I see blog posts, Twitter and Facebook updates that would have many believe that you can start a business on a shoestring budget and yes you could start a business on such a budget. Especially if you’re a real do-it-your-selfer. I did and know lots of people who start in this way. But just be careful out here in cyberspace. Not all online material is credible. I learned that lesson the hard way. I blog about it here.
Starting and maintaining a business on a shoestring budget are two different things and of the articles and ebooks I’ve read, none of them addressed the maintenance side.
Here’s what I know.
Growing a new business takes time.
Marketing a new business definitely requires financial resources which leads me to ask, so just what size shoestring are we talking here.
A Toddler’s Shoestring
If you have an internet-based business, the amount of financial resources needed to get started and maintain the business could be equated to a toddler’s shoestring. Domain names, easy-to-build websites, images are all fairly pretty inexpensive. You could buy Google Ad Words, Facebook ads, even Twitter or LinkedIn Ads to promote your new business for a few dollars a day. Affiliate marketing businesses could also fall into this category. One company said it could cost as little as $90 to start an affiliate marketing business. Then of course there are all the $97 training courses that guarantee the latest and greatest tips and tricks.
A Teenage Boy’s Shoestring
This is going to be a pretty long shoestring meaning you’ll need a few more financial resources to get your business going and then maintain it. You better believe it takes money to make money and if you can use someone else’s money, so much the better. Coaches and trainers can realistically start on a teenage boy’s shoestring budget. You have the website and domain to buy just like affiliate or internet marketers but then you have coaching/training materials to produce. You may need to hire people to help you produce which is going to cost more and is definitely a larger shoestring. Then there’s continued marketing efforts such as; webinars, teleconferences, live events, marketing materials, signage, and those costs add up month after month. Definitely not a toddler shoestring budget kind of business.
NBA star, Shaquille O’Neal, wears a size 23 shoe. There’s even a young kid named Kenny George who is reported to wear a size 28. Can you imagine the length of their shoestrings? If you’re producing a product, or are a certain kind of B2B or B2C service provider, you can expect that shoestring budget to look something like Shaq’s shoestring. There are materials to buy and maybe even a lease to negotiate. There’s packaging and an aggressive marketing campaign to create and implement. If you’re starting this type of business, you already know your shoestring budget could make at least 10 toddler-sized shoestrings.
If you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur or business owner, consider the size of your dream and know what size shoestring budget you’re really dealing with.
All shoestrings are not created equal and it will take money to maintain these businesses while they get up and running. You’ll need to determine your break even point and when your business is likely to make a profit. If that’s six months to a year away, you may want to hold on to that day job a little longer, save a few more pennies or look into crowdfunding or peer-to-peer lending.
Starting a business on a shoestring budget is one thing; maintaining it is another shoe altogether.