular basis. Slowly but surely, your business’ visibility will increase and you will become part of the conversation in your field.
Early on, you may not want to include equity partners, angel investors, or even traditional bank loans in the development of your business. You are not alone, which probably explains the rapid growth of the crowdfunding model. Many people like to be in on the ground floor of new business ideas, if only in a small way. Crowdfunding allows you to raise money for the start of your operations by receiving pledges from several small donors. In exchange, you need to find a creative way to thank them for their support. Imagination is your only limitation. For example, you could give them a rebate on the purchase of your product once it is in production or give VIP invitations to your launch gala. In the short term, these gestures come at no cost to you, but they may get your startup launched.
Use Startup Incubators
Many cities, universities, and even private organizations have collaborated to develop startup incubators. These incubators offer lots of free or nearly free resources for entrepreneurs. You can get help with such diverse tasks as drafting a business plan, putting together financial statements, hiring employees, or designing a logo. There are many incubators throughout Canada, including the Startup Foundation, a partnership between Intuit and Ryerson University that focuses on teaching entrepreneurs the basics of financial literacy. No matter what your field, there are many resources available to launch your startup on a shoestring budget and become a successful entrepreneur.