One of the most prominent challenges facing most start-ups is that of having limited funds. Indeed, so much focus and attention can be consumed by finding capital investment, be that from a bank loan, friends and family, or an external investor such as a business angel – that you lose sight of operating the business as a business, and getting your product to market.
The following tips are here to help you make the most of your frugal start so that you can focus on turning your business idea into reality, and get some paying customers, rather than feel stuck due to financial constraints.
- START OFF WORKING FROM HOME
A common mistake many people make when setting up a business is to go out and secure premises before they need them. Now, many entrepreneurs want a fancy office or a cool warehouse or to be part of a creative entrepreneurial community – but this isn’t usually necessary in the early days.
In fact, operating from home makes sense for most start-ups. The challenge, however, is when it comes to creating the right impression to potential clients, customers, investors and staff… as you don’t want to look amateur, and admittedly, providing your residential address does have a tendency to look like a ‘one man band’ fledgeling business, which is not the impression most startups wish to give off.
There is, however, a simple and low-cost solution to this. If you check out https://physicaladdress.com/ you’ll find a very affordable way to obtain a virtual address, whereby your post is scanned and sent to you by email – meaning, to the outside world you appear to be trading from commercial premises, yet in the real world, you’re having your mail scanned so that you can read it from home, or wherever else you are in the world.
The thing is, it can feel very tempting to go the nearest office block and hire out a unit, but if you’re a tech start-up, for instance, you could have a much better experience by hiring a big house in India or the Philippines, and working with a local team of developers to get things launched… all the while, resting safely in the knowledge that your mail is being addressed.
Similarly, you can get a telephone answering service set-up where someone will answer the phone posing as the secretary of your company and will email you the message they have received.
There is a benefit to having an office or other types of commercial space, but in reality, with the benefits of the remote working lifestyle and how cheap it is to now outsource aspects such as mail handling and call forwarding/answering it makes sense to think twice about this.
- STOP TRYING TO IMPRESS
It’s very tempting when starting a business to go out and buy all sorts of elaborate stationary, perhaps a nice new suit, and even an expensive pen or the latest iPhone – yet, in reality, the best way to impress people is with the value your company creates for them.
Today, the one thing people truly care about is that you are authentic, can deliver on your promise, and provide tremendous value. Gone are the days where you need an expensive golf club membership to do business; today, things are much more informal and relaxed with a much more level playing field… so, stop trying to impress people with symbolic items, and start dazzling them with the value you can create.
- EMBRACE THE PRINCIPLE OF “GOOD ENOUGH FOR NOW”
Many entrepreneurs are perfectionists, in the sense that they struggle to present a low fidelity prototype as they need it to be perfect before they get anything out there – yet the most successful people in business operate under the paradigm of ‘good enough for now’ meaning it is good enough to take the business to the next level, like a journey of stepping stones.
See, you can work on something and really hone it until it is perfect, but unless you get it out there into the real world and start making revenue… it doesn’t matter how perfect something is – unless it is shared with the world.
Furthermore, the paradigm of ‘good enough for now’ allows an opportunity for feedback which is all important in terms of innovation, particularly if you are creating new products, as they are unlikely to be perfect and will need tweaking to satisfy market needs. It’s therefore important you get things out, before they are ‘perfect’ as it’s better to get started on the journey rather than spend days, weeks, months or even years preparing too!
Now is the time to learn important business skills, and the only way you can truly learn is to get out there and do. Try to adopt the view that there’s no such thing as failure, only feedback, as this will keep you on track to become very successful.