Starting a Business on a Shoestring Budget

Starting a business for the first time can be a very exciting time in your life - it can also be very stressful, depending upon the course you set out on. For many the fact of the matter is that you won’t be able to afford a full-blown budget or anything along the lines of a proper investment. And as such, moving forward, you need to make a plan which will move your business forward, even on a budget that might be best described as shoestring.

Someone people put off starting their own business due to a lack of cash flow. However, should that really deter you? So long as you plan in advance you should be able to get by on a very small budget, provided you know what you are doing, until your business venture actually becomes profitable. Once this is established you could even seek some outside investment.

Here are our 6 best tips for starting a business when budget really isn’t everything:

1 - Incorporate Skills You Already Possess

Though you may think there is a lot of money to be had in starting a venture you have no real knowledge in, the fact is that it may not be a great success. The less you know, the less sure you can over whether or not the venture will actually work. So, it goes to show that starting a business based on your actual knowledge has a much more solid success rate.

For example, if you are a highly skilled photographer then it makes sense for you to start a photography-based business. And so on and so forth.

Start a business based on what you know and then, at least, at a basic level you should be able to frame yourself much better for success.

2 - Wear Many Hats

Are you an accountant? No? How about a marketing professional. Probably not. But, as a new business owner on a very small budget the likelihood of you having to do either one, both or many more of these activities is very high. Why?

Well, the fact is that as a new business owner on a shoestring budget you will have to wear many of the hats in your new business. Often you will need to create the product/service, then also go out to market and sell it too. There’s no handing off tasks to anyone else - as you likely can’t afford employees - so the brunt of the labour does tend to fall on your shoulders. Until your business grows and you can afford outside help this tends to be the reality for many startup founders.

3 - Seek Word of Mouth

When just starting out, some of the best marketing that you can do for your business is that which seeks to earn word of mouth recommendations. This is where a client or someone who knows the quality of your business recommends your service to another party. For the most part, this is where the majority of new business comes from for a new startup venture.

You will often find that some of your best clients comes from the business you gain from word of mouth - so, try to maintain good relationships where you can.

4 - Use Free Software

One of the biggest expenses comes from software for a new company. For this reason, finding free alternatives is one of the best ways for you to save money almost immediately as a startup. This can be anything from free accounting software to tools for your actual work (such as SEO software if you are offering digital marketing).

In a world of open source and advertising there are actually plenty of these such tools available. All of these do tend to come with a higher tiered, paid, option that inevitably has many more features. But, as a startup you can generally coast by on free or nearly free versions of popular software which you would otherwise have to pay thousands of pounds for.

5 - Work Modestly

A brand new startup doesn’t necessarily need to have a big, swanky, office in the heart of the city. Or the latest computers. Or fifty members of staff. In fact, having quite a modest setup as a new business is nothing to be ashamed of at all. And, in fact, you can use this as a marker of success once you can afford all of these things.

Eventually, you may need to seek out the assistance of chartered surveyors Manchester or more likely a commercial property management team. But, until then, you can easily work with only a handful of less resources and equipment at your disposal. And working from home is also a much more cost-effective option as a business on a very slight shoestring budget.

6 - Create a Social Buzz

Unless you live under a very dark rock then you should know all about social media. In the modern age, it is a verifiable powerhouse and can skyrocket your small business… if used in the right way. Otherwise, it can easily be something you do just for the sake of it rather than a profitable marketing avenue.

The simple fact of the matter is that social media is one of the best free tools you have in your startup wheelhouse. Of course, there are paid versions of ads and even sponsored posts on platforms such as Twitter. But, organic traffic and growth isn’t dead (though the platforms wish to propagate that myth in order to obtain more money from you in the long term). You can easily grow a substantial audience and make brand growth happen quickly. How? Well, it all depends on the quality of your content.

Share relevant articles for your audience. Tweet things that will interest people in your network, put out good offers if necessary and engage with users when they reply or try to get in touch with your brand. The better and faster you respond online, the more of a good reputation you will build for yourself and your brand.

Social media is still quite an untapped tool for many brands in 2018 - so, get ahead of your competition and bring yourself to the forefront of your niches presence on as many social networks as possible.


On the whole, having a lot of money isn’t entirely necessary to start a business. It certainly helps, but that doesn’t make it a dire need. Scrimp on software, do as much yourself as you can and simply use all of the free resources available to you in order to make as much of an impact as possible - but with zero the amount of cost that would typically be necessary.